Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An apple a day will keep SINA away?

*As a disclaimer-I want to note that in our classroom we are working on the power of persuasion and opinion.  We have been focusing on how to capture an audience with text features. (You may be here right now because of the title :) if so..I guess it worked ) We then had a discussion on once we get our audience, how do we hold on to them with our words. This is the story of how I am trying to convince my wife that I don’t want, but I need an iPad2. :)

It is amazing how engaged students can be in the writing process when they know their audience and have a clear purpose. I have made an effort to bring both to every piece of writing we have done this year.  Not only has this been outstanding in planning and meeting the needs of all students, but it has certainly helped to frame our learning from the beginning of each unit.
I make an effort to post clear learning targets in all subject areas, and have tried to add relevance underneath each.  Students help me create bodily kinesthetic movements to represent the targets, which seem silly, but they have been very effective. The relevance has not been too challenging, but I am finding that students can tell me what we are learning, and have a difficult time telling me why we are learning this.

Our Persuasion Process
Our unit has been focused on these three essential questions:
1.       What are effective ways to change your audience’s perspective?
2.       What features of your message help draw a reader to your message?
3.       How do you grow and receive feedback from your audience?

The process of persuasion we have focused on has been:
1.       Take a stance
2.       Know and read your opponent
3.       Find support
4.       Develop your argument or opinion
5.       Present your message in an engaging way.


Here is what my students have helped me create:
Opinion: I don’t want, I need an iPad2
Audience: My intelligent, beautiful, fun-loving wife. (Thick enough..I think.)

If a school does not meet the annual AYP state participation goals or state Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) in reading or mathematics assessment in either the “all students” group or any one of the subgroups for two consecutive years, it is designated as a school in need of assistance, which is also referred to as SINA .
My students thought this was too harsh of a hook because it didn’t speak to my wife, so they helped me create this introduction paragraph:
Although we have many wants in life, I need an iPad2. If I am fortunate enough to save enough money to buy an iPad2, it would help our family and improve my job. I realize how expensive they can be, however I feel with your approval and my dedication to saving money, we can make this happen! (They liked the team and taking responsibility approach)

I will not bore you with the rest of our draft, but what I did want to share about this process was the power of collaboration and technology.  I couldn’t believe the responsive feedback I got from all my students.  They were so charged about this assignment, they had me share it with them in Google Docs. They gave me endless feedback and possible revisions in hope that I would get an iPad2.  They have suggested pictures to use and various ways to present this to my wife.  I shouldn’t be, but was completely amazed by the level of deep thinking and planning they were doing over a written assignment.

            When we are all finished self-assessing and peer assessing in our Google Docs we are going to upload them to our so we can attempt to gain feedback.  Students are hopeful to receive feedback since most of them hope to approach their audience soon to see if they can persuade them to take action.

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