Thursday, December 20, 2012

Google Docs: 3 Ways to Use Commenting as Formative Assessment

When starting the writing process, students create a blank document in Google Drive and share it with me. I ask them to set it so I 'can edit' their document. This permission allows me to be able to go in and add structure (outlines, bullets, blank lines for future insertions, etc) as well as add comments (on analysis, word choice, example phrases, etc). I generally prefer not to type in the document itself, as I want the document to be their work, so here are three ways I use the commenting feature in Google Docs to help students revise their work.

1) When students peer review, I have them share so their partner 'can comment' (instead of 'can edit'). I ask them not to resolve their comments, so I can see how they've addressed their peer's feedback. 

2) When I grade their paper, I actually give all of my in-paper feedback through comments on their Google Doc - it's my digital version of the scrawls along the margins (and much more legible). When finished reading and commenting, I download as a Word document, print it out, print out their rubric, and staple everything together (my department still requires physical writing folders). I like that they can read my feedback as soon as I correct their paper, which pushes me to grade while it's fresh on their mind. 

3) As an extension activity, I have students respond to my comments before they can receive their paper grade. Not only does this encourage them to revisit their writing, but I find myself asking much more interesting questions instead of inserting static comments (good, awkward, word choice, etc). Their responses are thoughtful and show evidence of re-thinking the problem areas, which is exactly what comments should do. 

Digital comments can be a powerful feedback tool when used in collaborative situations, phrased in ways that elicits deeper consideration of the text, and as part of a broader conversations around writing and re-writing.

What ways do you use the commenting feature of Google Docs to facilitate the writing process? 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Typing up Rough Drafts

Time to pull our intellectual brainstorming into a narrative! Use your writing process (idea development, thesis development, quotations and outline), to craft a rough draft. If you get stuck - ask me for help!

1) log onto google drive
2) create a new document and share it with me -,
3) title your document like this: first last : C : LotF : (title of paper) 
4) type your rough draft
5) insert a header which (in the top right corner) - Last # 
        - 'Insert' --> 'Header
        - justify to the right margin (do not just use the spacebar to go over)
        - 'Insert' --> 'Page Number' --> 'Top of Page' so it is next to your last name
6) print out your work at the end of the period (check that it looks like the example below)

For a reminder on how to embed quotations:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 in Sci Fi

We had 12 students in class... until 1 more showed. But we stuck to 12 rules, chose 1 column, and wrote for 12 minutes.

The date 12/12/12 has to be in the story

No letter L in the story at all

Tom Brady has to be in the story

write with the opposite hand

No ‘the’

No nouns
12 sentences

Something has to blow up

Has to make sense forwards and backwards
12 words per sentence

Apathetic aliens (or something)

Written in Spanish (or Latin) (or French) (or sign language)

Here's the best we heard today (read it top to bottom then bottom to top)

I felt so alone.
I really thought I had more time.
Why today?
I knew the world was supposed to blow up, but... 
It seemed so bizarre.
They had shuttles transporting people to Venus.
The shuttles bringing people to Mars couldn't make the trip, so
I had gotten on Number 27.V.
Slowly drifting away from Earth.
A sudden burst of heat.
It felt so cold watching everything I knew get destroyed.
I watched the Earth implode.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Writing Process: Asking the Important Questions

My students just finished their books - we've thought deeply about what they've read, and now they're ready to transform that thinking into brilliant papers.

First step: we have to start with the questions. 

First goals for my students:
- craft a question that connected the two books they read
- revise the question as needed 
- share it with classmates 

I wanted students talking to each other, and moving around. So, I made up a version of Bingo that would use the game to achieve my goals and their social learning. 

First, on a piece of paper, they made a bingo board (a big one, that they could write in the boxes of). 

Then, they filled the center square with their own question. 

We took about 10-15 minutes and they filled the rest of their board with their classmates' questions.

While they were conversing, I eavesdropped for key words in their questions and wrote them down on cards.

While listening in, I heard students revise awkward wording, clarify vocabulary, expand and condense their questions. The repetition created a natural space for revision, because if they didn't like the sound of it, they made it better. This was more effective than requiring a set number of revisions, because some had a powerfully clear question to start. 

When everyone had their boards, I tweaked the typical Bingo rules. I drew words from the bag (the key words I had written down) and to 'get' a square, students had to either answer a question with that word in it, or use the word to answer a different question.

