Today is the final day of work on for the EQ paper and the celebration of learning presentations. This synthesis activity is design for students to demonstrate that they can apply their learning from this school year to an extended essay and presentation. Specifically, I am looking at their ability to develop a clear claims and counterclaims, use reliable evidence to support the claims, and connect with a target audience.
I use a rubric that is a hybrid between the AP literature rubric and the rubric I use for the concurrent enrollment Writing 101 class. I am not 100% satisfied with it. It still needs some tweaking, however it is more demanding than the rubric that the students are used to seeing. The rubric I have used most of the year is based on the rubric the state uses to score their standardized test. Now that the test is over, they are ready for a more challenging rubric.
I ask the students to tell me what they have to finish by the end of class. The answer: the argumentative essay(W 9-10. 1 and 8). It has to be submitted to Edmodo by the end of class. The essay is typed in MLA format using in text citations and it must have a works cited page (L 9-10 3a). Students can use this time to continue their revision activities either alone or with a peer (W 9-10. 5). They can also polish and/or edit their paper focusing on conventions (L 9-10 2). While the computer will check spelling and basic grammar, it is up to the individual student to look closely at the quality of their language choice (L 9-10. 1).
I tell them they have about 80 minutes. I will give them a five minute warning before the end of class.
Now it is time for me to step back until needed. I would prefer to be a fly on the wall. I really want to see what they can do on their own an how well they can access their resources. I hope to see kids using the Purdue OWL to check their formattting and easybib.com to create their works cited page.
I won't let students suffer. I will help if they need it. Some students really struggle with writing stamina. This essay has to be 1500 words. We have been building up to this length all year. This is my sixth year teaching sophomore honors and writing stamina is always a problem. They are conditioned that one and half hand-written pages constitutes a long essay. Most of my students have difficulty crafting a longer essay that isn't repetitive and full of off-topic fluff. More than one page, typing, formatting, citing outside sources, all these things are really scarey for my students. They are use to relying on what they know as the beginning and the end of writing.
The shifts in the Common Core no longer allows English classes to be so overtly focused on the personal narrative or creative writing, students have to embrace academic writing and improve their writing stamina. The student in this example missed a week of class for the Mariachi Conference. So, he is playing catch up and is really overwhelmed by the amount of work he has to do. Like many students, when he gets overwhelmed, he shuts down. Sometimes it helps to talk them though parts of the assignment and help them set up a timeline to finish the work. When conferencing with students, I try to get them to write down as much as possible. I find when I write it, the kid gets confused or forgets what I meant with that comment. So, if I want students to improve their stamina, they have to begin by writing their own notes.
As the clock winds down, I tell the students to submit their essays and put the computers away. I also go over the presentation dates for the class and remind them that there are no make ups.
I also ask them to put their RSVP for their presentations in the basket on the way out the door. Each student has to invite a guest that has made an impact on his/her life this year to class. I have to know how many people to expect and on what day so I can tell security.
The video in this section is from a later class when this student invited his father to be his special guest for his celebration of learning.