We open class with a welcome to "National Punctuation Day"; as an English teacher, I enjoy pointing out punctuation. In order to "celebrate" the day, students are asked, "What is the one punctuation mark they think is needed?" After a few minutes to think, and write their thoughts in the form of a journal response (W.9-10.10), we share answers, qualifying or justifying views and understanding and making new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented (SL.9-10.1d). We also share "8 New and Necessary Punctuation Marks," getting student reactions to each.
As with all Daily Holidays, today builds on the sense of open communication and community I seek to build in my classroom.
Before beginning work on the pre-write planning activity for their research paper, students are asked to complete yesterday's aphorisms project if they did not do so in class. Students are reminded, "An aphorism should both PROVIDE INSTRUCTION and BE BRIEF. It should be easy to remember because of the structure: alliteration, rhyme, parallel structure, etc. Being funny is even better!" (see lesson: "A Wise Man Once Said: Analyzing and Writing Aphorisms"). In completing this aphorism writing, students demonstrate understanding of how Franklin narrows a broad truth down to a few simple words in these sayings, (RI.9-10.3), but also how they draw upon Franklin's model in explaining and reflecting on their own example of an aphorism (W.9-10.9b). These are to be written for the specific purpose of providing instruction, directed at a contemporary audience, and incorporate some of the poetic and rhetorical devices we have studied in class (W.9-10.4).
Once students complete the aphorism project, they begin planning for their research paper, using the Argument Research Pre-write Worksheet to plan their ideas. This pre-write activity is the next step in the process to prepare students for the argumentative paper they will begin next week (see unit: "Persuasive Writing: Research and Rhetorical Skills"). In this assignment, students develop and plan for their sustained research paper, so that they can know what evidence they need to locate (W.9-10.7), focusing on addressing what is most significant for the specific purpose of arguing their topics (W.9-10.5) and formally addressing an audience who can affect change (W.9-10.1d). By introducing their claim in this pre-write activity, students are establishing why they feel it is of value or a point that needs to be heard (W.9-10.1a).
As I am out of the building today at a conference, this work time is ideal for a sub who may not be familiar with English/Language Arts, research, or our curriculum. We will revisit and debrief on these ideas when I return.
With two minutes remaining, students are asked to pack up, and reminded that in our next class, we will debrief and discuss both Franklin's aphorisms (see lesson: "A Wise Man Once Said: Analyzing and Writing Aphorisms") and today's pre-write planning. For homework tonight, students are asked to evaluate and practice using parallel structure (L.9-10.1a).
(If I do not use a textbook provided activity, I will use one or more of the activities available at Robin L. Simmons' "Grammar Bytes"--a wealth of resources on some of the trickier grammar conventions.)