For example, if I chose 'society' they had to either answer a question that already incorporated 'society' or use 'society' in their answer to any other question. 

For A Period, Jack won and read out his questions and one sentence answers. If we had more time, we would have played to have a cross on the board, or to blackout.

These one-sentence statements could all be used as thesis statements, so all of my students were equipped to go into their weekend homework not only influenced by the thoughts of others, but with 25 questions and five possible answers.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Annotated Bibliographies x Pearltrees

Student Instructions:
Make a digital 'photocopy' of this handout.
1) open a tab next to this and log into google docs
2) click here to open the handout
3) click 'file' --> 'make a copy'

Dystopian Literature and Dystopian Lit : Core Texts / Dystopian Teaching Resources in katrinakennett (katrinakennett)

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Casual Evernote Experiment...

I introduced Evernote to my Junior advisory as a handy organizational tool. We had the iPad cart for the period so we set up accounts and played around with it a little. I showed a few ways of how I use it and explained why I liked it. I was curious how (or if) they would start using the app for their schoolwork. I will update this post as the reports/reactions come in...  

First Report In! 11/19 
In the hallway during study hall...
"Ms. Kennett - I've been using that app thing you showed us in advisory. It works great." -Allie
This is why Allie says she uses it:
     + still access notes when I don't have my stuff
     + wrote down homework in there
     + find myself more organized
Allie uses Evernote only on her phone, she access to the wifi at our school. Note: we didn't even have Advisory today and Allie caught me in the hallway and told me about it.

Advisory One Week Later... 
Maggie says she doesn't really want to use on her phone - "I feel like it's too small. On the iPad it's easier to see the visuals. I don't want to zoom in on all my notes and stuff. I don't want to type on my phone either - I feel like I can be more organized if I type it on the iPad."

Jess - "I feel like if I had an iPad it would be easier to use. I use Google Drive right now - on that app it's hard to type because you can't turn it sideways"

Brian - "It's confusing, and I don't have an iPad. Too much technology gives me a headache"

Kristen - shrug

Jason - "No - not interested, sorry"

Overall, it seems like it was good experience to expose them to Evernote, but without a personal purpose, this tool will stay in the toolbox until called upon. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

F Period : The Power of Choice : Which will you choose?

After you created statements about power, I took them and matched them to the choice book that connects the best. Skim through the images below, and choose which book you'd like to read.

We will return to these power statements through the books and as we finish them - you might write a few provoking ones in your notes so you can collect quotations through the text.

A Period : Power : Which Choice will you Make?

After you created statements about power, I took them and matched them to the choice book that connects the best. Skim through the images below, and choose which book you'd like to read.

We will return to these power statements through the books and as we finish them - you might write a few provoking ones in your notes so you can collect quotations through the text.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Term 2: Power in World Literature

This term, we will translate our investigation of power in Macbeth into an interrogation of power in texts from around our lives and around the world.

One goal of mine for a few years has been to fulfill a classroom writing goal of 1000 Words a Week. With a benchmark like this, I would be able to encourage multiple types of writing, from analysis, reflection, response, poetry, creative, etc. in low-risk ways and value it as formative assessment.

Below is my brainstorm from this morning, the evolution of my questioning about power (lower left), and my provocation to my students I'll put on the board tomorrow.

To consider:
- what to read alongside this writing goal
- workflow for checking on writing
- flexibility of benchmark for different students
- general topics of Term 3 & 4 to give balance to the year

Potential reading list (10th grade)
- Fahrenheit 451
- Things Fall Apart
- Lord of the Flies

Potential Workflow
- blue examination books (I give)
- student notebooks / journals (they buy)
- google docs (shared folder)
- Evernote (shared notebook)
Check once a week? M/W/F with 10 students at a time?

As a busy teacher (albeit sometimes too busy), I must say that these four day weeks are as important to my mental and physical health as they are to my creative classroom.

With that said, this is a special four day week I refuse to allow companies and sale promotions to co-opt. My leisure today is a gift from many, including veterans who have sacrificed for my freedom. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blog Examples

We talked in class about blogs, their purpose, and what they look like. Some of you said you don't read many, so I thought I would compile some examples of blogs that I read and enjoy.

