Tag Archive for Persuasive Writing

Week in Review: Good Magazine

           Friday Dialogue from                What does Emily say?

                                      Your Two Favorite Educators 

As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to analyze the nature of what truly is good.  Angelina Jolie or Parks and Rec?  

1.  Is it difficult to teach students to be global citizens?

Emily:  I think you are correct in your post this week when you say that we expect a lot out of students.  I know I was not even remotely as globally aware What does Emily say?as the students are now.  However, I think there is also something to be said for the relatively quiet period in which I grew up.  The only major thing that happened when I was growing up was the Gulf War.  Then, a bit later, was the Bill Clinton scandal, which, let’s be honest, most adults didn’t even fully understand at the time because of the semantic firestorm.  Maybe it is also because I was raised in a Republican household (go Mitt!).  Also, technology has made knowledge so much more accessible and relevant to students.  One of my favorite things this week was having students tell me they were reading tweets while watching the State of the Union….yeah, that’s a good sign for education!

Aubrey: I think that I wasn’t aware because nobody held me accountable for that type of knowledge.  While I do think technology makes it easier for students to access information I would disagree that this makes them more knowledgeable.  They know more then I did at their age, but not by much.  Unless of course we’re talking about cable television programming.  They seem to know quite a bit about that.  

2. Do you believe it’s important  tests like the SAT and AP expect students to marshal knowledge from a variety of sources?

Emily:  Yes.  But what frustrates me is that it seems as though the evidence they are looking for now isn’t literary or historical examples.  I know that using Angelina Jolie as an example for philanthropy is great, but c’mon.  Angie?  Whatever happened to Rockefeller?
Is Aubrey right?
Aubrey:
This actually doesn’t bother me.  Don’t get me wrong I would prefer Ida B. Wells or Kate Chopin as examples.  However, I have read some very thoughtful essays that discuss reality television stars and how their behavior reflects social norms.  Okay so I made up the “social norms” bit but they did “sort of” talk about cultural significance.  

3.  In Tuesday’s post the lesson focused on having students define the idea of “good” in a variety of ways.  Identify what you consider to be “good.”  Explain whether or not you think individuals have the responsibility to do good.

Emily:  I think it is pivotal for students to understand “good” humor.  For example, I am funny.  Parks and Recreation is funny.  Wearing brightly colored shoes without tying the laces is funny. Boys wearing skinny jeans are funny, not cool.  This is an important lesson for them to learn to better the lives of those who have to look at them.

Aubrey:I like that you’ve skipped answering the heavy “does the individual need to do good” bit of the question.  If I were grading your response it would be a 4.5 out of nine for only answering half the prompt.  And now, after my rebuke, I would like to not answer the question by saying the following:  it is important for students to understand what is NOT good.  Racer back tank tops in January with no cardigan/hoodie, band-aid skirts and telling me how this “is the worst book [they’ve] ever read.”  As if.

Good Magazine: Writing Prompt

Persuasive writing often demands that students consider a series of moral/ethical dilemmas.  In the past, the AP Language and Composition test has asked students to determine the valueof Peter Singer’s argument about

Posing moral or ethical dilemmas to students requires scaffolding.

iStockphoto.com

donating all money not used for necessities to global charities, examine the ethics of incentives for charitable giving and consider the implications of a buy nothing day.  The SAT prompts from December 2011 ask students to consider the role of small groups in creating lasting societal change and whether or not idealists can be successful.  As I said yesterday, students have opinions about these topics but frequently struggle to marshal specific evidence when they answer these questions.  That’s where Good Media Company and Magazine come into play.

Before jumping into the variety of resources Good Magazine has to offer, it seems appropriate to offer students a bit of background.  Interviewed in 2007 on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Ben Goldhirsh discusses the purpose of the company itself.  The story seems very much like Andrew Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth. Child of well-to do parents with philanthropic tendencies receives trust fund and the responsibility of a foundation that funds brain cancer research.  Trust fund can only be used to create start-up business.  Child launches a magazine for “people who give a damn.”

It’s an interesting concept.  Have students start with the concept of good itself.   Treat them to an “impromptu” version of a persuasive essay.  I’m sure they’ll love it.

Example: As a member of society, do individuals have the responsibility to do “good” works?

Have students construct written responses to the questions below or use them to scaffold the beginning of a larger essay.

  • Define the concept of good.

This is easy enough to do in broad clichéd terms.  Have them think smaller.   So start with categories like:

  • List three ingredients necessary for good food.
  • What makes good music?
  • What action qualify as doing good?

Give specific examples from your own extensive experience and knowledge. 

Then ask students to review the actual About page for Good Magazine.  Consider asking them a range of questions about the purpose of this type of mission statement.   Areas of focus could include rhetorical analysis and argument analysis.

Possible choices

  • In the context of Good’s mission statement what might “give a damn” include?  Why is this the way in which they choose to phrase their argument?
  • Examine informal language, sentence fragments and listing.  What effect does this style have on the company’s argument about itself?
  • What do they imply about modern society?  What do they imply about you if you landed on their about page?
  • Is what the company stands for possible? Would it be possible for any company?  Explain.

Now, this might be as far as you want to take Good Magazine in your classroom and that would be okay.   However, as I hinted on Monday, Good can be used as a useful classroom tool to build knowledge.  And so, tomorrow we’ll talk The Daily Good.