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Sunday, May 20, 2012


So it's summer break and time to pull back and reflect—but also reload. Put another way, it's time to think deeply about the experiences I've just had, so I can prepare for my classes in the fall. As a heuristic, an opening salvo, I've decided to pull my old UbD workbook off the shelf and see if it can't help me "backward design." So here is my "first thought, best thought" attempt.

Mr. Zeiger's ENGLISH COMPOSITION 101 class.

Established Goals. Students learn how to write essays based on comprehension and analysis of texts. (See also: DCC's First-Year English Syallbus, WPA Outcome Statement).
Enduring Understanding. Quality writing is—above all else—persuasive.
Essential Questions. What are the main qualities that make writing persuasive? How can we elevate our own persuasive-writing skills?
Knowledge and Skills. Close reading, academic conversing, quality writing. By that I mean,

Students can use the following close reading strategies
  • summary statements 
  • question statements 
  • prediction statements 
  • critical statements 
  • reader response statements
Students can throughtfully discuss writing with their peers using the following core traits: 
  • Elaborate and clarify 
  • Support with ideas and examples 
  • Build on and/or challenge a partner's idea 
  • Paraphrase 
  • Synthesize conversation points 
Students can compose writing that
  • is sonically appealing 
  • exploratory 
  • purposeful 
  • critical 
  • uses clear sentence structure 
  • improves with revision 

OK, so that's a start. Later this week, I want to explain what I mean by persuasive writing—and why I value it so dearly. I also want to delve into the importance of "sonically appealing" prose.


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