Reflection: Essay Writing Analyzing Argument in Video - Section 1: Distribute and Review Memoir Rubric


When rubrics became the standard early on in my teaching career, I had mixed feelings.  How could a number replace the comments from a teacher, comments that I had always valued as an English student myself?

In short, it doesn't.  I have learned to use rubrics as an enhancement of the comments I make on my students' processed essays (for in-class, timed essay, I let the rubric number do the work, recognizing the vastly different conditions for writing).  For example, in addition to a student earning a 4 on a rubric in the category of "narrative technique", I feel I owe it to my student to point out where that is occurring in their essays through my comments (Memoir Final Draft).  Likewise, if a student is scoring a 2 in "conventions for writing ", then I believe he/she needs to see exactly where that is occurring in the essays, in order to properly address the problem.

I acknowledge  that part of the motivation behind the use of rubrics is to streamline the grading process, and while I remain open to the debate over "how much is too much" in terms of "marking up" a piece of student writing, and have heard over and over again "yeah, but do your students really read the comments you write?" I suppose I'm a bit old school when it comes to reading and scoring student writing.  There remains a part of me, as a former high school English teacher, that believes that relying too heavily on a rubric score to do all the talking perpetuates the bad writing habits that become even more difficult to undo when a child reaches the 11th and 12th grade.

So while I hail the rubric as a means of specifically articulating standards of strength and weakness in student writing, and appreciate any tool that attempts to ease the paper load, I am convinced that my students still need to hear my voice talking back to them on their essays.

  Essay Writing: Do Rubrics Say Enough?
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Analyzing Argument in Video

Unit 6: Bad Boy Part II
Lesson 10 of 11

Objective: Continuing the debate over sports in school, SWBAT watch, listen to, and record the arguments of four experts on the issue.

Big Idea: Moving students from text to audio-visual presentation of argument.

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