Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
Students are spending today continuing their work from the previous lesson on preassessment for argument writing. Yesterday's lesson introduced the unit by focusing on a preassessment to see where students are with their writing. Today's lesson continues that work by allowing students, with their partners, to work on creating an argument piece focusing on cyberbullying. It takes time to write and it definitely takes time to writer with a partner so I need to give students this time to work. The challenge, and also the assessment, is not just in seeing how they write but also in seeing how they work together. Many times we as teachers are called on to teach more than just what the curriculum demands. While today's lesson may work with the Common Core objectives on argument writing, it also tests students ability to work productively with a partner, another important life skill.
I begin the lesson by pulling up the directions for the preassessment on the Smartboard: Directions For Preassessment. I read the directions out loud to the class. I then instruct the students to get with their partners to work on finishing the essay. These partners were made based on ability. Students use technology to finish writing the essay. Some students use Google Drive so they can both edit and work on the document. Others use one computer and take turns typing the piece. It's great to see what students are able to decide on as the best way to work.
Here is a link one group found on the one and used to incorporate research into the piece: 11 Facts About Cyber Bullying. Here is the beginning of that work: Student Example Argument Preassessment 2. I think it's great when students are able to take an idea and see where it goes. The fact that they choose to use their own research shows how they are able to think about what goes in an effective argument. This is something that I would highlight to the rest of the class.
As students are working I circulate around the classroom to make sure they are working. I purposely do not answer questions that students have about what to do. I tell them that I want to see if they are able to make decisions about their writing without teacher guidance. This itself is an assessment to see what they can do independently.
While my original intention was to have the essay handed in by the end of class, some students needed more time to finish the essay. While I will not spend more time in class to finish the essay, they can hand in the essay the following day so they can work on it as homework.
While it will not be graded, it will give me an idea of how I need to continue with their lesson. I will assess their work and see how to focus the rest of the unit. Here is a video that explains the results of the preassessment Results Of Preassessment Explanation. This handout is a chart of my results: Results Of Argument Preassessment