On Thursday after posting, I realized that I hadn't walked the students through the process of taking those revision notes and creating that new draft.
So that's what we did on Friday. I quickly reviewed word choice and sentence fluency, then I put up my poor first draft with notes, and I told the students to rewrite it better. I was really impressed--they combined sentences, moved things around, added interesting words, answered the "why?" and "where?" type notes, and were also able to add their own voice into my paragraph. The high-level class was most impressive, but the other classes did well too, and I was so blown away and happy! Naturally, I told them so.
Overall, I was very pleased with the work and the students in all three classes. In my last class, two students who have a history of causing problems instead of doing any work WROTE FULL DRAFTS! It was fantastic and I felt very proud, because they were working on purpose, and it was all so great.
I'm giving the middle class one more day, because they only get single periods on Mondays and Fridays, so tomorrow they'll be doing some rubric evaluation.
The other classes will begin work with An Inconvenient Truth. We should be able to do some warm-ups about what they know and vocabulary about global warming, and then watch the first 25 minutes of the film. I think after that I will let them talk about what they saw, and then do some writing. In the workshop where we teachers did this, our writing prompt was, "What evidence is there that global warming is real?" or something like that. And I certainly like that, but I think I'd like the students to do a bit more than that.
I want them to have questions about global warming and the film, and to write reflections about how the film made them feel, and I want them to brainstorm and research what things they can do. When I saw this the first time, I was struck that this planet is going to be in big trouble in my students' lifetimes. This is real and this is serious, and I want the students to react appropriately. I hope they will be able to research their political representatives and write real letters that we can actually send to Washington.
Earth Day is in April, along with Poetry Month. I'd like to combine the two, and do some poetry about the planet and global warming and all that not-so-warm-fuzzy stuff. If the students are able and ready to create some kind of project, that would be really fantastic, but we'll see.
In closing, last week was very productive for the students and for me--they did some great writing, they were able to do some real revising, which is the hardest but most fun part of the writing process (in my opinion, anyway), I hope they felt proud of their work, and mostly, they did good work on a half-week right after a long break. Good job, kids!