SHORTS P2 Day 1

Welcome to Part Two of the Short Story Unit. This is where we transfer and apply skills we learned about in Part One of the unit.

So far this year, we have reviewed narrative techniques and literary devices. We closely read and analyzed multiple short stories, songs and poems looking for ways writers develop and convey themes through their storytelling. We communicated our findings through writing and revising essays.

Now, students will apply what they learned about using narrative techniques to develop themes by writing their own original short story.

Poem A Day:

 One thing in my class that I love to emphasize is that humans tell stories in all sorts of ways, and we always have. Creating narratives is a way our brains make sense of the chaotic world of sensation around us. We don’t just write novels. We sing. We dance. We paint. We sculpt. We build. We create entire civilizations rich with complexity.

Today’s poem a day is special. It tells the story of a life. Of all lives, really. Through lyrics and dance. This is a cool one in particular as this dance features two former students, and probably a few future ones too!

 

As per the usual, I will ask students to identify the theme, and how they knew (evidence from the text). I think the theme is to live in a way so you aren’t lonely.

Mini-lesson:

Objective: Students will develop a message they are passionate about that they want to share with the world in order to create an authentic goal for their short story.So often, students do not see the purpose in writing, unless it is “because the teacher told them to.” In these situations, students don’t really want to share what they write, because they didn’t write it for any audience. Today. we are going to talk about the different purposes of communicating, and we are going to explore a lot of different strategies for coming up with story ideas.In the first part of our unit, we focussed a lot on finding “Themes”. These are universal messages or experiences that we can all relate to and empathize with. We asked ourselves, “what does this author believe about humanity? or life? or what does he want me to learn or think about?”Today, we become the writers. So we will think about what WE believe about humanity, or life. What we want others to learn about or think about.Students are going to brainstorm in their notebooks for a few minutes when I ask them these questions.

Active Engagement:

Once students have identified a few ideas for issues or ideas they want to explore with their stories, we will begin to think about what kind of story we could tell. In order to help students do this, I am going to walk them through a few different strategies for generating ideas.First, I like to talk about how writer’s write what they know. So the first strategy asks students to think about people and moments in their life that can lead to meaningful and entertaining stories. We make a three column list: people, moments and issues. I model for students by filling in the list myself. I write a name down for people- like my best friend in 8th grade, Amanda. Then I tell stories about her- moments we shared. Then I try to tie those moments to bigger issues- or themes that other readers can relate to or learn from.Students engage in the strategy in their notebooks.Next, I will model a strategy called “mapping”. This is a good one for students who are more visual thinkers. You draw a map of places you have been that evoke vivid memories which can build great stories.Students engage in this strategy and have fun with it.

Closure:

I will remind students that we have two goals to accomplish with the narratives we are about to write:

1.) To convey a meaningful and relevant theme

2.) To use multiple narrative techniques to convey that theme.

This week, we will focus on themes. Next week, we will work with narrative techniques.

Homework tonight (10/18 B day, 10/19 A day): Choose 3-5 themes you may want to convey in your story. Write them in your notebook and bring to our next class.

 

 

 

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SHORTS P1 Day 12

Poem A Day:

Today students were asked to guess why I chose this song, and to identify the theme. Students were able to guess that I picked it because it has the same theme as the essay I wrote. Then I gave them an extra credit opportunity: to choose a song or poem that has the same theme as their essay, and submit the song with their final draft of their essay on Wednesday (B day) or Thursday (A day).

Mini-lesson:

Objective: Students will use the rubric to score and assess a peer’s essay so they better understand the rubric, give and receive feedback on their own draft, and gain exposure to more exemplars.

Active Engagement:

Students worked in pairs to revise their theme essay drafts one last time before they are due. They filled out this doc which got them to engage deeper with the rubric, and to engage with an essay of their peer’s. It was helpful for them to get perspective from a reader who isn’t them or me.

Closure:

Students will revise their work (10/16 for B day and 10/17 for A day). Final drafts of essays are due Wednesday 10/18 for B3 and B4, and on Thursday 10/19 for A1 and A2.

SHORTS P1 Day 11

Poem A Day:

Why not have a bunch of poems this week about oranges? Easy theme. Kids have to make inferences and defend them with evidence. What a sweet and lovely poem.

Mini-lesson:

Objective: Students will analyze revisions in a model text so they understand the importance of revision in the writing process.

Today I will discuss why revision is so important to the writing process (there is not one correct way to express your ideas, you should play with the words, and the organization, and try new things before settling). I will model for them my revision process by reading/showing on the smart board my second draft of my essay.

Active Engagement:

Students will work in pairs to compare the first draft of my Fear the Walking Dead essay to the second draft of my Fear the Walking Dead essay in which I have highlighted all of my changes with red text. They will answer the questions at the bottom of the page designed to help them think about how well they develop their own ideas in their essays with textual support.

Closure:

Students will revise their work (10/12 for B day and 10/13 for A day). Second drafts of essays are due Monday 10/16 for B3 and B4, and on 10/17 for A1 and A2.

