Jared Maynard

Rubric

In this New York Times article, Donadio brings up some interesting points of criticism of Ellie Weisels’s Night. Night is a very popular novel, and one that we have done extensive analysis on, but it does not hide from critical reviews. Critical analysis of a text is always a good thing and something we strive for in this class. It helps to think about the text in different and critical ways. It helps to see the validity in a document and question what it is really telling in a situation. The Holocaust is a topic that more and more people are trying to figure out. It was a horrible event that is hard to comprehend people being a part of. Night does give a great first person narrative of a real-life but does it give us the whole story? Do certain parts of the story try to convey a meaning that deters away from the main point? Are there other parts of the story that promote other meanings that are potentially bad? Or are is this story just not very good or telling? These are some of the questions critics try to answer or critique. Critiques are also important because criticism open’s the public eye to new books. People naturally want to know what is controversial. It can raise public intellect because it gives readers new ways of looking at novels and have them question why certain things are the way they are in a novel. It can also make literature better in the future because if something is not true or not all the way true, authors will do more research and think about criticism before they even start and make the novel richer.

Your task is to either write about the different critiques Donadio talks about in his article or to make a critique of your own. Either way you must create or defend an argument and back it up with relevant details. The point is to inform people of a different perspective that an average person may not exactly catch after one read. If the argument is not backed up with relevant details to support your argument then it probably won’t make much sense and the reader will dismiss it. 2-3 pages should be enough length to get your thoughts out.

Today is Friday and you will have until Monday to turn in a rough draft and will have until next Friday to turn in a final copy. On Monday you will workshop your rough drafts with other students, and then have the rest of the week to finish.

Topics:

  • Does Night fail to create a coherent artistic world out of one which was the deliberate negation of all values?
  • Does Weisel simply just “pour salt” on the Jewish wounds and not let them heal?
  • Does Weisel promote “peace and human dignity” with this novel? (What he won the Nobel Prize for)
  • Is Weisel too “universal” with his writing? Should he include more details about what happened?
  • Do you think Weisel is just looking for press and wrote the story for publicity?
  • Or write about something else you found odd or in need of criticism.

Your papers will be graded on:

A B C D
Thesis/Argument The argument is grounded with sufficient details and makes sense There are some good details to back up a relatively good argument The argument is not supported with good details The argument makes no sense
Paragraph Structure Each paragraph details a specific example of the argument and explains it clearly Each paragraph details an example of the argument and Paragraphs are fuzzy and seem to just be thrown in there No structure at all
Cohesiveness Flows easily and is well organized Flows somewhat well an has some degree of organization Scattered, unorganized Didn’t even try to write much at all
Grammar Less than 1 or 2 grammar mistakes Less than 1 or 2 grammar mistakes but a couple spelling errors Enough grammar errors to distract the reader Too many grammar errors

This assignment will be done somewhat towards the end of the year in an 11th grade classroom. It is part of Unit 11.5 which is called, “The DNA of Survival”. As a reader I want them to learn about the depths of human tragedy and how people survive horrific events. I want them to read and find out what sacrifices of everyday life people have to give up. I want them to learn how to be open-minded when reading and apply the experiences to their lives.

As writers I want them to pay attention to specific events and analyze them. The point of this writing assignment is to think of the story and what makes it work and what does not make it work. This essay is to make them pick apart the novel and to create, come up with, argue against, or argue for an argument.

For the GLECS it fits under Unit 11.5 under Literacy Criticism. It involves critical reading of the text to find aspects to argue for. It also makes the students write a persuasive essay finding supporting evidence to back up the argument.

In the broad sense of the curriculum, this will be the final assignment before reading Maus. It will give them experience of looking at critiques of texts and experience in persuasive essays and critiques. After reading Maus they will do a comparative essay of the two survival novels.

After reading, “The Hit Man”, think about the main character not in just terms of what happened in the story, but who this character is. Think about, based off the story, what the main character would be in to, their passions, the things that make them tick. Try to answer all the questions and use the question guide and answer the questions as detailed as you can. After each question is answered write a character sketch. A character sketch highlights several important characteristics or personality traits of a person. This will help you know the character as if they were a real person and not just a character in a story.

