Heads Down Writing; Heads Up Conferencing

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Objective

SWBAT write arguments to support claims in an analysis of a text, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence by writing an analytical essay on a book of choice.

Big Idea

Quick, informal, but personal conferences can strengthen writing and build confidence.

Getting Started

5 minutes

They know the drill by now! We have a schedule this week. First the students hand in their homework: the answers to the questions to chapter 25 of Great Expectations, which they read independently. Then they take out the necessary tools for today's lesson and have them ready as resources: the prompt, their outline, intro, and the model long composition.

Writing and Quick Conferences

45 minutes

Most of the period will be spent writing. I want to give the students a significant amount of uninterrupted time to write. I will allow students to use their headphones, if they think they will have trouble concentrating, but I will insist on a quiet work environment. As students write, I am making it my goal to read the work of and speak to every student, starting with the quieter ones, so that hopefully I can circle around and talk to these students twice by the end of the period. I want to make sure that everyone is on track and feels up to this assignment. I will be checking specifically for a few things: a clear and consistent claim (W.9-10.1) that is developed and proven throughout the essay (W.9-10.1c), a formal and objective writing style (W.9-10.1d), and a command of English grammar and usage (L.9-10.1). For students having trouble organizing their ideas, I plan to ask probing questions that students find easy to answer, but hard to write. As soon as they finish answering my questions, I just say "Write that. You captured it perfectly in words."

The following sample is the first body paragraph based on the novel Speak. The writer went through a couple of drafts of the intro paragraph, taking several class periods to write it, but because she spent so much time on that, she wrote the first body paragraph relatively quickly.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes of class I will remind students are their homework-- reading chapter 26 of Great Expectations and answering the respective questions-- and I will give them time to write it in their agenda books.