Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bend 3 Session 16 (Argument)

Session 16: Identifying Run-Ons and Sentence Fragments

Connection:  Editing is like producing a hit single.  What a producer does is minutely tweak the detailed sounds of a song.  When you watch them work it is all subtle twisting of dials here and there unit the exact right sound is found.  Editing is very much the same writing for an editor.  

One way to fine-tune your writing is to make sure that your sentences have the right rhythm.  There is nothing worse than a sentence that goes on too long or stops too short.  It's like a song with an irregular beat.  It is the job of the editor to fix that.  

When looking for run-ons, look for these "red alarm" words like:


and then




Make a plan...
  • What will you revise/edit today?
  • Use all your resources
  • Use the argument writing checklist
Once you have plan in place, continue to revise your drafts.  

Then, have a random person that has not read your essay read through it and offer feedback.

Continue to revise/edit.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bend 3 Session 15 (Argument)

Session 15 Applying What you have Learned in the Past to Today's Revision Work

Have you ever bought a new video game?  Because it is a new game you have a lot to learn - Here are some questions you might have to ask:
*How does the character move?  
*What are the rules of the game? 
*What are the cool things you can do in this game world?

But what you don't need to ask is: 
*How do I use the controller?
*What is a video game?
*How do you use the controller and stare at the screen at the same time?

What don't you need to ask those questions?


Because you've played a ton of times before - you already knew the answers to those questions.

Revising a new kind of essay is similar!

It's a new kind of essay - Compare and Contrast - but you've already been revising other pieces so you already have skills you can use!

Today's workshop will be like playing a new video game, but using what you already know to figure it out.

Today I want to teach you that essayists ask, "What do I already know--and what resources can I use--that will help me do this revision work well?" They hold themselves accountable for drawing on all they've learned before as they revise their drafts.

Use resources to plan for thoughtful revision work:

Look at your essay and notice things you are doing well

Use the Writing Checklist to see where you could push yourself even further...

Did you use transitions?

Where can you write more?

Did you explain and support your general ideas?

Use this checklist:

Active Engagement:
Read over your draft and put stars where you think you can add more, or revise.  Use ALL the resources you have so that you can plan meaningful ways to revise your essay.

Talk with your partner about what your current revision plan is.

Start a list of the things you want to work on now that you've had a chance to talk to your writing partner.

Your writing partner can act as an encourager, sounding board, or sometimes they can assume the role of a critic.

One way to gain constructive feedback is to have your writing partner read and offer suggestions on how you can make it even better!

Your writing partner can bring a fresh perspective to your writing piece so don't forget to ask them to look at your essay too!

Remember - this piece is one you will take all the way to publication!

Continue to revise your essay tonight.  Make sure you have your checklists and charts with you this evening!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bend 3 Session 14 (Argument)

Comparing and Contrasting Themes across Texts

Here is what you need:

  1. mentor texts
  2. earlier drafts
  3. checklists
  4. sit with writing partner


Sometimes when I watch movies, right in the middle of it,  I find myself thinking, 'This is not as good as the other movie I just saw.'  I started comparing the movie to the other one I liked more, thinking about how the main characters were similar and different, and thinking about the themes.  I saw that in one movie, the lead character was kind of helpless looking for love, and in the other, she was headstrong and brave.  And it made me think that the theme of both romantic comedies was about love, of course, but that in one it seemed like the theme was 'Love will make everything okay, and the other it was more like 'If you live your life well, love will come to you.  

This unit has changed me and I am analyzing people and comparing things, and thinking more deeply about things.  I want that for you too.  More so than teaching you to be great essay writers-which I totally care about:)

Today I want to teach you that essayists bring all of their skills to compare-and-contrast essays by comparing what is similar and contrasting what is different about the themes in different texts.  


  • We need to choose a text to work with and have  a list of possible themes 
    • Three Little pigs-when one way of dealing with a problem isn't working, you should try a new one, a better approach.
  • Pick a second text to compare it with 
    • Think of a story that has the same theme?

***REMEMBER*** The themes in one text will always relate to lots of other text.  That is why they are called themes.  They are Universal.

