Friday, February 17, 2017

Bend 2 Session 12 (Argument)

Editing Inquiry Centers

The importance of editing...


The care writers put into the conventions of writing shows how seriously they take both the piece they worked on and the reader who will read the piece.

Today you are going to focus on doing some editing work in your essays.   Use the mentor text and the rules list to study and understand the highlighted convention.


2. USAGE: PAST/PRESENCE TENSE - editing for consistency



5. PUNCTUATION (Capitals, commas, end punctuation, paragraph structure/breaks)

Homework: Rewrite your final piece using all the strategies from the previous days.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bend 2 Session 11 (Argument)

Quoting Texts

Connection: I bet that right here, right now , you could think of something that someone in your life always says, a quote that that persons kind of famous for.  Maybe it is an adult in your life, or your best friend who always says the craziest things.

Share a "quote" from someone and what is shows about that person.

A friend of mine, her mom would always say, 'You come by it honestly.' whenever she would mess up in a way that her mom did.  It was a sweet way of telling her she was not alone in messing up that way, that she'd been there too.   

Share any you have with your partner.

Refer to Yuko's Essay and focus on how Yuko used quotations.

Model rereading a section of writing that needs stronger evidence and inserting a quote

Focus on going back to the text and selecting quotes that strengthen the section

*You can use part of a quote or all of the quote
*You can add context to the quotation so it fits into your writing better

1. Revise your quotations used in your draft
2. Add new quotations to help strengthen your body paragraphs
3. Practice adding context to the quote so it doesn't seem like it was "plopped" into your essay

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bend 2 Session 10a, 10b, 10c (Argument)

First Impressions and Closing Remarks


When writing, people get to do something that you never get to do in life.  You get to redo your first impressions.  Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt awkward?  Well, sometimes when writing on a new topic, a writer can start off in that same awkward way.  Today, you'll learn ways to go back into a draft and fix up the introduction so that in the end, the first impressions your writing makes on your reader will be strong.  

Right now what I want to teach you is this: when literary essayists write introductions, they often lead with a universal statement about life and then transition to the text-based claim itself, by narrowing their focus to the particular story they are writing about.  


1.  It is tough to find a way to show that you love someone.  In his short story, "The Gift of the Magi," O'Henry teaches that the greatest gifts are those that require a character to be willing to make a sacrifice. 

2.  Sometimes, from reading stories, we learn how to be better people.  We learn how to sacrifice, how to show our affection, how to be a good person.  These are all admirable qualities.  

3.  While we often think of heroes being extraordinary people who do extraordinary things, I like to find heroes in my everyday life.  People who are kind, who sacrifice for others, who show up for the people they love. These are all admirable qualities, as admirable as a superhero's strength or super speed.  In O'Henry's surprising story, "The Gift of the Magi," we meet two heroes, Jim and Della, who have many admirable qualities.  

Debrief: How to make a good first impression...

  • Sound like you know what your talking about 
  • What is the biggest thing you are trying to say?
  • Define what the trait means
  • Generate a list of possible leads and choose the one that best represents what you want to say

Active Engagement:

Jot a few possible general ideas you could say that your essay addresses.  What is the larger, more universal ideas in your story.  
With your partner, taking the idea you picked, practice at least one way your introduction can go.  Start by talking about the world or life in general.  Your introduction needs to be universal.  
Try writing-in-the-air an introduction.  Try using...
  • "In life, many people..."
  • "Life is..."
  • "Across the world, many people struggle with..."
  • "In my life I always...and in the story..."
  • "(The problem) means..." Define the problem or trait.

Share: 10b "Conclusions"

Sometimes when kids write essays, they put so much work into the essay itself that when they get to the end, they run out of steam, and their conclusions are kind of, well, yuck.  But it's essential that an essayist's final thoughts are really powerful-that they leave the reader feeling like, "Wow, that's right!"

Share conclusions about Raymond's Run.