Read at least three different posts across these blogs and tell three classmates and me 1) what you read, 2) what you thought, and 3) what you learned about blogs/blogging.

Brain Pickings - a variety of art, ponderings, the Beatles, some poetry, books, etc.
For the Love of Learning - clear and argumentative voice for change in school (he's from Canada)
A Stick in the Mud - a teacher who writes quickly about classroom happenings (and is a great doodler)
EdTechResearcher - Justin's most recent post is 'if you come across an iPad, smash it'
Grammar Girl - completely nerdy but very fun
David Zirin - focuses on sports and racism

Note the economy with words, how different each 'voice' is (think about how this translates to your own UHE blog), and how each post captures a single idea/has a single argument.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dystopian Lit - Contact Info

Fill out the form below. It will 'disappear' when you have submitted it. Make sure you spell your email correctly. 

Did it go through? Click here to see if your response registered.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dystopian Lit : Friday Tasks

First, take this survey. Enter the survey code S2013505. It is very important that you take the survey seriously - it is part of a yearlong process of 'self-study' that the school is doing to determine strengths and areas for improvement.

1) Finish your paper. Add to the title 'FINAL.' Make sure it is shared with me at
     Staple your packet in this order
        Notes: if your rough draft 'in' google docs, indicate it on a separate piece of paper. Make my life as easy as possible - it helps your grade.

2) Create a new blank Google Docs SPREADSHEET. Share it with me with both AND
Title it - First Last : Dystopian Lit : Rubrics

3) Work on your Book Trailer project (even though you don't have iPads - there IS prep work for you to do, like making sure you have all your quotations, connections to the real world, song suggestions - make a storyboard, slides for your project, etc.)

4) IF YOU ARE GOOFING OFF, Mr. Izzo will kick you off the computer and will leave me a note (and yes, there will be consequences for your immaturity...)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dystopian Lit : Wednesday updates

Paper deadline: rolling admissions but due by Friday
      - put together the entire process (idea development, thesis development, outline, note if rough draft is on google docs)
      - final paper submitted via Google Docs or hard copy

On the back burner:
Here is the document outlining the projects for Term 2 - comments welcome. Please help me make it as clear as possible.

Dystopias I like / Want to Read:
Choose a book that will help you create your dystopian world
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - non-fiction dystopia about current Internet laws in Britain
- Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
- We (in the same vein of 1984
- The Hunger Games (only if you haven't read it before - perhaps pair w/critical discourse on film)
- The Giver by Lois Lowry 
- Fahrenheit 451 by Kurt Vonnegut 
- Divergent 
- Animal Farm by George Orwell 
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (a little more sci fi than dystopian, but it works)
- Matched 
- Uglies 
- V for Vendetta (too risque with anarchy?)
Unwind (need to approve for discussion on abortion - this is a SUPER powerful book)
- When She Woke (combination of The Scarlet Letter and The Handmaid's Tale - instead of going to jail, criminals get their skin 'chromed' the color of their crime) 
- The Maze Runner (also a bit too set up for the sequel, but it happens)
- I am Legend
- Battle Royale (maybe? I hear it's a more violent Lord of the Flies?)
- A Canticle for Lebowitz (post-apocalyptic attempt to preserve texts) 
- Neuromancer (renegades within the digital 'matrix)  
- Ready Player One (might be good connection for those who like video games)
- The Running Man (like that movie Gamer, where someone enters a video game world to stay alive)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Variations on the Writing Process: Explaining Outlines via Screencast

Instructions for today's activities: 

1) Next person in line in the alphabet: _______________________
   Ask nicely for their email: _________________________________________

*sign out an iPad*

2) Watch Ms. Kennett’s youtube video about today’s activity (below)

3) Create a screencast of your quotations using Explain Everything. Focus on specific analysis and on how the quotation links to your greater point. Speak for about one minute per slide, but beware of going over - the file will get too large. If you make a mistake, click the left-pointing arrow and re-record over the slide.

4) Export your screencast via email.
___ yourself
___ your classmate

5) Listen to your classmate’s screencast and fill out the feedback form.

6) Check off the completed feedback form with Ms. Kennett! Celebrate!

Homework: fill out the form at the bottom of this post

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome to Open House!

Ms. Katrina Kennett -
- Curriculum & Essential Questions 
- Please sign in on the contact sheet!

