Students will maintain a weekly mindfulness portfolio. Every Monday students will receive time in class to complete their entry for the week. It is very important that students use their time wisely so as not to have homework. All mindfulness portfolios will be stored in the classroom unless a student has homework.
Bell Ringer Journal
Students will have 8-10 minutes at the beginning of class to complete their journal entry for the day. They should fill up the entire section for the best results. Each entry will be followed up with a class discussion. It is imperative that students get to class ON TIME to begin their bell ringer journal. Students who miss this time will have to do their journal for homework.
Students will create writers' notebooks and participate in writers' workshop. Writers' workshop provides students with opportunities to improve their writing through detailed instruction, explanation, examples, student models, and activities.
Units of Study: A Brief Overview
The following units of study are not only aligned to the Common Core State Standards, but also across grade levels.
Students will dissect a constructed prompt and examine evidence to develop a debatable claim. They will research and locate multiple evidence types to support their argument, including two pieces of evidence from a secondary source. They will draft a claim, evidence, and commentary, as well as experiment to find the most effective structure for their paragraph, and craft transitions within and between sentences to improve logic and flow.
After analyzing a text, students will develop an argument demonstrating a relationship between the analyzed text's theme and its character development. Students will discover this argument through oral and written responses that push the students to elaborate on their analysis in order to create a claim that can be presented. Students will explore the author’s intent and character development by selecting multiple types of evidence (quotes, word choice, literary devices) throughout the text in order to support their claims. Students will also study mentor essays to review how to present evidence with explanation and clarification to create a cohesive argument. They will utilize literary essay elements (introduction, with thesis, body paragraphs, and concluding statements) with a focus on maintaining formal style and using varied transitions.
Students will compare and contrast two different perspectives on a critical issue by conveying ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. They will brainstorm critical issues that are characterized by contrasting perspectives and are of significant interest to them. They will record prior knowledge about these critical issues, perform directed exploration through research, and make a final decision about their essay topic. Students will develop research questions about their critical issue and perform research to help them develop a central idea, which they will use to group relevant details, quotations, examples, and other information into categories. Students will then write a first draft using one of two comparison/contrast organizational structures, analyze information to explain the differences between the chosen perspectives, and transition between sentences and paragraphs. They will conclude with a paragraph that summarizes their findings and explains to the reader why this is important information and what the future of the debate might involve.
Writing an Argument
Students will think abstractly about societal issues and the concrete problems these issues generate. After brainstorming about issues and their associated problems, students will select the most viable topic that interests them and perform Web research to become experts on their issue to develop a strong stance. They will collect evidence that supports their stance in order to craft a newspaper op-ed piece that targets a specific audience and attempts to persuade them to understand the issue from a particular perspective and take action. Students will draft and rewrite to find the best structure for their op-ed after studying mentor texts to understand the conventions of editorial/op-ed writing. They will contemplate the concept of counter argument and include one in their piece and refute it to strengthen their argument
Major Writing Projects
1. Research Paper (information will be sent home in October)
2. Graduation Binder/Writing Portfolio (completed at school)