Reflection: High Expectations Comparison/Contrast Essay - Using the Planner to Write the Final - Section 1: Writing the Essay


A lot of what we do in eighth grade relates to habits of work.  We train students to get ready for high school, and -- in that process -- we spend quite a bit of time addressing bad habits.

Off the top of my head, and in no particular order, here are some of the bad habits that I have seen many eighth graders exhibit:  1. Failure to meet deadlines; 2. Sloppy work; 3. Personalizing feedback (meaning, they take it personally when their work is deemed imperfect); 4. Making excuses; and 5. Lack of attention to detail.

Now, I am completely aware of the fact that those five traits are exhibited by adults all the time.  I am not picking on the kids.  I am just trying to show them that these habits will get in the way of their success and/or end up costing them time or money.  Using the writing process to write a paper hits all five of the habits.  Apart from understanding content, the students must be responsible, attentive to details, careful and tidy, or they risk failing to make a point.

Sometimes, when kids come into my classroom, they have trouble adjusting because -- in the past -- teachers have accepted work that does not reflect student care and pride.  Students ask, "What difference does it make if my work is in pen or pencil or pink, puffy sparkle ink?" "Isn't this good enough?"  "Why does it matter if I wrote my essay on the back of a takeout menu?" (OK, I made that one up.  But you get the point.)  

The fact is that it is unfair to a kid if she is 16 or 18 before someone suggests that she gets her act together.  Breaking habits and making habits is part of the job.

  Breaking Bad Habits
  High Expectations: Breaking Bad Habits
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Comparison/Contrast Essay - Using the Planner to Write the Final

Unit 13: Student-Created Essays and Creative Writing
Lesson 2 of 2

Objective: SWBAT use a planning guide as the skeleton for the development of a well-written essay.

Big Idea: Prewriting is only useful if you use it. Planning and drafting go hand in hand.

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