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It's All Coming Together!

I love when things turn out the way I envisioned.  As I stated a few blogs ago, we have been working on preparing for a performance task which includes writing an argumentative essay.  We used the arranged marriage articles as practice.  We wrote sample introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions together in class.  I taught students how to write a claim, support it with evidence, and how to write a warrant (explain how their evidence supports the claim).  We also learned about how to include counterclaims and limitations.  It was definitely a great deal of information to process.  As always, I was impressed with how well these kids are able to think critically!
Sweet 7th graders collaborating

I will miss these kids next year!

These kids make me smile!

These girls work so well together!

Working on Essays

The Performance Task

This week it was time to see if they could apply what they learned!  Over Spring Break, my dear friend and I collaborated on writing a performance task to go along with The Giver.  We decided to use the topic if video surveillance, thinking it would be an engaging topic for students.    The lesson began with me pre-teaching some key vocabulary that students would encounter in the articles.  They learned words such as civil liberties,  Big Brother, and advocates.  Then  they read three articles about the topic (on their own) using strategies we've practiced throughout the year to interact with the text.  Afterward they had to answer several questions about the text, including identifying the author's central claim and evidence the author used  to support it.  The most  challenging questions asked students to find evidence from one source that supported the claim of another source.

Finally, students began their argumentative essays on the topic of video surveillance.  I gave them the option of working alone or with a partner.  I have found that many students work better alone, while others to do better when they collaborate.  I did point out to the students that one of our articles actually had two authors!  I like having students write in class.  It allows me to circulate around the room, give feedback to students, and answer questions.  I also found allowing students to partner up makes it easier for me to do so.  Rather than trying to touch bases with 35 students, I only have to check in with 20!  That's doable!

It was an awesome experience for me to walk around and talk to the kids.  They were citing sources, introducing quotes properly, and including excellent evidence to support their claims.  They honestly have NO idea how exciting this is for me, their teacher.

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