An important aspect of this writing assignment is to not just provide a summary, or even just list the answers you wrote on the answer sheet. The point is to provide a sketch for what this character is. When someone reads this paper they should feel as though they know who the character is before they read the story. For starters to help out, you can first write about someone you know as an example. You could fill out the questions about that person and then think about how you would describe them in a sketch-like format.

I want you to read the story, and then re-read it as many times as you need to pick out all the essential parts of the character so you feel as though you know them.

It may be challenging to take single and seemingly unrelated sentences to make a sketch but think of it as describing one of your friends. Use transition sentences that make the paper flow from one topic to the next. Employ sentence variety too, not every sentence should start with, “This person’s favorite thing is… or They like to do this….”. Use clear and concise sentences and use relevant evidence from the text to answer your questionnaire. For instance, put in an example of why you put down your answer for the question.

Each character sketch will be graded on the following:

On track! Getting There… Needs more attention… At least try!
Questionnaire completion At least 15 questions answered 10 questions answered 5 questions answered Less than 5 answered
Effective use of transitions Feels as though someone just didn’t copy their answers into written form. Reads like they are getting to know someone. Close to the on track but there are few instances of sentences that don’t connect. Reads as a list with little attempt to transition Is just like a list
Cohesiveness and structure Flows easily and is well organized Flows somewhat well an has some degree of organization Scattered, unorganized Didn’t even try to write much at all
Use of relevant details Each detail of the character is carefully distinguished and makes sense There are some details as to why the character is like how they are Not many details, some random explanations No details at all
Grammar Not many grammar mistakes A few mistakes A lot of mistakes I can’t read it
Length At least a page long Not enough details to make a half page but there’s some there Not much at all Nothing

I envisioned having students start this around the very start of their high school lives, probably in the first week or two of the class. This story can be used in a bullying sense and give appreciation to other characters and how they are influenced by their surroundings. In model 9.1 there is an emphasis on how to approach reading a short story. I chose The Hitman because it is very short and it is a story with headings on top of each paragraph or two highlighting the stage of life the character is in. It can be a relatively easy introduction to this topic, while at the same time giving them some ideas to think about within the text involving bullying, individuality, morality, and characterization.

As a reader I want my students to make connections to themselves. I want them to see what this character finds valuable in their life and how he got to that point. The character sketch is supposed to have them dig deeper and put the character in relatable terms. Terms that many people share but may not be highlighted in the text. I want the readers to see the progression of this man and how the headings enhance the story. In the process they should analyze the character and how the plot, setting, conflicts, and any other aspect influence the character. Everything in this story is in there for a reason and it chronicles someone from their childhood to adulthood. All of these processes emphasize the character.

As a writer I want them to see how the headings fit and see how it fits. I want them to analyze how well this shows this man’s progression through life and if it could work any other way. As a writer for this assignment I want them to dig deeper in the details of what the author has shared with the audience and write about who this character is. They should be able, with the questions to find a relatable stance on what makes this character and why they are the way they are. In the actual character sketch I want them to practice sentence variety and creating transitions. This is important because making something narrative from a questionnaire or bullet points can be an important writing task. The clear and concise sentences are to practice this style of writing for later in their high school career as well as for college.

The biggest thing I want my students to learn fit in the 9th grade expectations in section 9.1. Character development and basically characterization (under Narrative Text) are the keys and along the way they’ll take into consideration the plot, setting, and the conflicts in order to fill out this sketch (Under Genre Studies). In the process they have to read to know understand the story and the questionnaire should help them think about and analyze the main character (Under Reading, Listening/viewing strategies and activities). I think this assignment fits into several overarching goals of the 9th grade curriculum. It helps to understand and practice writing as a recursive process. They have to draft a paper and write often which works on fluency (1.1). It definitely helps with using writing for understanding and growth. The whole point of the assignment is to learn and understand the main character of this story (1.2). It also allows the students to communicate in writing using content, form, voice, and style appropriate to the audience and purpose (1.3). The purpose of this assignment is to give an analysis of what this character is like in different situations where if someone read the sketch, then the story would make perfect sense. In the process the students would be gathering and studying evidence from the story to answer the questionnaire (1.4) which helps them draw conclusions and make a sort of report. The overall arching unit is about identity and looking at other people’s identities and finding and realizing the similarities and differences. For model unit 9.1 I think the main purpose is to introduce the students to the standards of good writing and to expose them to stories like The Gift of the Maji, to give them a feel for identity and short story writing.

