Monday, January 23, 2017

Bend 1 Session 5 (Argument) Other ways to write claim & Ways to write evidence

Conveying Evidence 

Summarizing, Storytelling, and Quoting

In the previous class you learned that once you have tested out your claim, it is time to plan how the whole essay will go so that the claim at least hints at what the plan for the essay will be.  To make this plan for the essay, essayist who write about characters often try to see if this template will work:

A character is (trait) because (reason A), (reason B), and (reason C). 

Sometimes this template does not work there are others to try.

A character is (this way) (with person A) and (with person B).

A character is (this way) (in this situation) and (in that situation).

A character is (this way) and (that way) as a (role).

A character is (this way) at the start, the middle and the end of the story.  

The important thing is that once this structure work is underway, writers collect evidence to support their thinking.

Today I want to teach you that when writing a literary essay, after developing a   text-based claim, essayists reread the text  through the lens of the claim, searching for the most compelling evidence that can support it.  

Essayists do the following:

  • quote some parts of the text
  • story-tell other parts
  • summarize other parts

To do these they need to collect evidence.

How do essayist collect evidence to "back up" their claim?

Your claim is as follows: Squeaky is fiercely protective of both her brother and herself.

Use 'Raymond's Run to teach students how to skim.

  • Looking at portions of lines and recalling what that part of the story says
  • For example the portion where Squeaky keeping Raymond on the inside part of the sidewalk as they walk down the street. That's being protective.
  • Mark the evidence and keep going because you will need evidence from the beginning, middle and the end.  
  • You have to find the most compelling and convincing evidence.
  • Point out the scene where the girls are on the  street and Squeaky starts being rude to the girls before any of them actually say anything at all to Raymond.  More evidence that Squeaky is protective of Raymond.  
  • Reread closely, and annotate the passage, underlining the words that show exactly what they want to show as evidence.  
  • A lot of the passage won't, be perfect. For example, does the fact that Squeaky keeps Raymond on the inside part of the sidewalk really show that Squeaky is fiercely protective? 
  • For more evidence examples refer to pay 48.
How do you bring the evidence into the essay?

  • Story-tell the evidence (using your own words and what you know about narrative writing to re-create the portion of the story).
    • Use example on the top of page 49
  • Summarizing the background of the story and quoting just the key parts of the text. You weave in important phrases or lines of dialogue that work to support your point
    • Use example in the middle of page 49
  • Refer to Key details from the text in passing by writing something like this...
    • Use example at the bottom of page 49
Active Engagement: It is your turn to work on your structure plan and to reread your story through the lens of your claim, collecting evidence.  

If extra time: Mid-Workshop Teaching

Teach: Appositives
Use page 52 to help teach 

Homework: Continue to grow evidence that fits your claim.  You need to be like a cook. Think ahead about what you will be making tomorrow (an Essay!) and whip up a quick shopping list of all the ingredients that you need to produce that essay tomorrow. 
Here is what you need:

  1. You need to introduce the text. Usually this means you will write some background information about it-almost a little tiny report.  The background information needs to include the author and the genre, and sometimes in includes a tiny summary of the story.
  2. You need a structure so you can write a claim, early in your essay and then have a plan for how you will organize the evidence you bring in to support your claim.  Will you be talking about the reasons for your claim, the ways it is true, the situations in which it is true, the way it is true in the start, the middle, the end of the story-or what?
  3. For each part of your essay, you will need compelling evidence. Some of the evidence will be told in micro-stories, some in lists, some in quotations-and sometimes the evidence is told through a combination of those.
  4. The evidence needs to come from all portions of the story: beginning, middle and ending.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bend 1 Session 4 (Argument)

Crafting Claims

Connection:  Formulate a substantial idea

The other day I was out to lunch with a friend, and he asked me what I liked about this other friend of ours, who can be a bit difficult to get along with.  And the thing is, I had a hard time figuring out what to say, because my reasons didn't seem big enough. They didn't seem to quite capture why I like our friendship.  It was an annoying feeling, like my brain was failing.  I kept coming up with little things, with ideas that only showed a tiny part of her, like, "I like how she is really into video games."  or "She can be really nice sometimes."  But later on, when I had more time to think, I realized that the real reason I like this friend is that she sees the world in interesting ways, and helps me see it in those ways, too.  This felt like a real thing to say about my friend, but it was hard to get out.