A & F Period - World Literature Honors
- Universal Human Experience & Blogging 
- Macbeth, Lord of the Flies, Night
- checking in 

C Period - World Literature CP2
- Universal Human Experience & Blogging 
- Macbeth, Lord of the Flies, Night
- checking in

E Period - Dystopian Literature
- Term 1: foundation texts, Brave New World, 1984, The Handmaid's Tale
- Term 2: particular texts, creating their own dystopia 

G Period - Science Fiction
- Term 1: foundation themes, core texts
- Term 2: particular texts, creating their own science fiction 

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Dog Ate My Printer...

I've heard many excuses why students can't print their work, ranging from completely legitimate to completely silly. Here is one way I'm working around student printing woes.

Basically, you can email to your printer. You can print via any device that has email - cell phone, iPad, laptop, etc. - so students who type papers on their phones can easily submit them. Though it's heavy on the account set up at first, it's ease of use is worth it.

1. Set up a Dropbox Account

2. Set up a 'Send to Dropbox' associated with that Dropbox Account. It will give you an email - I renamed mine kkennettprintmeplease_**** Refresh your Dropbox tab, and you should now have an 'Attachments' folder in your Dropbox account.

3. Set up Google Cloud Print for the printer attached to your computer / Chrome sign in. You must be signed into Chrome on the computer that is hardwired to the printer.

4. Login to WappWolf and automate the following sequence:
      - Every time you put a file in 'Attachments'
      - Print via Google Cloud Print (choose your classroom computer option), and
      - Delete the original file (to find this, scroll to the bottom) - this is important so that student work doesn't build up in the folder.

5. Test it! Compose an email to your Send to Dropbox email and attach a file. It should:
      - go into your Attachments folder (you can watch this real-time if your Dropbox tab refreshes)
      - print out via your printer
      - delete itself from the Attachments folder

So, when students are having problems printing from home, simply have them attach their file to an email and send it to your Send to Dropbox account - within a couple of minutes it should print out!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Using Google Spreadsheet as a Online Rubric: Setting Up

This weekend, with a fresh pile of summer reading essays in hand, I began the process of setting up my students' digital writing folders.

First, I started with a Google Spreadsheet formatted of a rubric I use.

Then, I clicked 'File' --> 'Make a Copy' and titled the new copy    Last, First : Period : Rubrics

               Example: Kennett, Katrina : A : Rubrics

Yes, this requires making a copy for each of your students. But, now, through the year I will have the ability to grade within a master rubric and then 'push' the graded sheet to that student's spreadsheet. (Screencast coming soon)

- time consuming at this point in the year

- you can share the document with students with varying levels of editing permissions
- you can share / publish specific rubrics to parents, special ed, etc
- you can provide links to rubrics in emails
- you can lock specific spreadsheets if you don't want

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Submitting essay: hard copies

Today you will be finishing your final draft and submitting your entire process. Your work is due at the end of the period - I will check in with you as class goes on to help you pace your time. 

12/18/12 - Sophomores: What should you have?
- metacognitive letter
- final draft
- rough draft #2 
- rough draft #1
- outline
- thesis development 
- 20-25 quotations (or whatever your class required) 
- paper proposal paragraph / idea development

(if you have a legitimate excuse for missing any of the above, write it on a separate piece of paper and insert it in the correct order)
(also, if your journal contains any of your process, take a post-it and clearly mark where I can find your work) 

When you print your final draft, make sure the MLA formatting is as follows (see below for model): 
- single spaced header
- title centered (please, a clever title?) 
- double spaced body text
- size 12 Times New Roman font 
- 1" margins 
- titles of books in italics - Lord of the Flies, Beowulf, Things Fall Apart, etc. 

If you have any question, please ask - I'm here to help!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Setting up Senior Project Blogs

Senior Project Blogs!

By the end of today's class, you will:
- establish and format a blog for Senior Projects
- draft and publish a post on this blog
- complete various blog challenges to help you get familiar with your blog

Get Started: 

  1. choose a blog platform and sign into it or
  2. create a clear title that describes the purpose of your blog (tagline optional)
  3. format the blog's layout - change the color scheme, the main fonts, the background images, etc. 

