Reflection: Student Ownership Silent Sharing/Close Reading of Carol Knapp - Section 3: Close Reading Small Group Discussion: "Add Cake, Subtract Self Esteem"


As I listened to the conversations today, I found myself thinking ‘how often do girls get to have this kind of conversation in a class?’ and considering that one of my conscious choices during this unit was to choose readings that largely focused on women, I was really excited by this unexpected turn of events.  I eventually brought the group back together and after telling them how much I appreciated their thoughtful conversations (to affirm that it is okay to have these discussions—that this shows the power of the written word, and shows the students that the class is theirs, too--choosing the piece itself and allowing the students to talk like this I think really gave the students a sense of ownership and comfort in the class).   I spent the final ten or fifteen minutes addressing the organization of the piece.  Ironically, even though they had a strong reaction to certain sections, a couple students noticed that the personal experiences didn’t build on one another like the Cofer piece or Cheryl Strayed’s memoir—that it was more of a flat-line list, which got slow to read.  So, ultimately, their organic discussion led to probably a more astute rhetorical observation than if they had gone through questions!

 I don't think this will change my approach to the piece in the future, though, except to know that a group of AP students may feel okay to talk about the content; I think that planning for that kind of discussion can backfire--people could be uncomfortable, and it is simply difficult to manufacture authenticity.  The key is recognizing when something like this does happen, and being flexible to let it happen.

  Content More Important Than Rhetoric Today
  Student Ownership: Content More Important Than Rhetoric Today
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Silent Sharing/Close Reading of Carol Knapp

Unit 6: Thematic Unit: Gender and the Rhetorical Power of Narrative
Lesson 10 of 12

Objective: SWBAT understand how a series of personal experiences interacts and builds meaning in a memoir.

Big Idea: A series of personal experiences in a memoir, while analogous in structure, builds meaning over the course of a text.

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