The next step, as literary essayists, is to develop all the thinking you have done into an idea that is big enough to become your essay's central idea- its claim.

Teaching Point: 

Today I want to teach you that when literary essayists write about a character, they work hard to come up with an idea, a claim, that captures the whole of that person so the claim is big enough to think and write about for a while and can maybe even become the central idea of the entire essay.  (refer to anchor chart p.37)

Teaching and Active Engagement:

To come up with a strong claim about a character, it helps to reread one's entries and notes and to think again about the text, coming up with drafts of "possible claims."  

Discuss entries and ideas about Raymond's Run and ask "What is the main thing we really want to say about Squeaky?"

As I reread the following entry, try to come up with a claim that you think is big enough to encompass all of your important ideas about Squeaky.  Write it in your notebook.  

(Read entry p.37-38)

Have students share their claims.  Record their answers on chart paper.

Now let's look at the claims you generated and decide:

  • Which ones come the closest to capturing the essence of her? Which of these seems most encompassing of all sides of her and why do you say that? 
  • Or which ones seem one-sided?  
  • Also, think about whether a claim can be supported by the whole story (beginning, middle and end)

*This process involves not just choosing between a bunch of possible claims, but tweaking the claim that seems the closest to what you want to say and rewriting it over until it is just right.  It takes a lot of work to produce just 1 or 2 sentences.

Possible claim: Squeaky is fiercely protective of both her brother and herself.


Get with another student, or two- not more than two that have read the same short story as you (Stray or Thank You Ma'am).

Work together to come up with a list of possible claims.  Everyone needs to jot the ideas in their notebooks.  Then, start testing them out to see whether they fit with the whole character, and across the whole story.

  • you're searching not for facts about the character, but for ideas- for things that are not explicitly said in the story itself, but ideas that you thought up on your own
  • you can look over the writing you've collected about the text and ponder your thoughts about it


Let's review the essay structure that we used with The Three Little Pigs essay.  

Now, start an outline for your essay.  Make sure to include your claim and topic sentences and your hunch about the evidence you'll include.


Tonight for homework, go back to your story and reread 2 sections and write about the details you see in those two sections and the ways those details reveal your character.  But this time, choose those passages because you are sure you will be writing about them in your essay.   Write at least 1-2 pages. 

Ex: For Raymond's Run, I would find a passage that is especially strong and relates to Squeaky being protective of her brother and another passage that is especially strong and relates to Squeaky being protective of herself.   

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bend 1 Session 3 (Argument) What the Character "really" wants

Writing to Discover What A Character Really Wants

Have you ever witnessed drama between friends and heard something like "The thing about her is that she just wants people to understand her and if she feels misunderstood, she flips out!"

Just like when you try to figure out why your peers flip out - Essayists try to figure out what motivates a character - they think about what does that character really want?

Today I want to teach you that when literary essayists are writing about characters, one way they make their ideas more powerful, more intriguing, is by looking beyond the obvious details about the characters to think about what motivates them --to figure out what the character really wants from other people and from life.

Let's look at Raymond Run's character Squeaky~

What does Squeaky want?

What motivates her to act all tough and prickly and defensive?

Think time...

The Thinker

Share your thinking (see manual page 27 for ideas to help guide discussion)

(Teacher brainstorm on chart paper what the class provides)

NEXT STEP: Take one of the ideas and think/write long about it in your journals.

*Point out - what people want on the surface (a new car, for people to stop picking on them) isn't usually what they want most of all, what they want deep inside.  What they really want is usually a feeling, a way of living, a new kind of relationship... It's human nature to want these things.*

Active Engagement:
Turn to your writing partners and pick one idea and talk about it first before they go and write long about it.

If you and your partner feel stuck at any point - go back and reread the story looking for more evidence for your idea.  You will probably find that your original idea will evolve and become more complicated~giving you more to think and write about!

Add "Think, 'What does the character really want?' and write long." 
Refer to the chart paper titled How to Write a Literary Essay about Character

Read the mentor entry and annotate about one thing that is really terrific that you could try and do.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bend 1 Session 2E (Argument) Characterization

Growing Big Ideas From Details about Characters

Connection: Remind students of the previous session tell them that today they will be working similar work, but on a larger scale.

Open your notebooks to the page where you wrote your revised essay about the 'Three Little Pigs,' and look it over, ask yourself one very important question: What did I learn from doing that essay that I can use again, when writing a more intellectually ambitious essay?

