Reflection: Continuous Assessment Introduction To Thoreau's Walden - Section 4: Writing


The warning I gave students to not go off topic actually became necessary in the first few minutes of writing time. I usually walk around and look over their shoulder to get a sense of what they are writing. I noticed that some students were writing about nature in ways that were not addressed in the reading at all. For instance, one student was writing about the importance of being prepared when one decides to spend time immersed in nature away from the city and the comforts of the city. This student had clearly focused on the fact that Thoreau made such decision and ran with it forgetting to pay attention to what Thoreau actually meant to communicate to us about this experience. This is actually quite common among amongst the student population I serve. They can easily lead themselves astray. The problem is usually that they do not spend enough time with the text. The little time they sped with the text only gives them the opportunity to extract one idea form the text and when it is time to write about the text, all they have is that one idea in isolation and they end up filling in with other background information. This is one area the Common Core is helps me address aggressively. To do this, I have done a couple of things: I make highlighting “words packed with meaning” a part of what we routinely do when analyzing a text, and I explicitly tell them to spend time with the highlighted language as they attempt to make meaning of the text. The student I just discussed had to rewrite his explanation of the quote and this is what he turned in.

  Continuous Assessment: Assessing Students As They Write
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Introduction To Thoreau's Walden

Unit 13: Transcendentalism
Lesson 11 of 13

Objective: SWBAT make meaning of Thoreau's text by focusing on the language and engaging in discussion.

Big Idea: Making inexperienced readers face challenging language, even though what they want to do is run away.

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