Today is D-day...or should I say..W-day. During the last class, students started reading articles in preparation for writing "on demand." For this assignment, students are writing an argumentative essay using evidence from a choice of at least 2 articles that I provided in the previous lesson and from the novel, Of Mice and Men. This "on demand" writing will span several periods. Students will write for a portion of the period (40 minutes). This assignment is a culminating activity to our unit on Writing Arguments, and I am requiring that my students connect their arguments to Of Mice and Men by answering the following question:
Is killing ever justified? Was George justified in killing Lennie in "Of Mice and Men"?
For the "Do Now," they will retrieve their writing folders, and I will pass out the articles that they need for their writing. We are using writing folders to keep track of our graphic organizers, drafts, and published writing this year. These are simply plastic pocket folders that I recycle from year to year. This way, I don't have to worry about students being prepared to complete the writing assignment, AND they can track their own writing progress.
During the application part of the lesson, my students will be reading and writing their "on demand arguments." As I mentioned in the last lesson, my students will use informational texts to develop arguments to support their claims (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1.a) about whether killing is ever justified AND whether George was justified in killing Lennie at the end of "Of Mice and Men."
During this part of the lesson, my students will begin to put their notes/ideas into coherent argumentative paragraphs. I plan to break up the writing into two parts in order to maximize the engagement in the writing. After my students have written for the first 20 minutes, I will have them take a brain break. During the brain break, we'll play a silly game like Rock, Paper, Scissors or Simon Says. The brain break will only last a couple of minutes, but I am hoping that it will give my students a jolt of energy that will help them finish the last 20 minute writing segment.
To close out the on demand writing segment of the lesson, I will ask my students to complete a "What did I Accomplish Today" reflection of what they accomplished in the writing today. The reflection will give me an indication of their pacing for writing on demand. It will also help me to plan additional writing time for those that are moving a little more slowly. I will ask my students to use the reflection checklist to reflect on their progress for each day of writing.
Now that we have closed out the "on demand" portion and reflected on our progress, we will transition to writing informative texts for our self-selected reading projects. The self-selected reading project is a NEWSPAPER PROJECT. Students are developing an entire newspaper on their self-selected reading texts. Even though students have been writing for most of the period, I think this type of writing is a lot more flexible and creative because they are writing articles, book reviews, poems, etc. for their newspapers. I also know that a little (or a lot) of writing never hurt anyone!
For the last couple of weeks, my students have been working on this project that I assigned and explained in a previous lesson. This project is a Google doc, so they will be using technology to publish them (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6). I have been monitoring their progress over the last couple of weeks with comments and feedback.
The main purpose of this project is for my students to practice informative writing (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2.a), by organizing their work using graphics, argument, rhetoric and other techniques that we have been studying in the argument unit. Today, I am allowing them class time to work on the project so that they can get answers to any formatting questions or questions about project criteria. Check out this video that shows how I am able to see and give feedback to student projects as they are working on them.