The students will make one draft, share with a partner and then turn in a final copy the next day (since it is a short assignment).

These are some of the standards I found, but in a scattered form

9.1, Genre studies. Plot, setting, conflict, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, mood tone style

Literary Devices: narration/point of view

Reading, Listening/viewing strategies and activities: Read first to understand, then analyze, summarize information,

Narrative Text: examine characterization, self assess

Writing Stratgies: employ sentence variety, use transitions effectively, use clear and concise languages.

What have we accomplished today? Not much that I can see, well kind of now that I look at it. Still, the whole day was kind of disappointing to me. We did get a couple of things done that I am okay with. We decided to look at standards, do a writing assignment, and spend the last day sharing our writing as a class. Most of this is good. I like sharing what I have written this semester because this is the first time I have really started to write creatively. Most of this is because of my creative writing class and deciding to have an English minor last summer. I liked that I have learned to write creatively, and even write in general something that wasn’t a history or political science paper. It allowed me to be myself, it allowed me to want to think creatively in writing, and through some of the literature I’ve read it has given me some cool ways to show my social studies class the horrors of the Civil War (Shiloh anyone?)

I like the writing assignment that we have decided to do because it kills a couple birds with one stone: it gives us some sort of final assessment for the end of the year (and doesn’t give us a real final exam) and it teaches us how to assess writing ourselves while trying to learn the GLECs. First and foremost those are the things that we need to learn about and have practice in. I really didn’t think we could get by the rest of this semester and not do anything. To me this is a slam-dunk and something that will be very useful to us for the rest of the semester and the beginning of our teaching lives. It seemed to take forever to finally get to that decision but it was made none the less and the language of the first proposal of the same thing was finally cleared up.

The process of figuring out the rest of our semester with the “Roberts Rules” seemed to be a bit chaotic for me. I certainly understand giving people power to second a motion and having people discuss the topic and then do a vote. However, it seemed that a lot of things we talked about, motioned, seconded, and spent a great deal talking about really seemed to distract what was proposed in the first place. In my opinion, instead of randomly yelling out something that we wanted to do, I thought we should have gone down the list of proposals and see how they related and talk about the overall issue. I think a lot more would have been done. Obviously the hot-button topics were learning the standards (along with figuring out how to plan around them and make a yearlong syllabus), learning some assessment strategies, and figuring out what should be due on the last day and what we should do on the last day. It just seemed like someone would bring up some sort of vague request that needed more attention and brought more questioning that wasted time trying to figure out what is right for our semester. Part of me ranting is a little bit of me expressing a fault of mine which is not being able to move fast enough with all the different topics. I tend to think hard about what someone previously said and then when new topics come up I try to completely think and understand that. To me it just seemed that a lot of the tangents took away from the overall picture of trying to figure out what is best for us for the rest of the semester.

For the most part I may be suffering from, “Well no one agrees with my exact syllabus of I came up with and how people should believe what I believe-itus” or some run on sentence I’m trying to come up with to be witty but it’s true. I wanted to look at standards, figure out a writing assignment and do something fun the last day. We got that part somewhat figured out. What we didn’t agree on, for some God-forsaken reason I can’t seem to fathom, is voting down writing questions to teachers and have it videotaped. WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I am completely dumbfounded that a motion like this was so overlooked and called for a vote so fast. The only reason I thought it could be a vote was because it seemed like such an obvious activity for us to exercise and learn from. I for one am going to be student assisting next semester and so are others. How would it not be a good or even great idea to communicate with REAL- LIFE secondary English teachers before we enter the game? It gives us a pretty easy way to talk to teachers about a number of things: GLECs, how they deal with them, strategies they use in the classroom, how they like to plan for classes, how they do lesson plans, how to handle poetry, how to handle any other forms of assessment, their teaching philosophy, the research they do, how they handle parents, what they do with their free time, when is their free time, how long it took to get comfortable with themselves in the classroom, learn about the lifestyle they lead in order to be better teachers, what they do when things go wrong, right, or nothing at all, learning how far in advance they plan classes, how influenced they are by technology, what gets them in trouble with administration and/or parents, what kind of leniency they are allowed in the classroom, what kind of reading schedule do they have outside the classroom, see if they have a life at all, figure out the little things to do right in the classroom….. basically we could ask secondary  teachers ANYTHING we wanted to help us in the future and have it all on tape (by Dr. Ellis’ own suggestion which is fantastic she has that ability) and over half the class says no. I think it’s absolutely ludicrous this opportunity could be lost, and wish I knew of a way after the vote to say something about it. That is why I left with an uneasiness in my stomach and don’t feel as though things went right and I believe we need more time to discuss what needs to be done. Most congressional roundtable talks don’t last just 45 minutes (I know as a class that’s all we have and this is my idealistic rant) but that’s my opinion. I feel we lost a great opportunity to tap into teacher’s knowledge of what they are doing in a secondary classroom today.

