Ready. Set. Write. These three words set the tone for my pedagogic philosophy about writing: For students to improve their writing, they must write often (preferably daily) and they must write in quantity.
I expect students to be ready to write daily. Additionally, rather than announcing an essay assignment at the end of a literature unit, I focus students attention on preparing for major writing assignments throughout our study of literature and weave focused writing instruction into the literature units.
As a teacher, it's my job to help students find their writing voices and to show them they have important things to say.
This lesson is part of the unit The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare: Unmasking a Troubling Text
In its original context, it is
Lesson 21 0f 21 for The Taming of the Shrew
Writing the essay: How long will it take?
There are two ways to think about "Way to Go-Way to Grow" peer evaluation:
About using the lesson as part of a literature unit:
When teachers culminate a literature unit with a paper, it's important to consider the purpose of that essay before teaching. This is vital because students need to gather evidence during their reading, and teachers need to have a plan about what they want students to accomplish during the unit.
This is why the unit for The Taming of the Shrew begins with two essential questions:
Beginning a literature unit with an essential question guides student thinking and teacher planning. This is at the heart of Grant Wiggins' ideas in Understanding by Design.
In this lesson:
As students enter the room, I ask them to have their essays ready. Then I tell them we will complete two revision techniques:
I remind students that they have already practiced RADaR revision but that to perfect the technique, they need to use it more than once.
I also tell students that "Way to Go--Way to Grow" is a listening strategy that will do two things:
Model "Way to Go--Way to Grow" (I invite students to practice w/ me as I model):
Model Sharing "Way to Go--Way to Grow" responses:
After modeling, give students time to share with one another. Remind them of two things:
During this time, the teacher should monitor student work by circulating around the room. This gives the teacher an opportunity to address student concerns and to reinforce student learning as they practice a new peer evaluation technique. "Way to Go--Way to Grow "Student Response
For example, one student tends to struggle with voicing her opinions in writing. She tends to summarize. This issue became a point of discussion with her partner, and by circulating, I was able to address it with her and offer support to her responder.
Several students told me that reading their essays aloud helped them see things that "didn't make sense." I was able to tell them that this is the beauty of the activity. We hear what the reader sees, and if something doesn't make sense to us as the writer, it probably won't make sense to the reader. I was able to tell them that I make my husband listen to me read things I've written just so I can hear how they sound to me.
Since today is all about revising and getting to rewrite, I want students to practice using RADaR revision, which students learned in a previous writing assignment ("Revising Using RADaR Revision" in the Unit: Persuasive Essay Writing). To reinforce their learning and to remind them about RADaR revision, I reviewed the technique by putting some notes on the board: Teacher Notes RADaR Revision
The notes show students that
R means "Replace." We talk about replacing weak words such as "great" with stronger ones, such as "compelling."
A means "add." What new information or additional details does the essay need?
D means "Delete." What needs to be removed from the essay? I remind students that anything that doesn't support the thesis needs to go as this is an analytical essay, not a reader response.
R means "Reorder." I tell students that one way to think about reordering is to think about argument as "reason giving." For example, if the student is arguing that "Kate has been tamed," the student need to give "reasons" for this position. Each part of the essay body should focus on one reason. To organize the points, I suggest to students that they use color coding of the essay parts. That's what the image in the box with the three colors show.
Those students who run out of time will need to finish RADaR revision as homework since the next day is a lab day for rewriting the paper. Student's RADaR Revision shows the initial revision effort of a student who was absent from today's lesson, yet the student knows that revision techniques are on the agenda today and took the initiative to activate prior knowledge and practice the technique from the previous lesson.