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!