Homework: (or Classwork)

The conclusions you write matter.  So, tonight, reread what you have drafted today and then make a strong final statement to conclude your journey of thought.  Refer to Alternative Ways to Conclude an Essay chart and Raymond's Run conclusions.

Link:  (Session 10c)

Begin to revise your essay.  Refer to the Revision Strategies chart.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bend 2 Session 9 (Argument)

Drafting Using All that You Know

Yesterday you worked hard to come up with theme-based claims, map out a structure and gather evidence

Today I want to teach you that when essayists sit down to draft, they draw on everything they know about writing essays and they often draft quickly, piecing together all the necessary parts - their ideas and their evidence - into a logical structure.

Draw from all the resources you have!
*Writing Checklist
*Note sheets
*Charts around the room
*Mentor Text from Bend 1
*Structure formats
*Transition words
*Mentor Essay Text (Yuko's Essay)

Use what you worked on in the previous lesson~
*A precise and compelling claim
*A plan for how your essay will go
*An appropriate structure that fits best
*Convincing evidence to support your claim

Active Engagement: 
Write fast and long! 
Push yourselves to write the whole draft of your essay today!

When you are finished with your draft, find someone who is also finished and look over each other's essays.

Compare it to your mentor essays

What went well?
What parts might need more work during the revision process?

Hold your writing up to the checklist.  Think about HOW you are meeting those standards.  Note where in your essay you could improve.

Homework:  Finish drafting your essay

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bend 2 Session 8 (Argument)

Looking for Themes in the Trouble of a Text

Connection: When Mrs. Everts was in high school she ran track & field.  She stated on junior varsity team-JV- then she moved onto the Varsity team.  The word varsity is just a shortening of the word university, and it means the main team, the one everyone is watching.
Mrs. Everts' Varsity Jacket
Starting today, we are heading into varsity-level essay writing. It would be great if you could all have letter jackets to wear from now on!!

Essayists can write essays on any element of a story (setting of a story, on the structure of a story etc.). The most common way to write a literary essay is to write on a story's theme, on life lessons, and that's what you will be doing over the next bend in this unit.  

You are still thinking about the story "YOU" selected and what is it teaching readers about life. Keep in mind all that you have already been thinking because the themes in a story relate very closely to traits and motivations of characters, and especially of the main character.  

Today I want to teach you that often the life lessons that a character learns are the life lessons that the author hopes that readers will learn.  To figure out what those life lessons might be, it helps to look more closely at the troubles a character faces, and how they get in the way of what a character wants, asking, 'What lessons does the character learn from all this?"

Teaching Going back to Mrs. Everts and Track & Field, for many many races (hurdles) she would get 3rd place, 3rd place, 3rd place.  Her father rarely came to her races.  So each night after the race she would come home and tell him all about it.  This one particular night she got real sad and frustrated about the 3rd place she had got...again.  She cried and cried to her dad.  Once she was calm he told her that even though he wished she could get 1st place all the time, most people have to face hard times--and that those hard times were usually when they learned the best lessons- lessons that help them become themselves.  'No pain, no gain,'

** There are universal motivations, troubles, and life lessons in stories.  

As we all learn from tough times in our lives, characters in stories learn the most through the problems they face.  But readers learn right along with the characters.  Readers also learn stuff that relates not just to the character's troubles but to troubles that readers have as well.  That is true because the problems that characters face in the stories have what people call universality

Remember that characters in stories have motivations that ALL human beings share.  
People want:

  • to feel valued
  • to be understood
  • to fit in
 Motivating Factors
Here is a list of all the factors that motivate human behavior. 
  • Relationships: family; friends; love; hate; betrayal
  • Fear: the unknown; the past repeating itself
  • Obligation: knowing you should do something whether you want to or not; fear of looking bad to others
  • Needs and wants: money; basic needs; greed; dreams
  • Cultural influences: society; expectations
  • Revenge: past wrongs; hurt; anger
  • Past experiences: childhood; frightening situations; defining moments
Taking a moment to think about all the things that make you want to do the things you do, or feel the way you feel, is the first step to defining your characters’ motivations.

