As students arrive, I had them a number between one and eight. They have to find the other people with the same number. Next I tell them to get a lap top and long on. Sometimes it takes five minutes or more to long on. This way students will be online by the time we have chosen topics.
Once everyone is seated, I put the essay prompts Things Fall Apart on the board and read them to the class. Each of the prompts focus on topic we discussed while we were reading TFA. These topics include the tragic hero, gender roles, proverbs, the characteristics of masculinity, and the individual vs. community identity. The students will work in groups to write a literary analysis about Things Fall Apart (W 9-10.2 and RL 9-10. 1 and 3).
I tell the class to take a few minutes and discuss the choices with their group. They are writing in groups because I want them to think and talk through each step of the writing process. By writing in groups, they hold each other accountable for each step and the quality of the final product (SL 9-10.1a and b). I tell them that I will assign prompts based on which group gives me the best argument for why they should get that prompt. The third prompt deals with the hero's journey. We did not specifically cover it in class, however, most of them studied it as freshmen when they read the Odyssey.
Now that student have topics, I tell them to log on to their google account.
I put my google account on the smartboard and show everyone the boxes at the top. Click on the box and choose drive. Next click on the up arrow box and upload your document to the drive. Next click share and type in the gmail addresses of your group members and me.
For the purpose of practicing using google drive, each student chose an old essay to upload.
Finally, choose one of the essays and everyone in the group open the same document on google drive. I also select one essay and put it on the smartboard so everyone can see the edit arrow on the document. I show them how I can type on it at the same time as people in their groups.
Technology is excited (W 9-10. 6).
We have worked on group essays in previous units, so this type of task is not new to my students -- everyone writes the introduction and conclusion and the body paragraphs are divided among the group. This group writing aligns well to the SL.9-10.1a standard which requires students to engage in a "thoughtful exchange of ideas."
I ask students to start with their draft claim (W 9-10 2a) and then look for relevant evidence in the text (W9-10 2b) to support their claim. Once they have established sufficient evidence and agree on the evidence they will use, then they can divide up the work and begin to write on their shared googledoc.
I tell students to log off and shut down their computers. We will continue writing in the next class. Ideally, each group will leave class with a draft claim and they are in the process of finding supporting evidence. The only homework students have is what they decided needed to be done outside of class. This work will vary depending on how much the group accomplished today in class.