Theme Analysis: Preparing to Write in the Workshop Classroom

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SWBAT effectively prewrite for a rhetorical analysis essay by brainstorming and planning.

Big Idea

If we want to be really good at a specific skill, shouldn't we plan and practice before the main event?

Warm Up and Mini Lesson

15 minutes

As students enter class, I will greet them at the door and hand them the thinking sheet.  I will put ten minutes on the timer and let students just think and write.  I'm not going to talk to them about the paper yet.  I want them just to think about What It Means To Be Human and what the four themes we have studied ([loss of] innocence, courage, bearing witness, silence) reveal about the human experience.  While students are writing, I will join them and write (W.9-10.10).  I will share parts of my writing with them when they are finished.  It is important that I model my thinking in the same way I expect them to.  

After students are finished writing, I am going to ask them to read what they have written and choose the theme they are most confident discussing.  I am hoping this will help students choose which theme they will write about in their analysis.  

Student Work Time

25 minutes

Now that students have read the memoir Night, they are going to begin a analytical essay.  Throughout our reading of the memoir, we have been making observations about Elie Wiesel's diction, syntax, descriptions, characters, and plot elements.  Now, students will draw conclusions about the observations we've made by writing an essay that draws evidence from literary texts (W.9-10.9). 

During student work time I am going to distribute the essay assignment and the planning guide. I will read the prompt with the students and will explain the planning guide.  Today, students only need to focus on page one of the planning guide. which asks students to planning on their essay focusing on what is most significant (W.9-10.5).  During the next lesson, we will focus on creating a thesis statement.    Here is an example of a student's Student Example Theme Analysis Planning Sheet.jpg.  


My colleagues and I worked on this unit together using two different anchor texts.  Here is a short video explaining the rationale.  


5 minutes

With a few minutes left in class, I will ask students to complete page one of their planning guide for the next class period.