It's Monday and therefore it is time to Celebrate! I turn on positive music, students enter, grab their weekly warm up sheet and start writing! I always begin the week with Celebration Monday. One, it puts me in a good mood. Two, students are typically reluctant on a Monday morning and being able to write about what makes them happy puts them in a good mood. Third, taking five-seven minutes a week to listen to my students' hobbies, successes, favorite movies, vacation stories, etc., builds a positive classroom culture and trust with me!
After students write for four minutes, they have three minutes to share. They can write about whatever they are celebrating from the weekend and whatever they are looking forward to this week. After each person shares, we show support for that student's celebration by clapping three times. For example, if student Amy says, "This weekend I saw a movie with my mom and had a great time." I say, "Three cheers for mother-daughter bonding" and the entire classroom claps together.
I recently came across the website Achievethecore.org. It is a fabulous resource for teachers. While on this site, I found an example of a ELA10 argument written by a student. Today we are going to use this argument to set the tone for writing our own during tomorrow's lesson.
I ask students to get out our evidence evidence based claim deconstruction sheets from last week. I remind them that before we build our own argument, we need to be really good at knowing what an author's claim is and how the author uses evidence to support that claim (RI.9-10.2). We look at these simply for review and since we did them together, I know it is an example of a sheet well done.
For today's mini lesson, I am going to distribute copies of the essay, "Keep on Reading" from the Achieve The Core website. While I'm reading the paper aloud, students will be asked to listen for a claim and evidence. I'll ask students to note the explanations in the margins. I explain that this paper is a student essay and we need to identify her claim and her evidence she used to support that claim (RI.9-10.2). We also need to make connections about the evidence and other parts of the text (RI.9-10.5). It's important for students to be able to explain how her evidence and claim work together. Often times students find difficulty in supplying strong evidence. This work will help them understand that a claim must be supported.
During the mini lesson, I also explain the three card formative assessment tool. I will use this tool to gauge student's comfort level with creating an evidence based claim and the structure of argumentative writing. Throughout the lesson, I ask students to flip their card to their understanding of mastery level. I tell the students, if you feel lost and you need to be taught the lesson again, flip to red. If you feel a little anxious and feel like you're not a at proficient yet, but will be soon, flip to yellow. If you feel like you're proficient and could teach it to someone else, flip to green.
Students work independently with the essay Keep On Reading . They read the essay and fill in the evidence based claim breakdown sheet. I want students to do this work for two reasons. First, I want them to be able to look at evidence and understand how that evidence supports an author's claim (RI.9-10.5). Second, I want them to see an example of a well written claim with great evidence (RI.9-10.2). The more a student sees great writing, the more they understand what their writing should look like. While students are working, I will confer with individual students or groups who are having a difficult time.
For five minutes, students will write an evidence based claim of the essay we read.