SHORTS P1 Day 10

Poem A Day:

This song is wonderful and has a clear theme. The theme ties into the paper that I am writing as a model text for the students about an episode of Fear the Walking Dead.

Mini-lesson:

Objective: Students will analyze strategies writers use to develop themes so they can deliver a theme through writing an original narrative.

Today students will look at the anchor charts their peers made for the rubric.

Next, students will read over an exemplar I wrote about Fear the Walking Dead using class notes and use a rubric to score it. The rubric is the same rubric they worked with in our last class, and is also the same rubric I will use to score all expository writing this year.

Students will work in pairs to score my rough piece, and then as a whole group we will discuss revisions I could make.

Active Engagement:

Students will use the rubric to score their own piece and work on revision of their own pieces in A1 and A2. In B3 and B4, students will continue to write their rough drafts.

Closure:

Students in B3 and B4 will continue to work on their rough drafts which are due next class 10/12 and A1A2 Rough drafts are due for this lesson on 10/13.

SHORTS P1 Day 9

Poem A Day:

This is a fun song and a fun video. Because so many of my students are about to write essays about an episode of television or a short film, I wanted to give students the opportunity to analyze visual storytelling.

Mini-lesson:

Objective: Students will unpack the language used in their writing rubrics and put the standards in their own language so that they can understand writing expectations at their grade level.

Today students will be introduced to the rubric that I will use to assess their essays that they will begin writing today. I will use this rubric to score all expository writing this year. So our activity is designed to get students comfortable with the language in the rubric and familiar with the goals and expectations for writing in their grade level.

Students will work in small groups to design posters for each category of the rubric. In other words, each group will be assigned a portion of the rubric and they will work to summarize the goals, put them into their own words, and present them on an anchor chart that I will hang on the walls in the classroom for them to reference any time.

Active Engagement:

Students will begin drafting their essays.

Closure:

We will continue to work on rough drafts in our next class. 10/10 for B day students. Rough drafts for B day students are due 10/12. Rough drafts will be due 10/13 for A day students (Oct. 11 is the PSAT).

 

SHORTS P1 Day 8

Poem A Day:

This is a fun song, and its pretty vague. Students have to make inferences about who the characters are, what the song is about, etc. I ask them to tell me why they think what they think and to go back to the text- its a good exercise in interpreting and defending interpretations using text evidence.

Mini-lesson:

Objective: Students will analyze strategies writers use to develop themes so they can deliver a theme through writing an original narrative.

I have now collected and read student’s baseline theme essays. I opened the lesson by celebrating what students did well, and by discussing some things we will focus on moving forward.

Students had a few minutes to submit their story choices for our next project.

Then, I gave a demo lesson on annotating stories and taking notes on observations.

Active Engagement:

Students performed a close-read using this handout for their story choice. I have them sitting in pairs to start this project. They will be using their partner for feedback, but they are working independently.

Closure:

Students finished reading and taking notes. Today I emphasized that we are thinking thoughts and collecting our ideas on paper. Next class, we will work on organizing and communicating those thoughts.

SHORTS P1 Day 7

Poem A Day:

This is one of my favorite songs ever. Students, again were asked to identify the theme of this song, and how it is developed. Of course, I should mention, all answers are acceptable, and I never grade Poem a Day responses. They are low-stakes writing and should only make students more comfortable with thinking routines and sharing ideas.
I focused in on one set of lyrics for my mini-lesson for today:

 

“Don’t want to be free of hope

And I’m at the end of my rope

It’s so tough just to be alive

When I feel like the living dead

I’m giving it up so plain

I’m living my life in vain

And where am I going to?”

 

Mini-lesson:

Objective: Students will analyze strategies writers use to develop themes so they can deliver a theme through writing an original narrative.

Today I did a demo lesson using an episode of Fear the Walking Dead. I told them about the opening scene of one episode where a family was being hunted by men with guns. The opening credits came on and they read: Fear the walking dead. I asked the students: who was I afraid of when the credits came on the screen? They said, the men with guns. Yes. So I told them that this scene got me thinking. We assume that the “walking dead” refers to the zombies. But this scene indicated to me that the “walking dead” are the humans who have forgotten the aspects of humanity worth conserving in this post-apocalyptic world.

After modeling my thought process, I got onto this Google doc and tried to write down my ideas. I do this in front of the class, and ask them for input as we go (they also correct my grammar as I type quickly in front of them. muahahha grammar lesson that they didn’t even notice was happening).

From this, we discussed the purpose of a thesis (your idea) and of the essay (to use evidence to defend your ideas and describe why you think what you think).

Active Engagement:

Students read through a student sample, also included in their notes for today.  They looked at how this writer created a thesis about the theme of an episode of The Twilight Zone and how he defended this theme through exploring narrative techniques used in the episode.

Closure:

Homework. Choose one story (from those we read in class, or one you found on your own) and begin outlining and brainstorming. What is the theme? How is it developed throughout the story?