There have been a lot of interesting suggestions of how we should spend the rest of our semester. The overriding consensus, it seems, is that we need to spend our time figuring out a combination of three things that are interrelated. The first is knowing and figuring out the Michigan Content Standards (AKA GLECs), figuring out exactly how a year long syllabus would work, and also trying out our own assignments for goals of understanding what works and how this will help students learn. Matt Phelps also very convincingly proposed watching a movie about how a teacher handled a group of misfits and then turning them into good writers. We have all given great reasons for what we want to learn, and together this may all work.

The winner of the, “What should we learn sweepstakes”, is a combination of learning the standards of Michigan and conducting a year long syllabus. I personally think that is a great way to finish the year. A lot of us, including myself, will be student assisting and student teaching next year, and I think learning this bit of information will enhance our learning and comprehension of some basic things teachers have to deal with every single day. As Sara Kiel and Stephen Foutz allude to, this is how teachers will be assessed and keeps their jobs. If we as teachers do not follow the standards we will not have a job. It would be great to learn this task in class without being evaluated by administrators, principals, and other teachers. While many of us have talked about standards and the importance of them, I think Rebekka Olson gives a good example of what we should do as a class. She says we should spend time getting to know the general standards, do a workshop for a syllabus, turn in a draft to look at, and then turn it in and write about the process for the exam. Knowing the content standards does coincide with conducting a year long syllabus.

However, I would suspect that writing a yearlong syllabus during the end of the semester seems like a heavy heavy responsibility. Just from prior experience of writing a two-week unit plan, it takes TIME. Luckily, I took a lot of time in the couple weeks prior to work on it, but just for a two week plan it takes a lot of time, effort, research, and thinking just to get a good presentable draft. Melissa Anderson has a good idea of tapping into our teacher’s knowledge about this type of experience. I am sure that planning an entire years worth of instruction takes weeks of planning. I’m not sure if we could really do that. What I think we should do is spend a day tapping into the teacher’s knowledge and have her give us mentor texts and instruction of how one would begin to think and fill out a one year and discuss as a class how that would work. I am all for trying one out for ourselves and turning it in, but I am not sure how long that would take. Therefore discussing how it is done and keying in on the instructor’s knowledge is a good bet for what this class is trying to accomplish.

Another important topic mentioned is the need to learn how to assess papers as well as trying out activities on our own. Dan Slane brought up some interesting points about the need for assessment. One important aspect of this profession is our busy work grading the assignments we give. If we do not take into account the work that is needed and the strategies to correct papers, we may be in a longer couple years than expected. He also gives a great reason for doing this, “need to understand assessment as a form of instruction instead of a fruititive act by the teacher after instruction ends”. This is a very interesting concept to think about and to incorporate in our classrooms. If we can do as Dan suggests and look at case studies to show that assessment is not just a final thing and something that happens throughout the entire process, the students should be in better shape. We can get at this by perhaps grading our own writing for practice in grading papers, and looking at studies showing how to continually assess students without it being something done at the end.

In class it was discussed that we should try out some assignments in class. Melanie Rabine thinks that doing this will help in deciding what assignments work and which will not. It gives us a chance to play teacher and make us prepared for what could work and what could not.