People also have universal problems.
  • things get in the way of what they want
For example:

 The Beast in Beauty and the Beast: Depression

The Beast, like many people, must change his cold hearted ways and break out of the prison he put himself in to find true love and happiness.  

Think of 'Raymond's Run,' and consider the main 

character's motivation and/or problems that get in 

the way of her getting what she wants.  BUT, this 

time, try to do this all in words that have 

universality.  Think about what Squeaky really 

 wants and about her problems.

It takes awhile to learn what she really wants (usually you know that at the start of a story), but by the end of the story, what do you think she really wants??  Tell someone your idea.

She wants to have a friend, to feel connected to people.  

Here is the question: Is that motivation worded in such a way that it applies to lots of people? Is it a universal motivation?

What are her problems?

Problem #1
Squeaky has to care for her brother who has special needs.  
BUT, we need to name her problem in a way that is not specific to this story, but that instead is a problem many people have. 

Squeaky, like lots of people in the world, has a job to do that makes her different from other kids.   

Problem #2

Many people have tempers like Squeaky that keep people away from them.  

Now we need to think of life lessons that characters can learn from their problems.

The Beast
life lessons from beauty and the beast - beauty comes from within
We learned this one along with Beast. True beauty comes from within; it’s about being kind to others and not only thinking about yourself. 

You could simply say 'Having a temper is bad.' but this is just not powerful enough after all the thinking work we have down about this story.

Talk with someone about what the lesson could be.
-about making friends 
-about her temper
-about protectiveness
***One way to do this is to focus on the end of the story and what has changed in Squeaky.

Make Chart: How to Write a Theme-Based Literary Essay from page 81

Active Engagement:
Try this out with the story you chose, think about the lessons the character learned by thinking about the motivations and the problems of the protagonist.

Get with same story partners.
TALK about your characters motivations and problems in universal terms.  Think bigger than just the particular scenario in your book.  Come up with a life lesson the character learns.

On the next clean page in your writers notebook draw a T chart: on left side list motivations/problems character has (Beast-wants to love someone/can't open up) (Squeaky-needs to take care a family member/has a temper).

**Remember to talk about it universally. 

After you have a list of motivations and problems the character has start a list of possible life lessons.

Finish your work by drafting a theme-based claim and begin to outline evidence to support your claim

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bend 1 Session 7 (Argument)

Revising Essays to Be Sure You Analyze as Well as Cite Text Evidence


When I was your age, there were these times when I said to my mother, "Why do I have to...?", and her answer was, "Because I said so, that's why."  It was as if my mother was saying, "Why? Because I am the grown-up and you are the kid and you have to do as you are told."

Has that ever happened to you?  You ask why and there is no good reason except, "Because I said so."  It is really frustrating, right? 

Here's my point.  When I read over the drafts you're planning to revise today, it seemed to me that sometimes you are doing the same thing that makes you so mad.  It's like you are just plopping stuff from the story into your essay that you think makes your point, but the reader is left unconvinced.  

Teaching Point:

Today I want to teach you that when an essayist makes a claim and includes evidence to support that claim, that alone doesn't convince readers that the claim is justified.  Essayists often revise their essays to make sure they explain why and how the evidence connects with, or supports, the claim.


 Listen to the following draft I wrote about Squeaky.  Keep this question in mind, What am I trying to explain here?

Squeaky's protectiveness of herself also drives her to push people away.  For example, in the scene where she is talking to Mr. Pearson before the race, and he asks (jokingly) if she will let someone else win, Squeaky stares him down like he is an idiot.  She is so angry that he would even suggest that she not win, that she glares at him until he stops talking!

What am I trying to explain?--How the scene with Mr. Pearson shows her pushing people away and that this is an example of her being protective.  

