Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Weeks 25-29: Real World Argumentative Writing and the Final Unit

...and we're back! It's been a while since I've checked in. Between friends from LA coming up for Spring Break, two field trips (the AVID college trip and the SLOHS Choir trip), and Spring having most definitely sprung, it's been a little nuts over here. The good news is that we've been working hard on our argumentative writing since the last blog so there's not a lot to update on.

The week of March 31 we completed the District Writing Assessment on argumentative writing. Students had three days to read the prompt and provided sources, outline and form an argument, and physically write that argument. I've completed the grading of the assessment and I must say that must students are really getting it. Not only are they writing full, complete arguments but they're also upping their game and writing in an academic, scholarly, and professional way. I'm really proud of my students and their amazing writing!

Moving on, we started and finished our final argumentative writing unit, Tap versus Bottled Water. Last year, I was trained in the Cal State University's program, "Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum" (or ERWC). One of their argumentative units pits tap water versus bottled water. We've  taken a look at multiple sources written in different nonfiction styles. We've also taken a look at the vocabulary of each piece and discussed our evolving opinions on which type of water is better. What, to me, seems like a boring topic turns out to be engaging and exciting every year. The students are able to craft excellent arguments as we work towards argumentative writing in the real world: an argumentative letter. Their final products look amazing and I'm so proud of the hard work and dedication my students have shown!

Looking forward, I've made a few adjustments to our schedule. The big changes are that I'm no longer assigning an Independent Book Project for the 4th quarter and we'll also not be reading "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. I took a look at our calendar and with essentially four teachable weeks left in the school year (not including state testing and the last week of school; we're still about six weeks from the end of the year), time was not on my side. My students are still required to read for 20 minutes each night, Monday-Thursday, but can now choose the novel that they want to read. In lieu of "The Giver", we'll be diving back into creative writing with our poetry unit. It's always a fun unit to end the year on and I know my students will really enjoy it.

Lastly, the WEB program. It's the time of year where we say goodbye to this year's WEB leaders and gear up for next year's. All 7th graders are encouraged to apply to be a WEB leader. As the coordinator and teacher to ~120 of them, I see a lot of AMAZING leaders on our campus (and especially in my classes). If your son or daughter is interested in a leadership opportunity on campus that won't take over their elective class, WEB is the program for them. Please be advised that all WEB leaders will be required to participate in a 2-day training in August just before school starts as well as the orientation day. Since your son or daughter is part of Laguna's first 7th grade class to go through the WEB program, I know they'll be excellent leaders next year. We're looking for leaders from all different backgrounds and leadership experiences to join the crew. If you think your son or daughter would benefit from this experience, please encourage them to apply in the next coming weeks when it's announced.

Question for the dinner table/drive home:
1. What elective are you looking forward to next year?
2. How is argumentative writing different in a letter than it is in an essay?
3. Do you see yourself as a leader? Why or why not? What leadership qualities do you already have?

Warmest wishes,
Kevin Laffin

Class website: https://sites.google.com/a/slcusd.org/laffin/home

Join my Remind classes to receive reminders and updates. Text the following codes to 81010:
Period 1- @laffin1
Period 2- @laffin2
Period 3- @laffin3
Period 4- @laffin4
AVID (Period 6)- @avidlams

No comments:

Post a Comment