  • Raymonds Run-Squeaky is like the third pig. She just keeps doing the same thing.  But she finally stops and tries something different, and things start to change.  
  • Now we have something that these 2 texts have in common, let's think of something to contrast.
  • To do that you could think about who the different characters react to the trouble of the text, or if there is anything different about their situation.  
  • The Three Little Pigs is just teaching you that some people are just better than others at dealing with their problems.  
  • Raymond's Run teaches you that you can change who you are and how you deal with life.  That is a better message I think:)


  1. Choose a text and think about its theme(s)
  2. Consider other texts that might carry that same theme, choose one
  3. Think about how the 2 texts are similar and different 
  4. Move back and forth between universal themes and specific examples from each text.

Active Engagement 

  1. Use your short story that you used for you character and theme essay as your first text.  You should know that stories theme.  
  2. Work with your partner to think of another story that also has that theme-anything you have read.
  3. Start comparing and contrasting


You have been building your comparing and contrasting muscles over two days, and now you have arrived at an important moment in your essay writing lives.  You are ready to do the most challenging work you will do in this whole unit.  Your job over the next three days is to write one last essay.  It will be a compare-and-contrast essay. 

Add to Chart
Bold Bullet Points on page 133


(If time pg 136)
Highlight how one student is revising with an eye toward literary language.


Draft your compare and contrast essay.  Tomorrow we will dive into revising your writing using all you have learned, so it will really help if you have a solid first draft written.  You might want to copy "How to write a Compare and contest literary Essay" into your writers notebooks as a reference.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bend 3 Session 13 (Argument)

Session 13: Building the Muscles to Compare and Contrast 

Connection:  I can probably bet you compare movies, singers, dancers, or teams all the time.  Or you might even debate which is better than the other.  Take a second right now and talk with the people around you.  What are two things you could compare, or two things that you could debate about?

After a couple of minutes, have students share.

*One thing I noticed is that when you compare something, you usually compare two kinds of similar things, like two singers or two sports teams or tow drinks...

Today we will learn a bit about a compare-and-contrast essay.  It is a kid of essay that can help you develop really deep ideas about texts.

Today I want to teach you that writers can compare and contrast by putting two subjects side by side and asking, "How are they similar?  How are they different?  Then, they write in an organized way.

Listen as I compare soda and juice. 
(refer to p.121)

What I just did was name a random bunch of comparisons.  It's a good start but I think I can do better.
I have to think more logically than that.

There is a method to comparing and contrasting.
If you want to write an essay that says juice and soda are mostly the same, one way to do it is to take a trait name it and then say how that trait is the same for both items- item A and item B.  Then, you take a second trait-name it- and say how that trait is also the same for both items.

So let's try this method...

Soda and juice are similar in many ways.  They are both liquids you can drink them, and they fill whatever container they are out into.  Also, both soda and juice taste similar.  Both liquids are sweet plus they taste refreshing when one is thirsty.  

Active Engagement:  Compare and contrast the following shirts below.  They belong to the same person.

First, let's focus on how they are different.  Here is a sample compare and contrast essay...

The shirts pictured above are different in many ways.  They are very different in shape.  One is long with long sleeves, while the other is much shorter in length, has short sleeves and a crew neck.  The texture of the shirts is also very different.  One is stiff material and the other has soft material.  Lastly, the shirts serve a different purpose.  One shirt looks more professional, like something you would wear to work.  The other is a T-shirt, something you would wear around the house or to the grocery store. 

Now, focus on the similarities.

But, these shirts are also similar in some ways.  They are the same color.  Both shirts are blue.  They are slow the same size, a small.  And they both have the same owner.  

*One way to write a compare-and-contrast essay is to discuss both similarities and differences-one at a time.  The writer chooses a trait and looks at it across two items, the chooses another trait and looks at that across the two items.

Today you are going to rotate through centers.  Though you won't be writing about literature just yet, you'll have a chance to use your powers of observation for comparing and contrasting, as well as your writing skills.  I've set up pictures of different objects around the room for you to compare and contrast in your writer's notebook.  I'm going to leave our model paragraph up here for you to use today as well, so you can remember how we write about our observations in organized ways.  

Let's look at the following chart of the tips for comparing and contrasting that you hopefully used today.

Homework:  Tonight, find two things in your own life that you would like to compare and contrast and write about them.  You might compare your books or clothes or other items in your house.  You might even compare people or places in your life.