Lesson Plan

Brainstorm, Write, Share, Revise, Publish

Essay writing and feedback
Brandon Z.
Classroom teacher
Sanger High School
Sanger, CA
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My Grades 10
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to compose a comprehensive essay. 

English Language Arts
Grades 7 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Analysis of the Text

Activity: Other — Annotating

In whatever subject you are teaching, it is always great to help students develop the confidence in their own abilities and that they can achieve something on their own. But this will allow for collaboration and help with building a community of learners where faults and mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. 

As the teacher, you are going to have to find the text that you would like students to do the analysis for. 

In my version, I have chosen two poems, the "Lamb" and the "Tyger" by William Blake. With the first step, it's about having students do the thinking, annotating. I like to do things on paper, but this could easily take the direction of a tech tool, Skitch, annotate PDF, or any other app where students can take a photo or upload a PDF file and write on it. 

I have students take pictures of their work and share it to our Google Plus Community (not available as a choice on the website) as a means of sharing. Also with the posting, they have a comment and two questions to pose as a means of helping progress the discussions. Students have to assist three students in that process of analysis and brainstorming. This could also be done with a student's blog. 

In this process, as teacher, I am observing what ideas they are pulling out and can either direct or extend the disussion by posing other questions.  

Student Instructions

Students are to read the poem(s) annotate and search for speaker, imagery, tone, theme, and subject.

After annotating, take a photo of your work, and pose one comment, and two questions to the Google Plus Community. The two questions should be inferencing questions, not surface level. Think investigation questions, not "what does this mean" kind of questions. 

You have three peers where you must try and help them answer their questions.  

2 Collaborating

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Optional step. If students have created a blog, then this works out well for students to share what they have looked at, and be proud of their annotations. Once the questions are posted, spend time to allow students to explore what their peers have come to grips with in the poems. This is a great way to start discussions without having to interfere too much. A lot of monitoring as the teacher here, but if the community has established a collaborative environment, then this should be easy and a great transition to discussion. 

Student Instructions

To add to the discussion and the collaboration, have students take a photo of your work, and pose one comment, and two questions to the Google Plus Community or thier blog. The two questions should be inferencing questions, not surface level. Think investigation questions, not "what does this mean" kind of questions. 

You have three peers where you must try and help them answer their questions by posting in their comments to their post. 

Students will discuss the following day based on comments and findings. 

3 Discussion

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As the discussion is going on in class, have students take notes and start building ideas based on the essential quesiton, or based on a prompt you have for the text. 

Have students take notes purposefully. Meaning the boxes in Popplet can change size and color, you can add boxes and connect them to other boxes. This is significant if it is an argumentative write, where one color could be one side of the argument, and another color could be the opposition. 

As they are taking notes, they can start to brainstorm what their essay and opinion will be based on their own notes. 

Student Instructions

As the discussion is happening, start to take notes on the good things and ideas you hear that will support your opinion of the question/prompt. 

Be purposeful in you note-taking. Have two-three color boxes, and have them separated and organized in a way that will separate one side from the other. 

4 Draft I

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Students will compose their first draft based on their notes to the question/prompt assigned. 

When students have a completed draft, have them share with the two or so students that commented on their notes on Google Plus/Weebly blog to be able to comment only, not to edit. When this happens, have students rate the thesis statement (1-6 scale) then re-write it in their own words. One way of offering the writer some other feedback and how other writers are seeing their thesis statement. Also as they are doing this, I have students use emojis to signify trouble spots in the write, they are only to use 1 of 3 different ones: :D, :), and :P . In this, they are offering comments via places where they see is problematic, or really good, minimum 6 comments, including the thesis. So with two people per paper, students are getting 12 pieces of feedback on their writing, with not very offending comments. 

Student Instructions

From the notes you took, compose your draft on Google Docs and be sure to share your document with the two people who commented on your ideas only allowing them to comment, not edit. 

As you are shared with documents, you will place comments based on strength of thesis (1-6 point scale) offering also an alternative re-write of it (whether it's a good one or not). 

Also, you have 5 comments to make with emojis, looking for great sentences, lines, or suggestions that there is something problematic with an area. Remember the emojis are :D for great  :) for not bad, and :P might be off. 

5 Revision and Publishing

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Once students get their feedback, they are to go back into their writing and make changes. Revision is the heart of great writing, so students should get in the habit of doing such. After their comments and revisions, they are to embed their essay on their Weebly blog. In the blog, they are to write a letter to the reader as to what changes they made in draft one to draft two. 

Student Instructions

After getting comments back from others, go through the revision process, making changes and trying to fix any confusion or misconceptions in the write. 

After the draft is done, embed the document onto your blog, and in the blog section, you are writing a letter to the reader, sheding light on the changes you made from draft one to draft two. Discuss some of the difficulties and the challenges you came across in that process and working towards clarity.