Posted on May 12, 2014 - by Stephanie A. Snyder
When is it wrong to compromise? If you have seen ads tuned in for the new A&E series, Turn based upon the first spy ring during the American Revolution, this question is most fitting. I could not have planned the release of the series on A&E, but the timing certainly worked out well given that this question guided the unit of study students most recently completed in 8th grade language arts.
Students examined poetry and first-hand primary documents chronicling Revere’s Midnight Ride alongside My Brother Sam is Dead, a novel serving as an allusion, to the Revolutionary War era. Over the course of the unit, students became characters to compose editorial, persuasive letters with quills, to write poetry, and to create an alternate ending to the novel followed by a creative representation of the novel’s theme and elements through a two part project. They’ve had so much fun and have really grown as a group through this unit by considering perspectives different from their own.
Students were free to select the point at which they began re-writing the novel in the last two chapters and were responsible for resolving all earlier conflict using a class-agreed-upon chart that was generated for the plot events. Students spent a week working through the five step writing process: Pr-Writing, Writing, Revising, Editing, and Publishing, then delved into the creative choice portion of the project. Some students created symbolic theme targets while others created graphic novel interpretations. Additionally, others made choice to create Twitter and Facebook social media profiles for characters based upon the book. The common thread running throughout each project was the novel as written up to chapter twelve followed by the alternate endings students generated. The projects had to represent a theme rooted in the book as written and in the alternate ending.
At the end of last week, students shared projects which wrapped up today. It was great to see students engaging in discussion around the projects and asking clarifying questions of one another as they shared their alternate endings, projects, and worked to present in a formal academic setting.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, students will select their own young adult novels for reading and will be blogging about the books, all the while working to refine the 6+1 Traits of Writing for: grammar conventions, sentence fluency, ideas and voice in their own writing.
Check back soon to enjoy student guests posts on the main page of our class website.
Posted on March 19, 2014 - by Stephanie A. Snyder
“How do you make a dream come true?”
This question guided the unit of study we finished up a few weeks ago. Here some anonymous student samples of their answers to this question. The iSearch papers students wrote are all about the student writing and his or her experience as a researcher answering a specific research question tied to dreaming.
Steps to view Student Writing:
1) Click on the following links.
2) Read, enjoy, and ponder how talented and what amazing dreamers these students are!
Posted on February 27, 2014 - by Stephanie A. Snyder
This year, students have worked with the 6+1 Traits of Writing model in 8th grade language arts. This approach helps students to manage the various traits that we know are important for a piece of quality writing: Ideas, Organization, Conventions (Grammar), Sentence Fluency, Word Choice, Voice, and Presentation.
In our present unit of study, students have considered the guiding question, “How do you make a dream come true?” by forming questions to guide research about their own dreams. This week has been the final week for this unit of study, and students have been engaging in the phases of the writing process which lead to students publishing quality I- search, research papers. The I is present in the title of this authentic assessment because as they write, students tell the story of their search, present their findings/results, and reflect upon the process as a whole, all the while focusing on their own dreams which have been ever-present throughout this process as they’ve done research to answer their own questions starting with, “How can I achieve my dream? . . .”
Students have taken the initiative to ask teachers and adults in their lives for help to set up personal and electronic interviews with credible individuals. In doing so, students have thought about their dreams, reading responses from professionals outside within and outside our community including: professional athletes, district employees, physicians, interior designers, food industry workers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, lawyers, Athens County officials, members of the U.S. Military, lawyers, architects, ministers, business owners, professors from Ohio University, rap and musical artists, Ohio University college athletes, and many more!
This week, students have finished pre-writing by assembling note cards and source cards which work to support their findings and synthesize ideas from the credible informational texts they’ve read. Students have learned two new ways to paraphrase, two ways to quote, and are ensuring that they follow MLA format to avoid plagiarism, a form of academic dishonesty!
As well, students started the writing phase of the process, working through differentiated instruction to compose various parts of the organization of the I-search research paper focusing on the 6+1 Traits of Ideas and Organization.
Looking to the end of this week, students will work to revise, edit, and last publish their work digitally through our class blog by considering the 6+1 Traits of Sentence Fluency, Conventions, and Presentation.