January 24: B Day

Today was just incredible, chock-full of brilliant ideas from earnest minds.

Students will begin a big project, the Mockingbird Collaborative Essay Assignment. This is a group essay written paragraph by paragraph. Instead of students having to respond to teacher-written prompts, which are boring at best and impossible to answer at worst, students will devise their own essay topics. This is a key skill in upper-level English classes and in college! Also, it makes the essay more interesting to write because you have say over what you’re writing about. So today we learned how to select a topic.

1. First, we went through this sheet: Writing a Thesis Statement Mockingbird (W7)

2. Then, Ms. Garvoille demonstrated how to think on the spot, turning a question into a thesis statement. She made her own idea chart in front of the class.

3. Next, students worked on their own idea charts to gather their evidence, ideas, etc.

4. We then took a little break for some notes on thesis statements. Here are the notes: Thesis Statements

Here’s what to fill in:

What is it? A statement of a position you will prove to be true

Why do I need one? It tells your reader where your essay is going

How long is it? Usually one sentence, up to three sentences [You should only use more than one sentence if you are a very confident writer or if your topic is very complex.]

Where does it go? The last sentence(s) of your introduction before your first body paragraph.

When do you use it? Persuasive essays, i.e. all History and English essays

A good thesis statement has the strength of DADS:

Debatable: Can you have an argument about it?

Analytical: Is it relevant to the field (i.e. English or The Outsiders studies) or is it your random opinion? [Example of your random opinion: If Jem were a historical figure, he would be Abraham Lincoln. This is random and unrelated.]

Defensible: Can you prove it? Is there evidence?

Specific: Does it answer the questions how and why?

HW: None