Tag Archive for Writing Analysis

Weekend Pop Culture: Starbucks and Create Jobs for USA

To recap, yesterday we discussed Starbucks’ initiative Create Jobs for USA.  Yesterday’s post was all about how to use the language of the website,

infographics and video to analyze images, argument and language.   Today will be a conversation about how to use the media’s coverage to teach media literacy and practice critical thinking and writing skills through synthesis.

Pose the following synthesis question to your students:

What moral or ethical considerations should be part of a movement like Create Jobs for America when partnered with a larger corporation like Starbucks?

 

Before having them construct an persusaive paragraph or thesis statement have them review the different perspectives below.  You might even consider using QR stations with the information below if you feel so inclined!

 

WYNC Q&A with Schultz

Insightful Q&A that examines point of view and argument from Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz. .  For a more detailed discussion of how to introduce Q&A’s in class see our post about the NBA lockout.  See the excerpt below.

 

Questions to pose for discussion and/or written response:

  1. Identify Schultz’s primary argument.
  2. What is evident about Howard Schultz based on his responses?  What do you know about him as an individual, a CEO and an American?

NPR-Starbucks Hopes to Kick-Start Job Creation

NPR provides a useful overview along with several interviews from microfinanciers and economists.  It offers a perspective that is not only driven by the voice of Starbucks.

Questions to pose for discussion and/or written response:

  1. Discuss the importance of including Mark Pinksy’s point of view.  What impact does it have on the story?
  2. What is the argument identified about private corporations and responsibility to the American public?

Huffington Post-Small Businesses to Lawmakers: Give Us Some Credit!

A Pro-Create Jobs for USA piece with a distinctive voice/tone.  It’s a great piece for students in terms of identifying point of view, argument and how language contributes to tone.

Questions to pose for discussion and/or written response:

  1. Identify the tone of the author.  Identify three words that contribute to this tone and explain their role in constructing his point of view.
  2. Discuss the author’s argument?  How does informal language and “anecdotal” evidence help to strengthen his claim?

QR Codes: Non-Fiction Lesson

There are a multitude of great QR classroom uses out there already.  In fact the Daring Librarian has a great post from December of 2010 about different QR codes and a great video about how they were used in one high school for multiple classrooms.

Today, I’m going to offer one approach to using QR codes in the English classroom.  This is quite simply a teacher driven, small groups at stations, QR code assignment. Keep in mind this post is quite lengthy so as to give you an activity and an example of how to use this with Fast Food Nation.

The purpose: to extend student learning on topics that relate to a non-fiction book.

Things to consider: You may, depending on  your means, want students to use ipods, phones and ipads.  A bigger screen would be useful if you plan on having students use any of the articles below.  You may also want to encourage your students to share devices.  You’ll absolutely want them to bring headphones as some of the QR codes, when scanned, link to videos and podcasts.

Non-Fiction, Teacher Generated QR Codes

This activity could be used at anytime during the study of a unit of novel. The goal: create a deeper/broader understanding of the concepts studied.  Choose a series of articles, podcasts, images, cartoons, etc. that could be easily used for synthesizing a larger understanding.  I’ve chosen Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation as an example because non-fiction may be an easier way for you to attempt this type of activity.  Resources should also be easier to find. Read more

Writing & Voice: Day Four

 

The National Day on Writing has arrived!  Here is our technology driven post on voice.

Ultimately, improving student voice takes practice and modeling.  Nothing is better than having them mix their own voices with that of their peers to create a new and distinctive voice.

Have students complete a style analysis of themselves in order identify their style as authors by using the catchy checklist below or come up with your own.

Checkout the example below:

Stylewatch: It’s a Personal Thing

Be specific and detailed in your responses to the questions below. Your answers must be meaningful.  You can’t just say, “I’m not sure—umm—dashes?”

What types of punctuation marks do you favor in your writing?  Why?
What types of sentences define your voice? Long and involved?  Short and concise? What is the purpose of this sentence structure for you?
What level of language do you use in your writing?  Formal/Informal?   What purpose does this serve?
If you had to emulate one author from this year who would it be and why?  WRITE YOUR RESPONE IN THE STYLE OF THAT AUTHOR.  

Discuss as a class what this means about them, their writing style, etc.  Sort students into groups of three based upon varying style characteristics.  You will want to make sure that your small groups have three different types of student “voices.”

Now, the next step depends on what applications you already use in the classroom. You could use Edmodo or Wallwisher and modify the assignment for use in those programs.  I personally like Schoology the best.  Its resemblance to Facebook is a selling point for students and it’s so neat and tidy in organization that it makes it easy to construct separate discussion threads within the program.  This will take some outside of classroom time to set up this exercise.

Create a schoology account for yourself and have your students sign up for their own, as well.  For each class you create the program will create a code.  When students are creating their accounts they will need that “code” in order to sign up for our class.  When you’ve done all of the grunt work you/your students should see this:

You’ll want to click the discussion thread and create a discussion thread group for each group of three.  This means in each class you’ll probably have 10-15 discussion groups.  You will be given the choice for each group to upload directions as well.

The sky’s the limit.  If you teach AP students, use this exercise for voice in their AP analysis.  If you’re teaching the personal essay, give them a topic and then have them construct the response reply by reply by reply.  Of course, you won’t want to do this for the entirety of any essay, so choose an intro paragraph, a body paragraph, a conclusion, anything.

Since Schoology’s format is similar to the Facebook “wall” function, you can students in small groups reply to each other’s writing.   Have them consider that they can’t alter the line coming before theirs, they simply have to “add” to the previous line using their own writing style to inform the creation of this assignment.  When finished, have students type their replies into a new post for that discussion thread.  See the “dummy” example below.

 

Exercises like this focus on having student collaborate, write, examine each other’s voices and construct a final copy.  Less grading for you, better writing experiences for them.

Weekend Tech: Steve Jobs

There were three apples that changed the world: Eve's, Newton's and Steve's.

Yesterday we talked about Steve Jobs and how to use public outpourings of grief as a way to teach everything from argument to media literacy.  Today we continue by looking at some other choices.  I know that the below link don’t do justice to what exists. They do however provide varied points of view.  Click around and let us know if you have other resources/ideas.

Mourning Steve Jobs: The Purpose of Public Grief

Leave it to The New Yorker.  While I profiled their Back Issues Blog yesterday, the quality of their articles is undeniable.  Today we look at an article from the News Desk.  It’s perfect for student use in class.  They can practice annotating for SOAPSTone and evaluating O’Rourke’s argument.  What’s useful about this article is that it also includes links to other memorials which means a “multi-layered” media literacy strand.  Read more

Annotation: Day Two

So, after nothing works (not the long and “meaningful” chats, not the amazing personal examples — cue photo from yesterday — , not the concisely condensed handouts and personal “reference” guides), here is what we do.  It’s not new.  It’s not unique.  It not’s even unconventional.

Rearrange the room grouping the desks into threes.  This is probably the biggest struggle since the opportunity for personal injury arises in any room rearrangement.  Then wait.

They walk in.

They’re excited.

“No assigned seats,” they think.

“No terrible and horrible columns of death,” they silently cheer.

“We are going to have fun,” they chortle.  [Okay, too far. I know.] Read more