Challenge List:

  1. write a short bio in your profile or make an 'about me' page (the about me should be direct, professional, and quick) 
  2. write your first blog post! explain why you will blog in Senior Projects and what your personal goals are for the blogging
  3. attempt any of the challenges here (from Mr. Kulowiec's workshop!)
  4. play with non-cluttering widgets (link lists, polls, twitter feed, etc) 
  5. If you have an iPhone, download the free Blogger app and post a picture of this week's goals

Friday, August 17, 2012

Seven Steps to a Thesis

Paired with the Path to Purpose, Seven Steps to a Thesis is a concrete way to develop a robust and argumentative thesis statement.

The key to this graphic organizer is the easy first step - the threshold is so low that it removes the intimidation of producing an instantly brilliant thesis statement. Embracing the process of revision in its design, going through the Seven Steps encourages you to practice with intention, craft, and detail.

Seven Steps to a Thesis: 

First, sketch the whole graphic organizer

Then fill it out - as a class, in partners, or individually
This example is from Lord of the Flies


Finally, choose one or two elements from each area

Using these elements, create one basic sentence:

From here, it's all about the revision process:
1. Ralph and Piggy called a meeting with the conch in an attempt to build a community on the island.
2. (reorder) In an attempt to build a community on the island, Ralph and Piggy called a meeting with the conch.
3. (reword) Trying to convene the survivors with the conch, Ralph and Piggy seek to build a community on the island.
4. (condense) Convening the survivors with the conch, Ralph and Piggy seek to build a community on the island.
5. (add new analysis) Establishing themselves as leaders, Ralph and Piggy convene the survivors in order to start building a community.
6. (cull the best from the previous sentences) Convening the survivors with the conch's call, Ralph and Piggy establish themselves as leaders in the building community.
7. (evaluate how strong your argument is and tweak word choice) By convening survivors with the conch's call, Ralph and Piggy establish themselves as leaders of the nascent community.

Important Take Aways and Points to Emphasize:
- start with a very simple sentence (it's ok! you have six more to work with...)
- embrace 'bad' writing through the steps - agonizing over the middle steps dries up your creative juices
- you do not need to do the steps in order - look at what each step needs to improve
- ask 'what am I arguing?' throughout the process
- many students want to stop around Step 4 - pushing through the Seven emphasizes the attention to detail in a strong argumentative statement
- once they have the seventh, they are more willing to revise as their paper develops (this is especially important for students who spend so much time making the 'perfect' thesis before they start writing and then are trapped by it when their ideas develop)

Overall, I find this process helpful both for students who enjoy revising and for those who agonize over every word. When scaffolding this process, I model the seven steps with the whole group, have students do them in small groups or partners, and move to students completing the steps individually. As formative assessment for both analysis and writer's craft, I learn how my students approach constructing arguments and what vocabulary and lenses they are comfortable with. With this knowledge, I can target specific types of revision the next time we go through the Seven Steps.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Path to Purpose

For the early stages of the writing process in my English classes, students use two tools to quickly gather their thoughts and effectively craft an argumentative thesis: the Path to Purpose and the 7 Steps to a Thesis

The first of these is the 'Path to Purpose,' a graphic organizer that is easy to sketch out.

Based on the five root question words, the Path to Purpose serves to unpack the nuts and bolts of a text. As a teacher, this is an especially useful tool for quickly seeing what students understand, and where their understanding breaks down.

Who - who is in the text, who wrote it, who is mentioned, who the author/narrator is speaking to
          What - what happened, what are the key ideas, what is the climax/resolution
                    When - where/when of the world of the text, where/when was it written, consider place and time flexibly 
                              Why - root words, big ideas - I aim for concepts here, and theme words, not lengthy explanations, at the core of it, what is this text about

Here is a Path to Purpose filled out using the anchor text of 'Out, Out-' by Robert Frost: 


You can use a Path to Purpose for mapping out elements of the Preamble to the US Constitution:


The Path to Purpose works for students as a way to organize their thoughts and refer back to the text for more details. They can compare their organizer with another student's to see what each thought was important. For teachers, the Path functions as a quick formative assessment and can easily be scanned for strengths and weaknesses in student comprehension. For using the Path as part of the writing process, check out my 7 Steps to a Thesis

EdCafe and Primary Sources: Why does Balance Matter in John Adams’ General Principles?

