Archive for New Year’s Resolutions

Resolutions: Opposing P.O.V. Journals

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It’s hard to escape the onslaught of reminders that a new year, #2013, should mean adopting new “habits.”  Better habits for our health, personal lives, professional lives.  Ads arrive at my door reminding me that I can get organized via the Container Store, healthy via the NordicTrack and better sleep via the Healthy Back Store.  Retail outlets are desperate to help me.  However…

Winter break feels too short.  Adopting new “habits” too hard and looking ahead January and February seem endless.  Teachers need help without sacrificing mental health and student instruction post winter break.  Instead of enticing you to spend your holiday gift cards, I’m going to spend the month of January posting small things, little things that make a huge difference.  The hope being that you can adopt them easily in order to simplify your teaching life without having to completely revamp.  Make a New Year’s resolution to yourself.  Find more time in your classroom for meaningful instruction that requires less direct instruction from you.

My first resolution for you?  Create an ongoing journal assignment.  This type of journal will practice Common Core and AP English skills.  It will also give you 10 minutes at the beginning of each class to catch your breath while they find their voice.

Start with having them write a 10-minute journal 2-3 times a week.  The best way to get students in the habit of working in a journal is to keep in the room.  Think composition notebook or a cheap spiral.  However, if you are working on the cheap or you want to implement this immediately, simply create lined paper in a Word document (hit the underscore button for eternity) and copy.  Each sheet of paper represents one journal.  If you feel so inclined you can label each sheet.

Journal Type#1: The Art of Argument

Let’s start with my favorite journal.  Students read a short article.  Then, they write an entry that either qualifies the article’s argument or directly opposes it.  This will be a challenge for them since often they agree with the op-ed’s point of view.   Remind them that it helps extend their “range” as writers if they can identify other perspectives and construct response that include those points of view.  Yes, it is difficult.  But it also challenges them too. This type of journal demands they consider other views.    Below are some great articles to help you begin.  If you are pressed for time consider having students read the article outside of class and come prepared to write their challenge or qualification.

Argument Journals-Articles

Weekend Culture: New Year’s Resolutions Day Two

During this time of year and our political climate, many critics and journalists like to construct mock resolutions for our nation’s leaders.  However, the problem with reading these articles lies in the inherent biases of the critic’s perspective.  Yet, this does serve as an excellent opportunity to discuss audience and persona in writing. 

Consider asking students to research various political figures.  This, of course, can easily be modified based on the knowledge-base of your students.  Another alternative is to provide them with profiles from the New York Times, a relatively factual and brief description of each candidate.  Assign each student one Republican presidential candidate to study.  Then ask them to assume the identity and construct a New Year’s resolution for the politician from that perspective.  To do this, students will need to consider what is most important to the politician and how to select words that accurately reflect these beliefs.  Or, if looking for more of a challenge, ask students to consider the counter argument by constructing a New Year’s resolution for a rival candidate or President Obama from the perspective of their assigned politician.  It would be intriguing to see the students consider what Newt Gingrich would select as a New Year’s resolution for Mitt Romney and vice versa.

Ask the students to defend their selection by providing a rationale for their selection and construction.  An activity like this raises awareness about the persona of a writer while still asking them to develop their own argument.

 

 

Weekend Culture: New Year’s Resolutions Day One

Ugh, it’s that time of year again.  A time when I optimistically set goals to make me a better person.  Yet, in roughly two months, I will have lost track of my resolutions and will be back to my old self, someone who is complacently resigning herself to financial debt and eating her feelings. 

However, the start of the new year encourages reflection when setting resolutions and lends itself to academic musing too.  This weekend’s post will provide two types of suggestions:

  1. Analyzing resolutions
  2. Constructing resolutions from various perspectives

Begin the talk of resolutions by asking students to generate a list of what they believe the most popular resolutions are.  This portion could be extended by asking students to determine what they believe are popular for a particular year.  Then, ask them to synthesize the resolutions by asking the following types of questions:

  1. What elements/attitudes link the resolutions?
  2. Why is it significant that these are common resolutions (set only when reflecting on the previous year) and not necessarily a daily affirmation or a lifestyle?
  3. What is revealed about American’s morals and values because of the common resolutions they set? 
  4. If resolutions are rarely met, what is revealed about American’s dedication to these particular areas? 

Finally, ask students to apply their knowledge by suggesting one resolution for the country based on their knowledge of current events and American morals and values.  Their resolution must condense a variety of perspectives and knowledge.  

If wanting to model the AP English Language exam more closely, you could also ask them to generate a list of things that must be considered when establishing a resolution that reflects the current state of America.

Weekend Culture: New Year’s Resolutions Day Two

During this time of year and our political climate, many critics and journalists like to construct mock resolutions for our nation’s leaders.  However, the problem with reading these articles lies in the inherent biases of the critic’s perspective.  Yet, this does serve as an excellent opportunity to discuss audience and persona in writing. 

Consider asking students to research various political figures.  This, of course, can easily be modified based on the knowledge-base of your students.  Another alternative is to provide them with profiles from the New York Times, a relatively factual and brief description of each candidate.  Assign each student one Republican presidential candidate to study.  Then ask them to assume the identity and construct a New Year’s resolution for the politician from that perspective.  To do this, students will need to consider what is most important to the politician and how to select words that accurately reflect these beliefs.  Or, if looking for more of a challenge, ask students to consider the counter argument by constructing a New Year’s resolution for a rival candidate or President Obama from the perspective of their assigned politician.  It would be intriguing to see the students consider what Newt Gingrich would select as a New Year’s resolution for Mitt Romney and vice versa.

Ask the students to defend their selection by providing a rationale for their selection and construction.  An activity like this raises awareness about the persona of a writer while still asking them to develop their own argument.

 

Weekend Culture: New Year’s Resolutions Day Two

During this time of year and our political climate, many critics and journalists like to construct mock resolutions for our nation’s leaders.  However, the problem with reading these articles lies in the inherent biases of the critic’s perspective.  Yet, this does serve as an excellent opportunity to discuss audience and persona in writing. 

Consider asking students to research various political figures.  This, of course, can easily be modified based on the knowledge-base of your students.  Another alternative is to provide them with profiles from the New York Times, a relatively factual and brief discussion of the Republican candidates.  Assign each student one Republican Presidential Candidate to study.  Then ask them to assume the identity and construct a New Year’s resolution for the politician from that perspective.  To do this, students will need to consider what is most important to the politician and how to select words that accurately reflect these beliefs.  Or, if looking for more of a challenge, ask students to consider the counter argument by constructing a New Year’s resolution for a rival candidate or President Obama from the perspective of their assigned politician.  It would be intriguing to see the students consider what Newt Gingrich would select as a New Year’s resolution for Mitt Romney and vice versa.

Ask the students to defend their selection by providing a rationale for their selection and construction.  An activity like this raises awareness about the persona of a writer while still asking them to develop their own argument.