Finally Matt Phelps idea to watch “Freedom Writers” is a good idea that was backed up tremendously with great persuasion. Remember WWSD and that she is a TWO time Academy Award winner. Also there’s that guy from Grey’s Anatomy, who my girlfriend just referenced as, “McDreamy”. So it must be a good movie. This could be an entertaining way to end the semester while also keeping in mind the issues at hand as we become teachers of writing.

In conclusion this is my syllabus (I’m still not exactly sure how to make them so here is something really general) for the last four class periods marked “TBD” on the ENG 310 syllabus.

4/6 -Tap into Dr. Ellis’ knowledge of how to conduct a yearlong syllabus

-Look at the GLECs

4/8 -Discuss the GLECs as a class, and take different parts of the standards and discuss how they can be achieved

-Assign a project where we have to do a certain number of lesson plans to achieve a certain number of standards (DUE exam day)

-Read some case studies about assessment and the things Dan Slane talked about

4/13 -Discuss the readings in class

-Grade some student papers, and classmates papers while trying to key in on how they contribute to the standards of the state

4/15 -Look through our old lesson plans and do some selected activities in class
4/20 -Continue doing selected activities and discuss how they work

-Begin Freedom Writers

4/22 Watch Freedom Writers

Ashley Gwinn

Proposal: Conduction of a yearlong syllabus

Reasons:

  • Help us to diagram our year so that we know which examples we need to make, and it will teach us a vital piece of writing that all teachers need to know how to do.
  • to think about the long term, and plan how to incorporate the ideas that we have learned thus far
  • shows us how to handle everything in a semester

What to do:

Day One: sampling of example syllabi, and break into small groups (each with a syllabus) and make a collaborative list of the components of the syllabus that we would like to mimic.

Day Two: study the Michigan educational requirements for secondary education in our majors, discussion about how to pace our class to meet all of these, and to accomplish our goals

Exam:  polished draft of our potential syllabi, and then present those syllabi to one another so that everyone’s great ideas can be shared and learned from

Final at the end thingy: Wouldn’t it be great if we had a leg up on the other beginning teachers, if we could take one more thing off of our worry list, and if we could enter the doors of our new place of work feeling prepared?

Daniel Slane

Proposal: further reconciling assessment with encouragement and instruction

Reasons:

  • need to understand assessment as a form of instruction instead of a fruititive act by the teacher after instruction ends
    • further research, reading case studies of those teacher researchers that focus their attention on assessment
    • We need to try grading on actual student papers
    • Assign letter grades
    • Grade our own papers

Desiree Brown

Proposal: Need to do more with lesson plans and get the whole picture

Reasons:

  • learn how to map out a whole year of writing instruction
    • This would help us all to see how our one lesson plan fits into the bigger picture; were and when it should be taught
    • look at the Michigan GLECs and some district course guides
      • would have a basic idea of what is expected, both by the state and by individual districts
      • Discuss time management

Jacob McDougall

Proposal: need to be able to read, interpret, discuss, formulate their own ideas, then to write them out with clarity

Ways:

  • look at our GLICEs and expectations of different districts and perhaps even go through a set of curriculum brainstorming and hashing out ways to effectively reach our students
  • Have our final exam be a short essay that expresses our most important value
  • Take action, not talk things to death

Jamie Linari

Proposal: Look at the big picture

Ways:

  • Look at yearlong plans
  • Look at standards

Kaitlynn Hill

Proposal: Focus on creative individualist writing

Ways:

  • have diverse writing assignments that make us better writers
  • write a personal essay about something that we are interested in
  • make it a completion grade
  • no exam

Katie Reilly

Proposal: Need to see the whole picture

Ways:

  • form a class plan, we will be able to look at activities presented in the readings and class more closely and two we can see where the activities and lessons fit together in a classroom

It’s a lengthy project but will get everybody together to struggle and put in ideas for a year long plan

Kelly Gordon

Proposal: explore how one creates a curriculum map for the year

  • Look at a 7th grade year
  • Do a revision session
  • Revisit our blog through works of dialogue
  • Post important literacy ideas
  • Finalize our classroom community

Kendra Woody
Proposal: Get an actual lesson plan and see how it would be used in the classroom and see how they meet the standards