After a recent talk I had with my uncle on the future of education, he sent me this PatriotPost Founder’s Quote Daily:

"Without wishing to damp the ardor of curiosity or influence the freedom of inquiry, I will hazard a prediction that, after the most industrious and impartial researchers, the longest liver of you all will find no principles, institutions or systems of education more fit in general to be transmitted to your posterity than those you have received from your ancestors." --John Adams, 1798

When I did a Google search for the quotation, I was immediately struck by the patriotic pattern of sources and their political similarity to each other. However, no Adams papers or .gov sites popped up. Curious, I started to dig deeper into the context of the quotation.

John Adams initially delivered the passage in his address to the Young Men of Philadelphia on May 7, 1798. As a whole, the text reads as a benediction to the young men’s coming lives, wishing them luck and joy as they step off in their ventures (particularly, it seems, in defense of the country).

Years later, Adams reflects on his words to the young Philadelphians in a letter to Thomas Jefferson. In this 1813 letter, he celebrated the boys’ enthusiasm towards the American Revolution and his and Jefferson’s roles in that history. He goes on to note the unifying element of both the Constitutional Assembly and the group of young men was two-fold:
“the general principles of Christianity in which all those sects were united; and the GENERAL PRINCIPLES of English and American liberty, in which all these young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence.”
Consider the balance he gives to the two sets of principles - religion unifies groups and liberty unites individuals, but it is their combination that constitutes American freedom.

If there was any doubt to the intentional nature of this balance, read his next words:
“Now I will avow, that I then believed, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.”
When aligning the tenets of religion and liberty in the same sentence, note the elegant use of the semi-colon to bond these foundation stones of Adams’ belief system.

With this in mind, it was fascinating to compare Adams’ letter to a typed version on a webpage from titled ‘American Independence was Achieved Upon the Principles of Christianity.’ By deliberately leaving out the principles of ‘English and American liberty,’ the title promotes a religious reading of Adams’ words. To further align with this guiding lens, consider the editing. The first paragraph of the page is the quotation about ancestors from the 1798 Philadelphia address, while the rest of the text is from the 1813 letter to Jefferson. However, no quotations, italics, etc. make this distinction clear. Without the appropriate contexts, this webpage insinuates that, based on the wisdom of ancestors, the entire Independence movement was a result of the forefathers’ religious beliefs.

What the website fails to include, as well as what the Patriot Post readers might not find out, is the next paragraph to Adams’ 1813 reflection:
I might have flattered myself that my sentiments were sufficiently known to have protected me against suspicions of narrow thoughts, contracted sentiments, bigoted, enthusiastic, or superstitious principles, civil, political, philosophical, or ecclesiastical. The first sentence of the preface to my defence of the constitution, vol. 1st, printed in 1787, is in these words: “The arts and sciences, in general, during the three or four last centuries, have had a regular course of progressive improvement. The inventions in mechanic arts, the discoveries in natural philosophy, navigation, and commerce, and the advancement of civilization and humanity, have occasioned changes in the condition of the world and the human character, which would have astonished the most refined nations of antiquity,” &c. I will quote no farther; but request you to read again that whole page, and then say whether the writer of it could be suspected of recommending to youth “to look backward instead of forward” for instruction and improvement. [emphasis added]

It seems that Adams received backlash, and his reaction here shows his frustration at the presumption that people would take one quotation out of context in light of the bulk of his work.

Adams’ chagrin at bolstering antiquity over constant improvement was also a sentiment that Jefferson shared. In an 1898 letter to William Munford, Jefferson censures those who consider established learning at its present limit. Though the second paragraph of his letter is dense, he stands his ground when he says that
"I join you therefore in branding as cowardly the idea that the human mind is incapable of further advances. this is precisely the doctrine which the present despots of the earth are inculcating, & their friends here re-echoing; & applying especially to religion & politics; ‘that it is not probable that any thing better will be discovered than what was known to our fathers.’ we are to look backwards then & not forwards for the improvement of science, & to find it amidst feudal barbarisms and the fires of Spital-fields. but thank heaven the American mind is already too much opened, to listen to these impostures; and while the art of printing is left to us science can never be retrograde; what is once acquired of real knowlege can never be lost.

