Now that our school year is unofficially finished, meaning grades have been turned in but I still need to fill some classroom time with worth while tasks, I created an assignment that is fun and engaging for students and for the teacher. As students close their sophomore year, they look forward to a summer with a driver's license and the world in front of them. This assignment asks them to slow down and focus on what they really love.
Students enter and answer this prompt:
As your sophomore year comes to a close, think about what your passions are. Imagine you have a Saturday afternoon free from any obligations. You have an entire afternoon to do whatever you want. What do you choose to do with your time? What do you do that makes your heart and soul happy? That is your passion. Write about it for three minutes.
Next, I show them this excerpt from Steve Jobs commencement address to Stanford University. Mr. Jobs explains how he followed his passion and I want students to listen and consider his suggestions.
I explain to students that they are writing a response to a prompt (W.9-10.10). I display the prompt:
Now that you've thought about your passions and you've heard suggestions for following your passions from Steve Jobs, I want you to consider how you're going to develop those passions over the next five years. Write an essay explaining your passion(s) (W.9-10.2) and explaining your plan to build that passion over the next five years. Be sure to support your topic with relevant details (W.9-10.2b). How are you going to continue to grow in this passion? What are you going to do to improve?
You have 25 minutes to complete your essay.
While students are working, I will confer with them for assistance. Like in oner lessons in this short unit, I am asking questions that help students understand they need to introduce the topic (W.9-10.2a) and support the topic with relevant details (W.9-10.2b). Click here for an explanation on why I didn't grade this assignment
Since this is a long block, it is a perfect opportunity for students to practice speaking and listening skills (SL.9-10.1)! Now that students have written about their passion and developed a five year plan for developing those passions, I now want them to have a chance to celebrate those passions. I tell each student that they have two minutes to read a section of their paper to us. I do this so that students don't have to read person sections of their essay and for time management. I give students a few minutes to identify the section they want to read and then ask for volunteers to go first, second, etc.