  • Have our teacher guide her knowledge and experience for us to learn

Kyristal Olson

Proposals: Keep journal writing, free write, create and try out assignments

Kyra Harris

Proposal: Making writing fun

Ways:

  • Emotional writing topics
  • Discussion of English topics, and what makes a good writer
  • Small and large group activities build community

Matt Phelps

Proposal: Watch Freedom Writers

Reasons:

  • It will inspire us
  • It has the guy from Grey’s Anatomy
  • It has a two time academy award winner
  • It will teach us some of the worst case possible stuff that can happen in a classroom

Melanie Rabine

Proposal: practicing good teaching methods to prepare ourselves to be more confident

Reasons

  • activities and assignments with response give us some insight on what works
  • what type of writing do we want to teach and focus on
  • practice this type of writing
  • play teacher
  • prepare for the actual classroom

Melissa Anderson

Proposal: tackle a multi-cultural project, ideas for an entire year syllabus, GLECs, tap into teacher’s knowledge of what works and her experiences

Guiding question and timed writing for exam

Mike Coon

Proposal: foundation of writing instruction

Also issues in what is appropriate for what grade level, and doing an entire year of instruction

Ways to resolve:

  • Dive more deeply with Inside Out and relate it to uses in the classroom
  • Find best foundation of writing
  • Decide what grade fits which topics
  • Year long syllabus

Nicholas Assaf

Proposal: Grading secondary assignments

  • Assessment along with standards helps us grade
  • Complete writing project

Nicole Baniukaitis

Proposal: find conducive approaches to teaching writing

Ways

  • Continue writing prompts
  • Figure out the fluency of grammar instruction in lesson plans
  • Figure out what the vast array of writing options and learning how to teach the students the skills needed to be a good writer in anything

Nicole Bronkema

Proposal: introduce mentor texts and know importance of practicing, thinking, basically the stuff in the syllabus.

Rebekka Olson

Proposal: Year long lesson plan

(we never do ones longer than a couple weeks or so)

How to do this:

  1. Know general standards
  2. workshop for syllabus
  3. turn in a draft to be looked at
  4. turn in and write about the process

Robert Coffey

Proposal: Learn the GLECs

Figure out what they are

Ross Daniels

Proposal: new syllabus of sacred writing time, focus on writing activities, exam be one of our projects

Sara Kiel

Proposal: STANDARDS

  • Provide context
  • We lose our job if it we don’t follow them
  • Defends classroom activities
  • Grade papers according to standards

Sara Vruggink

Proposal: year long plan

  • How do you make them, and the process of it
  • How do you synthesize everything we learn for our future students?

Sarah Ponce

Position: Ways to teach everybody and challenge students at the same time. Figure out and perhaps debate what strategies we can use to put our knowledge to the test.

Sean Haak

Proposal: Michigan Content Standards, Writing across curriculums, learn to keep writing fresh

Stephen Foutz

Proposal: STANDARDS, what are they, how do we follow them?

Organizing and planning is something that I have heard is a major aspect of being a good teacher. Not only is it a major aspect of being a good teacher, but it is something that is probably the bare minimum of what it means to be a good teacher. Having poor skills in these areas seems like a death trap for young teachers who would like to keep their jobs and their sanity.

Unit planning is an enormous responsibility for teachers to do well and follow. Not only do teachers have to plan every single day, but they have to plan units as well as the entire year. All of which involve a lot of time, organization, and planning. If our class tackles these issues and is given advice and instruction of how to plan a trimester, semester, or even an entire year, I think it will give us a good start going into or semester of student assisting and student teaching.

So far in this class, ENG 311 with Dr. Rozema, and in my SST 310 (Strategies for Social Studies Teachers) class, we have all dealt with lesson plans, and different theories of how a classroom should be taught. In ENG 311 we made about two weeks worth of lesson plans of a specific unit we wanted to teach. Our topics were basically whatever we wanted to teach through literature. In this class we did a weeks worth of lesson plans about a certain writing style and how we can teach it in an English class. The three were poetry, literature writing, and essays. In my SST 310 class we took four different lesson plans from economics, government, world, and American history and taught one lesson plan in front of the class. Not one of them really had us practice a large block of classes.  We all know the issue of time, and the stress of following the Michigan Content Standards. Since Dr. Ellis has experience with all of these areas I think some of her advice, readings, activities, etc. could greatly benefit anyone in class. In all honesty I have no clue how I would even start planning out an entire year.

