LESSON PLAN 2
Peer Editing of Multi Genre Research Paper Topic Proposals based off Anthem
- Students will write with stronger word choices and with a better sense of voice.
- Students will critically read their peer’s MGRP topic proposal and make helpful suggestions to make it more clear and compelling.
SOL 8.5 The student will read and analyze a variety of fictional texts, narrative
nonfiction, and poetry.
h) Identify the main idea.
j) Identify an author’s organizational pattern using textual clues, such as
transitional words and phrases.
SOL 8.7 The student will write a variety of forms, including narration, exposition,
persuasion, and informational.
g) Revise writing for clarity of content, word choice, sentence variety, and
transitions among paragraphs.
SOL 8.8 The student will edit writing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation,
spelling, sentence structure, and paragraphing.
d) Maintain consistent verb tense across paragraphs.
g) Use correct spelling for frequently used words.
Materials for Learning Activities
Handout: Warm Up: Word Choice & Voice
I will show websites for the warm up activity with Laptop and Projector.
Procedures for Learning Activities (90 minutes)
PART 1: Silent Reading
For the first 10 minutes of class, students read silently.
I take attendance. I pass out one handout: Word Choice & Voice.
PART 2: Word Choice & Voice (SOL Warm Up)
(Mini Lesson on WORD CHOICE)
As a whole, we are all guilty of including imprecise, bland language in our writing. Descriptors that do not evoke much or well are words like “fun, thing, boring, nice, mean, cool” and “stupid.”
Make a BANNED WORDS LIST on the whiteboard. Eliminate them from your writer’s heads please.
For example, the sentence, “My teacher was nice,” does not say much to the reader. If the sentence was rewritten “My teacher gives second chances when we make mistakes and rewards us with homemade cookies when our entire class aces an assessment” tells us more. The latter shows through the teacher’s actions how kind of a person she is.
(Mini Lesson on VOICE)
What does it mean when a piece of writing has voice or is voice-driven? It means we as readers have a clear idea of the person behind the writing. What their perspective on life is. Who they are in terms of taste, politics, and attitude.
When a piece of writing has a sense of voice, it is a more memorable and hopefully enjoyable read. Consistent voice is important. It provides tone. Are they casually writing about their subject or are they seriously writing it?
(Introducing Warm Up Lesson)
To challenge you to write better descriptors and write with a stronger voice, we are going to dabble in some food writing.
Show examples from websites.
- Fast food
- Fine dining
Let students guess what kinds of restaurants I took these menu descriptions from. What is the concept of the restaurant? Their typical clientele? Their location? Its pricing?
What if the restaurants changed location or decided to change their image? How would the food be described?
You are hired as menu writing consultants by a variety of clients. They will describe who they are and what they want. Come up with a way to describe the food they wish you to “sell” on the page to the customers.
Give students 10 minutes to work on the warm up assignment.
(Time to Share)
Give them 5 minutes to share in their small groups what they have come up with.
Give the groups an opportunity to share their favorite and most successful menu descriptions to the whole class.
You might not end up writing about food on your SOL direct writing day, but keep in mind that making precise powerful word choices and conveying clear voice in your writing will make you stronger writers.
PART 3: Peer Editing Review of MGRP Topic Proposal
Students are familiar with the small groups they last worked with when pitching topic ideas. They will sit with them again and bring their MGRP Topic Proposal. They can pass their paragraphs around and have peers write down questions and ideas on them.
I will hold one-on-one conferences to read over each student’s topic proposal while the class works in small groups. Once students are finished meeting in small groups, they can get their netbooks and continue research and artifact drafting.
- What trends did you see?
- What worked well? Strengths. Something you wish to replicate in your topic proposal.
- Where were common pitfalls? Something you want to strengthen in your own topic proposal.
- Any questions?
Students should use the peer review comments to strengthen their topic proposal. Bring the notes you collected from classmates today to class next time so you’ll have a chance to revise your topic proposal.
(Pack up and Go)
Leave last 5 minutes to put away computers and pack up. Stack chairs.
(Intro, Instruction, Summary)
10 min - Silent Reading
20 min - Introduction → Warm Up
30 min - Instruction → Peer Review Editing of MGRP Topic Proposal (I hold one-on-one
conferences with students about their topic proposals)
10 min - Summary
5 min - Put away computers and stack chairs
Extensions or Connections to Other Lessons
Word choice and voice are important elements to consider when writing.
Peer Review Editing will hopefully prepare students to cast a critical eye on their own writing.
I am looking for students to complete their warm up assignment and to participate in small group discussions as well as with the entire class. For the peer editing review, I want students to practice looking at essays with a critical eye. Both are exercises to enhance their writing practice. I am giving no formal assessments.
For students who have trouble staying on task, I will check in with them individually during their quiet working time. They conveniently sit next to the teacher’s desks in the front of the classroom.
Most people probably don’t give much thought to menu writing but it is writing one can get paid for and it does have an effect on the public. If a food description sounds lackluster, there’s a strong chance that that particular food will not get ordered as often.
When I was brainstorming how I wanted to do my mini-lesson, I just thought of what I would like to write about and I am definitely a fan of food writing. Food is a universal subject for students to write about. Hence, the level of engagement during the exercise was palpable. I am also glad my mentor teacher was open to this menu writing idea.
One tweak I will use is to ask the students, “Where is the evidence?” instead of asking, “Why do you think that?” for the menu writing discussion portion. Because we are always asking students to add more evidence to their papers. Using the “evidence” vocabulary reinforces the need to include and communicate strong evidence in their papers.
One thing I would change to make the warm up not last as long is to pick one food instead of two to write menu descriptions of and also to pick two clients instead of three to write for. I just have to shorten the assignment.
The trickiest part of my lesson plan was the peer review editing portion. Because I did not model how the rotating of the peer editing was to go or explain the instructions explicitly, some of the students got confused with the activity. I did explain what they were to do but because they had never done it before, some were lost.
Next time I do this, I will model it and also go over the questions that I want students to answer on the worksheet. That might take an additional five minutes but it is worth it.
I need to be more clear about time limits from the beginning. Before the students start their peer reviewing, I will tell them I am giving them 5 minutes per proposal. Then I will ask, “How many minutes am I giving you per proposal?” That way I will know if that piece of information has landed with them or not.
During the last 5 minutes, I will tell them how to prepare for the next class and have that up on the board as well so we can all be on the same page.