How or why does this scene show Squeaky pushing people away and that she is protective?

--This shows that Squeaky pushes people away because maybe Mr. Pearson was just trying to be nice to the other girls.  And she just is so mean to him like no one else matters but her, which definitely pushes him away.

--(Define the word) Protective means always watching out for danger, so this scene definitely shows Squeaky being protective.  Like, if Squeaky lost the race, and lost it on purpose, her reputation as a star runner would be in danger.  So this scene shows how Squeaky is protecting herself.  

Here is an example of doing the same work I just did, but now I'm going to add onto my explanation by using some of the prompts above.

--I think this scene shows that Squeaky thinks she is protecting herself, but really she is almost building a wall around her.  Not that she wants to be friends with Mr. Pearson, but by being rude, even if you think you are being protective, you are really just making people not like you.  This is significant because even though she thinks her rudeness is protecting her, all she winds up being is rude and alone!

Active Engagement:

Now, you will use the thought prompts to push your thinking when analyzing how a scene from your story supports the rationale for your claim.  

Partner 1:  Find the 1st place in your draft where you supplied evidence.  Go to the end of that part and put a star there.  Read aloud your evidence to your partner.

Partner 2: When your partner is done sharing their piece of evidence, toss them one of the thought prompts.  One you think might work to get your partner analyzing the evidence.  

Partner 1: Now, repeat your evidence, then take whatever thought prompt your partner threw your way, repeat it, and keep talking as long as you can.  

Partner 2:  When your partner starts to slow down, throw another thought prompt at them, one you think will keep your partner analyzing the evidence.  

*Then, switch roles.


As you continue to revise your essays, remember that it's not enough to just plop that evidence right into your piece.  The analysis of evidence, the how and why of it, is what is really going to convince your readers that your thinking is real and true.  And this goes not just for writing, but for life.  The "because I said so" reasoning is frustrating.  Supporting your reason with the why of it is just as important as the reason itself.

At the end of the workshop today, you're going to have some time to share your essays with a few others.  Be sure to work now to make your essay as powerful and convincing as you can.  Refer to any goals that you set for yourself last night.


Giving Feedback Using the Checklist

With your partner, share the essay that you have written so far.  While you are listening to one another, use the argument checklist and mark it with stars to help you listen closely and to remember the compliments you will give at the end.


Tonight, to celebrate your hard work as an essayist, read your piece once again to someone at home.  

Use the checklist to show off what you've done really well.  

Then, use the checklist to track the goals you set and think about how you'll continue to work toward these goals as we move into the next part of the unit.  

Jot your plan in our notebook.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bend 1 Session 6 (Argument)

Studying a Mentor Text to Construct Literary Essays

Today is the day we actually start putting all the pieces together and write our draft essay!

Today our teaching point is a bit different.  We are going to do an inquiry.  We will be researching the question: "What makes for a good literary essay? And what, exactly, does a writer do to go from making a claim and collecting evidence to actually constructing an essay?"

Teaching and Active Engagement

1. Look over Yuko's essay on Raymond's run, read or reread and add annotations.

2. Meet with your writing partner:
Partner 1~ study the introduction and last body paragraph
Partner 2~Study the middle portion of the essay

Think: "What did the author do that I could try?" Discuss your observations and pick 1 or 2 tricks that you could try.

Remember - don't just notice what the author is doing - notice HOW she did it.

Teacher: Display chart~ Things to look for when Annotating a Mentor Text during work time 
(pass out student copies)

3. Share some observations as a whole class when completed


Before you begin writing, make a quick outline so you have a plan

(Display Essay Outline)

Transitional Phrases
*If needed - Brainstorm or provide a list of good transitional phrases to use to help the essay flow more smoothly.

Think about how you are doing at this point.  What do you still need to work on?  We have an Argument Checklist to help.

Continue working on your draft of your essay.  If completed, use the checklist to determine what you are already doing well, and what you can push yourself to do next.