One of the things I think we could tackle is actually looking at the content standards for a certain grade in the secondary level, and have us learn the steps it takes to try and conquer all of these goals. I know that is a stressful thing to try and do. Dr. Rozema had an old student of his come to our class that used to teach in California, and she told us about her experiences with content standards. She said that in California they had to follow the content standards very strictly to the point of having to write the content standard on the board every morning for any school official to see throughout the day. One debate we could have in class is how to adhere to the standards of the state and country, while trying to promote books and issues that aren’t necessarily in the statewide curriculum but could bring out teachable moments in students. I think this is an issue many of us will have to deal with for the rest of our teaching careers, and having a teacher that has been through this can be a big benefit for everybody in class.

When we, future teachers, start our assisting and actual teaching I think we can benefit by learning how to plan and more specifically when to plan. Should our planning start the summer before we teach, or is it a week by week or month by month basis? Another thing that should be addressed is what to do when a teacher’s plan does not go to plan. What is the process for teachers when something they planned for twenty minutes lasts ten minutes or when something they plan for a week takes multiple weeks? These are all issues with organization and planning that I think will be very beneficial for our class to learn these last few weeks of class. Learning how to plan for an entire month, year, etc. and how to adhere to the content standards are some of the biggest issues I think we will face once we are in the teaching world.

“Reflecting on the importance an apprenticeship plays in the learning process reminds me of what the writer Ann Berthoff once said: ‘We aren’t born knowing how to write, but we are born knowing how to know how.'”

Kelly Gallagher, for the last twenty-one years, has written two other books about the importance of adolescent writing and the demands of literacy. He talks about the vast importance of writing in the classroom and his experiences of how to improve writing instruction. In particular, chapters 3 focuses on the teacher as a writing model and chapter 4 focuses on real world models of writing.

Gallagher begins by showing the importance of the teacher being able to write with the students. He believes that the reason many students don’t like to get started with writing is because teachers don’t actively write and if they do are experts at hiding the work it takes to write well (49). Students need to know that they are not alone in the writing process and they need to know that every writer goes through the same uneasiness of writing.

The importance of showing first drafts is great because it shows students that it doesn’t require a “one and done” type attitude. Many students think that the first draft is the only draft that needs to be done. Through showing students the process of editing and crafting a good piece of writing, the students will learn. He believes grading should be done differently for this process and first drafts shouldn’t be graded. Teachers should also be more of coaches at first until the final result. Teachers should also preach students to talk their paper out with others as well as have a model to help them out with the process. He also preaches how if students have a choice in what they write then they will write better. If this is done successfully, the rewards for writing should be large with its benefits for students in the future.

Gallagher also talks about the importance of editing with a strategy he likes to call, “Pimp My Write”. In this activity, students add to their writing to make it more rich. The process of substituting, taking things out, adding, and rearranging (STAR) is the method he uses to help edit and make a piece more rich. He emphasizes other points of revision which involve branching a sentence (putting in a word in the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence to enrich it), finding synonyms for common words, and limiting dead words (finding more exciting ways to replace very commonly used words and passive words). Changing content, creating a question flood, reorganization, and finding voice is a way for deeper revision.

In chapter 4 he argues the importance of reading. In an experiment he found that most of the “well written” papers in his class were avid readers. He believes reading along with intensive hands-on writing instruction creates better writing. Movie reviews, magazines, newspapers, and other common modes of writing should be used as other sources of mentor texts for students to use when writing.

Gallaghers suggestions for teaching writing obviously show that the man is passionate about his field. This book is sectioned off very nicely for an easy read with some controversy, as well as incites to the world of writing at the secondary level.

Sentence stalking: “If an EHM is completely successful, the loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years.”

In this sentence it shows the way “its” does not have an apostrophe. “It” is a word that does not show possession of “payments.” It is perfectly logical but in this way it does not show possession, it show’s a contraction of “it is.” Pronouns, names, and objects can show possession with an apostrophe.

http://www.mostlyfiction.com/adventure/perkins.htm