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.

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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?

SHORTS P1 Day 6

Poem A Day:

Today we continue our discussions about themes and how authors deliver those themes. This is a song the kids like, and the theme is pretty straight forward and easy to pinpoint- its a good way to get back into the lesson. (trigger alert- this song deals with the issue of suicide, but ends on a VERY hopeful note).

Mini-lesson:

Today’s objective: Students will analyze strategies storytellers use to develop themes so they can deliver a theme of their choice through use of narrative techniques in an original short story.

Students will continue to practice identifying themes and articulating those themes. I want them to discuss themes with their peers, so that they can practice developing and defending their ideas.

Because I want them to practice developing their own language for discussing these ideas, I will be showing some visual storytelling today.

First we will ease into it, using a wonderfully inspiring and adorable short movie called “Scared is Scared” . Students will work in small groups to decide what the theme is and write a short paragraph together describing it and telling me how they know that’s the theme using specific examples from the film.

Active Engagement:

Next, we will watch a wordless film- “Piper.” Students will work together again to figure out what the theme is and they will be asked to think about HOW the creators of the film delivered that theme- without words, no less! They will share their ideas out with the class, and I record all thoughts on this Google doc. 

Closure:

To recap- we will discuss how themes are ideas and lessons and messages and feelings that we can all relate to- they are shared universal human experiences, and they speak to who we are and what our nature is- what is humanity? stories and their themes help us to answer that question.

All three of these pieces of media explored the theme of perseverance through challenging times, or through less than anticipated life changes. 

Students will finish their theme baseline essays- due Monday (A day)/Tuesday (B day).