In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.
Connect: I will say, “Yesterday we finished a first draft of one persuasive essay, today you are going to generate ideas in order to start planning your own essays.”
Teach: I will say, I am going to practice the skill of generating ideas for essay. I am going to use the strategy of thinking about my audience and what I want from them. The process I will use is as follows:
1) Think of people I could write to and who would respond back
2) Ask myself: What could I ask them to change?
3) Jot down my ideas using a two-column chart.
4) Write out evidence for claim using my writing goal.”
Before students write, they will receive their last writing project back graded. They will set a goal for their writing today and for the rest of the unit based on the writing goal.
I will show students how I jot down my at least two of my ideas that kids can connect to. I will write our principal’s name, the school board, the mayor or a company. I will then show them ides I would like those people to change and turn it into a claim.
I will write out evidence for my claim and put my goal at the top or the side of my paper and show them how I write out my evidence with my goal in mind.*
*I was all set to video tape my lesson opener and then I got lesson bombed! One of my students put a Seahawks sign over the "skill" part of my poster before class and then when I turned to go over the skill, strategy and process, he stood and said "You got lesson bombed!" The rest of the class started a Seahawks chant. I included the video as reminder that when teaching 13 year olds, I always have to remember to sometimes laugh with them (especially when it's about the Seahawks). We then of course got to work!
Active Engagement: I will say, ““Now you are going to jot down this chart in your notebook and jot down at least 3 ideas you have.” I will check for understanding by asking every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). Ensure that students are jotting down ideas that will help them write a clear claim with reasons and evidence from their own lives. Additionally I am checking that they are thinking about writing to someone that will write them back.
Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember successful writers practice the skill of generating ideas for their essay. They use the strategy of thinking about their audience. The process they use is as follows: they ask themselves: “What could I ask them to change?” Then they jot down their ideas.”
Independent Practice: I will say, Students will brainstorm for at least five more minutes until they land on a moment in which they feel they can persuade someone to change, one in which they have three reasons. I will then direct them to write out at least one moment that will serve as evidence for a claim by keeping their goal in mind. They should write for at least 20 minutes if not more. They can write multiple moments within this time if they get stuck on one. I will confer with them as they write using the attached chart.
Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share one of the ideas they have brainstormed and the three reasons. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A you will share your audience, your idea, your evidence and the goal you have been working on. Partner B, I want you to listen if Partner A is working on their goal. Then you give them feedback. I should hear your say, “I heard how you used your goal….or maybe you could add…..” Then you will switch.”
I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.
Closing: For closing today I will ask, “Write down the goal you were working on today and an example from your writing.”