Like Jefferson, I am thankful the American mind is open, but am concerned that ‘these impostures’ are easy to take at face value when whittled away from original context. Privileging Adams’ advice from a graduation speech over his words in the defense of the Constitution of the United States disregards his overarching philosophy. Though the real knowledge of his words exists in print, as Jefferson celebrates, the mass media uses the Adams’ patriotic authority to offer historical snippets without the cloth of their author’s beliefs.

In returning to the original quotation, now informed by the context of both Adams’ and Jefferson’s words, I find myself agreeing with them in the way I think they intended. The principles of education that I will pass to my posterity will be a deep understanding of language, a critical awareness of audience and context, and a persistent questioning of the effect of inclusion and omission. A curious mind, the skills to ask and answer questions about what came before you, and to build and follow your own quest into the future - those are the foundation of my own guiding principles.

Teaching Primary Sources Using EdCafes:
- how did the American Forefathers approach improvement of oneself and society?  
- what do primary sources look like on the internet, and how do you evaluate their legitimacy?
- how does punctuation and editing affect the meaning of a text?

Key Vocab - hazard - risk, posterity - future generations

Give students the core quotation and have each read it to the other. With a partner, rewrite it in the form of a haiku, tweet, or 10-word sentence.
Rationale: in reading it out loud, each student hears the language of the sentence twice. Longer sentences have their rhythm that students find easier when listening, and it gives practice at parsing together their relationships.
Cut the core quotation into phrases, and have partners attempt to put it together.
Rationale: through puzzling through how to arrange the sentence, students practice phrasing and pay attention to ‘who is doing what.’

Each corner of the EdCafe will have four related documents to study. Each document relates to the quotation we started class with, but they span from 1798 to present day, so you’ll have to dig into each of the sources to get a grasp on them. Be patient with the language and read it out loud - each group has multiple dictionaries for a reason - use them to help you in your quest. Practice your questioning techniques - have someone in the group be a Question Scribe and write down all the questions the group asks. You’ll have a good amount of class to work on this, so don’t be intimidated by the length of the sentences or the large paragraphs.

Each of the four questions asks you to read the texts, move up a level and understand how they fit together, and then synthesize what you have learned. Pay close attention to what each question asks. The question you choose will be your prompt for your writing tonight.

1) Encourage students establishing a ‘plan of attack’ when they get in the groups (break down what the question is asking them to do)
2) Encourage students to read the text out loud
3) Have each group choose a Question Scribe to record as many questions as possible, perhaps on a projected Google Doc

If possible, give each student all four texts, either on paper or via technology.

Corner 1Corner 2Corner 3Corner 4
Describe Adams’ original audience. How was his quotation reacted to over time? How would Adams react to’s text of his words?’s url shows that their text is considered a primary source. You are the judge - should this be used as a primary source in a research paper? On what basis do you rest your judgement? What would Jefferson say about’s text of Adams’ words? Choose three of the texts, create a Path to Purpose for each and craft Seven Steps to a Thesis**

Walk around and check in on the groups. Focus on the group facilitators, each student having whatever you require for notetaking, always coming back to the question.  

Give each student a notecard (if you’re fancy, have different colors for each corner). Have students form groups of at least one member from each corner and share what they’re going to be writing about that evening. Have them write their thesis / topic on that notecard and collect before the end of class.

Bundlenut of links to the four sources and original quotation -

Common Core Standards 
Reading Standards for Informational Text - Grades 11-12 Students:
Key Ideas and Details
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inference drawn from the text, including where the text leaves matters uncertain.
2. Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
3. Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individual ideas, or events interact and develop.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Comment here or tweet to @katrinakennett 

Friday, May 18, 2012

G Period - LotF Essay Process

Lord of the Flies Analytical Essay

- highlight journal books
- highlight history notes
- 7 steps to a thesis
- collect quotations

- T-chart of LotF / Civil War
- Outline (framework your ideas)

- rough draft (click on this link and follow the instructions EXACTLY)

Revising / Rewriting 
- share with a peer so they 'CAN COMMENT'
- ask them nicely to share 5-7 comments (looking at overall organization of ideas and supporting thesis)
- ask yourself:
      - does my thesis argue a side?
      - does the order of my body paragraphs help ideas build on top of each other?
      - do I lead in to the quotations/facts so the reader knows the situation they come from?
      - do I show my thinking behind including each quotation/fact? have I analyzed in a way that connects to the idea of my thesis?