Reflection: Performance Tasks Character Analysis: Let's Try This Once More - Section 3: Application


The detailed explanation and model I offered students today did take them a few steps further into a successful analytical paragraph. However, this is still a work in progress. I do not expect this to be the last time I explain all these elements to them. My students are struggling writers and are not used to this type of work. It makes sense that they still find it difficult to pull all these different elements together. One major step in the right direction is that they largely stayed away from summarizing. Also, they made a real effort to do what I asked them to do, like explicitly use analytical verbs. This student sample paragraph analyzing the way Tayo was introduced was one of the more successful ones. Though most students made an effort to analyze the evidence they selected and used analytical verbs, their actual claims were a bit superficial. This student was able to make some interesting points, such as when she claims that “Tayo is having a hard time mixing his memories with reality” or that Tayo’s “past takes a toll on him.” She makes it clear that this observation comes from Silko’s words like “entangled” and “unraveled.” I think her claim is convincing. These two sample paragraphs analyzing the way Tayo was introduced are more representative of what most students achieved. These students also made an effort to analyze the evidence selected using analytical verbs. However, their claims are more superficial. The first one, for instance, argues that Silko’s introduction “makes the reader realize that Tayo is in a dream, which is a nightmare to him.” The second student argues that “Tayo isn’t well in his mind because he’s imagining/hallucinating things.” Both statements are a bit simple. However, these students did make some interesting statements, such as the second student who attempted to discuss how Tayo refers to himself in the third person, but she was not able to elaborate on that. What I can tell about my students at this point is that everything they were asked to pull together in this assignment was difficult. They did a good job of turning their summaries into analytical writing. They need to push themselves to engage in the type of thinking necessary to perceive all the nuances and images and inferences that are packed in a literary work like Ceremony. I will have to give them more opportunities to develop this skill.

  Performance Tasks: Progress With Argumentative Writing
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Character Analysis: Let's Try This Once More

Unit 4: Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony
Lesson 7 of 11

Objective: SWBAT improve argumentative writing skills by editing a paragraph following a detailed process I modeled.

Big Idea: Struggling writers need explicit instructions, support, and time to pull in the variety of elements necessary for successful analytical writing.

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sample analyzing how a character is
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