SWBAT ID elements of a topic sentence and write their own.
I spent 2 hours of my Saturday and 6 of my Sunday grading my 200-odd paragraphs that I was bright enough to assign all my classes to write on Friday. Next time I will learn to stagger my writing assignments, especially as they get longer. I was confined by the necessity of turning in three week progress report grades Tuesday by noon, but I do not want to cram so much essay grading into another weekend. My poor husband tried to be supportive, and I appreciate it, but the weekend rather worked the way it might work if I was deathly ill: he waited on me hand and foot in hopes that it might speed the grading process, bringing me food, drink, tissues, and blankets, while cleaning the kitchen, taking out the trash, doing laundry, and grocery shopping for me. I think grading is bad for relationships. This is my conclusion.
Anyway, I walked into this week completely unprepared, but Monday somehow worked out on its own. While overall my kids wrote decent paragraphs, I kept a running list of the things that kept cropping up in their papers. I put them into an outlined note form, and Monday we spent an entire 53 minutes on grammar and advanced writing techniques. While that may sound like the worst Monday ever, my students actually did pretty well. They enjoyed brainstorming examples for my pet peeve on informal language (just because a word is in the dictionary doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for an academic paper – “ain’t” “butt-dial”, “WTF” are all in Webster’s but I probably will circle them on an essay). We filled out a pronoun table, which apparently they had never seen before, in preparation for learning about antecedents, and why it’s rude to leave pronouns hanging in a topic sentence without an antecedent noun. (TANGENT: we learned why the band Lady Antebellum and the word antecedent are related, woot woot Latin roots!) We saw example topic sentences kids actually wrote, such as “He wanted him to visit her because she was dying.” Say WHAT? Or another student wrote an entire 5-sentence paragraph about Jem losing his pants without ever using the word “pants.” I think just about everyone learned something yesterday…including me. When I tried to explain why “y’all” was only a grammatically correct form of the second person plural pronoun south of the Mason-Dixon line, a student asked – and was seconded – “What’s the Mason-Dixon line?” I realize Texas wasn’t overly involved in the American Civil War, but that question just about made me fall over.
At the beginning of his period, my whistler from Friday came to my desk and said, “Mrs. H, I apologize for disrupting class on Friday. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” He looked so sincere I accepted his apology, and then promptly felt guilty for docking him points for only completing one paragraph (everyone else wrote two – I was convinced it was because he was not focusing). I think he is a good kid; the whistling thing actually sounds like something we’d test in one of my college sociology classes, but I didn’t tell him that…