We are not going to talk about them right now but carry them with you, because starting today, you are going to work on a much more ambitious character essay.  Your essay will take 4 or 5 days to write, and it will be a lot better than the essays you whipped out yesterday.  But the process of writing these essays will be largely the same, it helps to start by thinking about the big claim that you want to make bout the text--and in this case, about the character.

Show chart of:
How to Write a Literary Essay about Character

Today I want to teach you that to get big ideas about texts-and eventually grow those ideas into a literary essay-it pays to notice important details the author has included about the character, and then to reflect on the author's purpose for including a detail, and to jot down those thoughts.

"Good books don't give up their secrets all at once." -Steven King

This tells us that there is great reward in paying attention to the details in stories, that if you do, you will uncover the big ideas that make the story important.  

In this BEND you will be writing essays about characters, paying attention to the details of a character is an especially important thing to do because characters are people.  Just like you can't know everything about a person the 1st time you glance at them, you can't know everything about a character the 1st time you meet the character in the pages of a story.  

Today we will learn about Characterization

Use what you have learned from the movie Frozen and Characterization and apply that to any character from your New Text.  This will help in your analysis part of your essay. Journal 1-2 pages about your chosen character. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bend 1 Session 2C (Argument) Analyze New Story Character

-This story remember is about a tough girl with a brother who has some special needs and her discovery that even though he has problems, he's  great runner, just like she is.  

To grow a claim about Squeaky, the protagonist in this story, you and I need to do some work that you will also end up doing with whatever story you choose to work with later today.  

We are going to reread a part of the story that shows what the protagonist is like, and we need to reread closely, with pen in hand.  After we will need to take some of what we notice and think hard about why the author might have put in this particular detail.

Go right to a part of the story that shows the character. The 1st part of 'Raymond's Run' that you think shows Squeaky.  

Read the start of the story-as we read , underline details about Squeaky that show what she is like as a person. Then stop and think...

 Why might the author have chosen this particular detail?

Refer to page 16 for underlined parts.

Did some of you underline the phrase

I much rather just knock you down' ?

Show that you are thinking about why the author might have included this.

Chart: Thought Prompts that Help an Essayist Think and Write (page 17)

Using the chart, continue to discuss Squeaky's character.

Refer to the chart "How to Write a Literary Essay about a Character" (Chart page 20)

We are going to have another story to study.

With a partner: Read and annotate like we did for Raymond's run - specifically focusing on one character.  Annotate and underline details about the character -Ask yourself: why the author chose to reveal those details and what does it say about the character?

Tonight, reread your new story and your annotations.  Like the conversations we had in class about Squeaky, have a conversation with an imaginary partner about your new story on paper.  Use phrases like: "Yeah, but what about this...?"  to have a conversation of different ideas. 
Begin writing about your thoughts and develop ideas about your story's character.

Come tomorrow with your new story annotated and at least two pages of written ideas.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bend 1 Session 2D (Argument) Reading New Story

Choose your new text that you will then write an Argument Essay about.


Bend 1 Session 2B (Argument) Mentor Essay

You know what a claim is and how to write one.

You know a STRUCTURE of an argument essay or literary essay.

You have annotated the text for examples and tried to analyze the text.

Now let's look at a MENTOR text of an argument essay for "Raymond's Run"

Cut or  highlight/color code the sections of the structure in Yuko's Mentor text. 

Homework: Write your argument essay for your claim about Squeaky.  

Bend 1 Session 2 (Argument) Raymond's Run

Listen to and/or follow along to 

"Raymond's Run"

After reading the text talk about which character would be the best one to choose to write a literary essay about and why.

Squeaky would be the best character to choose to write a claim about due to the fact that there is a large about of material to use to back up our claim and this is the character that we get to know the most.

Ticket out the door:  Write a claim about Squeaky

Homework: Annotate "Raymond's Run"
Look for examples to help support your claim and TRY and analyze or give an explanation as to WHY Squeaky did, said, acted like she did in the margins of the text.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bend 1 Session1 (Argument Character) Three Little Pigs

Session 1: Essay Boot Camp


Our new unit is on writing about reading, but you'll still do this writing in your writer's notebook, so get them out, and fold a page over to make a divider, setting off this new unit.

