Students will be able to write a clear thesis statement in response to a visual writing prompt.
About 2/3 of my students need to retake the English writing portion of their freshman standardized test, so this week and the next few weeks are focusing on hitting all aspects of that test, especially expository writing. Many of them retook it at least once already, to no avail, and since the chances of passing the sophomore test when they haven’t passed the freshman test are slim, I don’t want them to not move forward to junior year or worse, enter junior year having to retake both their freshman and sophomore English tests. If they failed the English test there’s a good chance they failed one of their other subject areas too, so my kiddos get pulled from their extracurricular to receive extra tutoring for those subjects. The idea of spending even MORE time in remedial English does not inspire them with the will to work. My challenge is to somehow remind them how to write literary essays, teach them how to write expository essays, cram in revising & editing skills in the next two and a half weeks, and keep them on track. I am not excited at the idea of teaching all that, how could they possibly be excited about learning it?
Thankfully I picked up a few tips at my writing workshop earlier this week, including a few neat websites. Today I pulled the website teachhub.com which has links for video writing prompts. I pulled one with a clip from the making of Toy Story 3, with the following writing prompt:
Think about how girls and boys choose their toys. Do you think that children gravitating toward traditional toys for their gender is the children’s choice or a result of how little boys and girls are treated differently?
Write an essay explaining whether or not gender-specific toys demonstrate how little boys and girls are treated.
We had an awesome group brainstorm and modeled how to restructure the prompt into a thesis statement with our own thoughts included. As someone with a sociology degree, I got a real kick out of their thoughts on gender roles and how toys demonstrate or affect those views. Many got really into the discussion; I look forward to reading their essays on Monday. At least, those that finish it. I don’t assign homework often, and almost never over the weekend, so we’ll see how many I actually get back…next week will have two days with an early release on Wednesday, so I’ll have to get even more creative if I’m going to keep their attention…and mine 🙂 Can’t wait for a few days off for Thanksgiving!