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Monday, February 17, 2014

February Vacation!

Well, it took a long time for me to get back to blogging, but here I am.

There are a lot of teaching ideas on my mind during this vacation.  While so much of the year is over, there's still a lot of time left for progress.  And only 16 schools days left until MCAS (March 18)!  I teach four classes of tenth grade, so it's always on my mind.  We're going to finish strong with Antigone and The Catcher in the Rye!



Three topics I am thinking of: 1) close reading (since I am presenting at MRA in April), 2) class participation/discussion (one of my SMART goals for ed. eval), and 3) modeling writing.  Let's take the last topic first.

I am always playing with the best way to present writing assignments: rubric, model, pre-write, drafting, revising, real-world relevance, structure, etc.  What do students have to know to get started?  At my current placement, I always provide a model, but that is backfiring on me because my students tend to copy the model word for word.

Seriously.  They copy everything on the model--if I wrote seven paragraphs, they write seven paragraphs.  If I underline ten vocabulary words within my model, they do the same thing (twisting their content to meet the words I picked).  My intro and conclusion sound exactly like theirs.

I am working on what to do about this problem.  Do I stress that their paper does not have to look exactly like mine?  Do I give points on the rubric for writing "outside the box"?  Do I avoid providing a model at all?

So, this is a problem I am working on.  And now I am off to read dozens of papers that sound exactly like mine . . .

I'll get back to the others topics later this week!