This unit is going to make you more skilled at expressing your ideas through literary essays

 Here is the thing about essay writing: if you can write essays well, that skill will take you places.  You will use this skill to ace any high school writing or to get into colleges.  And people write essays all the time in life, even though adults might not call them that.  People embed essays into emails trying to persuade their bosses to do something, into reviews of great video or computer games or shows.  

Teaching Point:

Today I want to teach you that when writing an essay, it can help to start with a clear sense of the structure in which you will be writing, and then you almost pour your content into that structure, changing the structure around if the content requires you to do so.

Teaching & Active Engagement:

1. Today we're going to write a flash-draft essay about a fairy tale.  This writing will get you warmed up for writing a real literary essay.  I've been thinking of a classic story that everyone knows: "The Three Little Pigs". 

I know this is a silly fairy tale for kids, but the simplicity of this story and the characters will make it easy for you to write your essay today.  To get the story into the front of your mind, quickly retell it to each other.  Think especially about the 3rd little pig because I think he is going to be our focus.  

(review story together when they finish- refer to p.5-6)

2.  To write an essay you need an idea that is important to you.  Today, I will suggest the claim or thesis for you to use...

"In the fairy tale "The Three Little Pigs" the third little pig is an admirable character because he is _______, _______, and ________."   

You will now think about the structure/outline you will use.  One of the simplest ways to organize an essay is to write about your reasons.  

Work with your partner to come up with reasons to support this claim. Think about whether you are going to be able to find support from the story to defend your point.  If you don't have any example, your claim won't stand. 
  • The third little pig is an admirable character because A, because B, and most of all because C.
    • (write this statement on chart paper -see p.6)
3.  Let's share what our reasons are.  
(Create thesis statement together- see p.7)

4.  Rehearse your 1st body paragraph
  • Now that we have our structure, imagine what you would write if you had time to do so by rehearsing your 1st body paragraph.  This means you will say the exact words that you would write to your partner, don't talk about what you'd write
  • Think of scenes or details from "The Three Little Pigs" that you can use to support, to illustrate, or to give an example of the fact that the third little pig works hard.  Start with the topic sentence for your 1st body paragraph...One reason why the third little pig is admirable is that he is ________.  For example...
  • Bring class back together and share the first bit of the essay from p.8
  • Tip: After citing an example, you need to "unpack" it, or analyze how it fits with your point.  Warning----HARDEST PART!!!!!
  • So you need to add something like 
  • "This shows..." or
  •  "This illustrates..." 
  • and then explain how the example fits the claim about the third pig.  
  • And then repeat your claim.  
  • Then, write a transition that gets you started on the next body paragraph, using terms like "Another reason..." or "Although one reason is...another reason is..."
  • Reread the first bit of essay on p.8 and show students how it aligns with this structure


Now flash-draft your entire essay in your writer's notebooks on the admirable character, the Third Little Pig.


For share you will spend some time reviewing your essay and critiquing what you did with your partner.  Read each other's essays and make annotations in the margins as if you were the teacher.  Be sure to look for all the parts of the essay.


Finish annotating your partners essay, noting in the margins what you think.  If that is done then take your partners notes and rewrite your essay. Yes, rewrite :)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pre-Teach Day 2 (Argument Character) Structure

Review Definition of Claim

Teach: Essay Structure Outline

Pre-Teach Day 1 (Argument Character) Claim

What is a claim?

Examples from the story Everything Will Be OK

* Pass out a list of Character Traits or create a list
*Discuss how some character traits are "universal" and then others are help describe the "universal" trait.

                                                              Leader (universal)
                             Hardworking, Determined, and Well Spoken (helper traits)

**Remember your claim MUST include:
  • Title of Text 
  • Author
  • Claim

Practice: With a partner from your literature group, create a claim for a prior story you have read.  Your ticket out the door is your claim on an index card.

Argument Essay PreAssessment

Remember the story "Everything Will be Okay" that we used as our mentor text in our Personal Narrative Unit.

We spent many classes discussing characters (personalities), themes (ideas), plot (actions) and we formed opinions about many aspects of this story.

You will have 45 minutes to write an essay in which you will write your opinion or claim about the story "Everything Will Be Okay" and argue why it is right, telling reasons why you feel that way.  When you do this, draw on everything you know about essays. 

Please keep in mind that you will need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one sitting.

In your writing, make sure you:
  • write an introduction
  • State your claim
  • Give reasons & evidence
  • Organize your writing
  • Acknowledge counterclaims
  • Use transition words
  • Write a conclusion