Building a Theme Analysis: The Introduction and Writer's Workshop

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SWBAT write an introduction for a theme rhetorical analysis by engaging in writer's workshop to revise and improve their writing.

Big Idea

Why do we need an introduction? The same reason you shake hands with a stranger you meet!

Warm Up

20 minutes

To get our minds ready to go today, I have put copies of informative texts on the tables.  I included the texts Fast Food Nation, Outliers, Nickel and Dimed, Bird by Bird, The Year of Living Biblically, On Writing, No Logo, Branded and Freakonomics.  Students are going to have ten minutes to walk around the room, sit at a table with a book they haven't yet read and read the first four paragraphs.  I will have sticky notes at the table where students will be instructed to identify elements of successful introductions and write those elements on the post its.  When we are finished, we will read the post its aloud and write down a list of traits that all good introductions have.  The CCSS describes for each mode of writing (argument, informative and narrative) that students need to be able to introduce their writing well.  Certainly in the analysis the students are writing they need to introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.  This process of reviewing highly successful introductions will help students to identify qualities of highly effective writing.  

Mini Lesson

20 minutes

Yesterday we worked on solidifying our thesis statements.  Today, we write a great introduction to support that thesis statement.  I will begin by handing out the Rhetorical Theme Analysis Assignment reading it with the students.  

As with my own children, students often need to hear directions told by someone else for it to fully sink in.   Often times in my own home, I will give my daughter advice that she doesn't take seriously, but if a coach, teacher, grandparent gives her the same advice, it is gold. Because I know that often teenagers need this differing perspective, I try to provide it by the way to YouTube.  I found this video and it does a great job of going through effective introductions for literary analysis.  As the video is playing, I will take notes on my white board. The notes I take are the important points I want the students to remember when they are writing their own introductions.  Hopefully after they have heard the message multiple times, they are ready to write!


Student Work Time

30 minutes

Students will be writing their introductory paragraph during student work time today. Standards W 9-10.2a and W 9-10 2.b both charge students with writing an introduction that organizes complex ideas and develops the topic with sufficient examples and/or quotations. Before the students begin writing their introduction, I will write three I Can statements on the board.  As I'm conferencing with students, I will ask them to check in with the I Can statements and answer if they are true for their paper.  

I Can introduce my topic in an organized paragraph with a strong thesis statement. 

I Can engage my readers by writing an introduction that is catchy and has plenty of voice

I Can add strength to my introduction by including a quote 


If students can't answer yes to each of the three I Can statements, their introduction will need to be revised.  Here is an Explanation of I Can statements video. 



20 minutes

Before students leave class, I will ask them to exchange their introductory paragraph with another classmate.  When students have an exchange partner, I will ask them to give two pieces of feedback (W.9-10.5, SL.9-10.1).  One piece of feedback needs to be warm (positive) and one piece of feedback needs to be cool (suggestion for improvement).