Yesterday I read a bunch of global warming articles and denials, and it exhausted me. I don't want to fight with anyone; though I am passionate about many things, I am a poor debater.
So in the spirit of still challenging the students and getting some thoughtful writing, I decided to create a writing assignment that doesn't include the politics of global warming.
Instead, they began writing a report synthesizing the film, their own research (last two night's homework assignments), and their knowledge of the planet. The prompt asked them to discuss human activity that impacted the planet, the effects of those activities, and what we can do to better balance civilization and the Earth.
(Heh. Am I a hippie or what?) (Also, do you like how I threw in some Bloom's Taxonomy there? Yes, I'm just that good.)
The students had roughly one period to get their organizer completed and hopefully begin a first draft. This is only a two-day thing, so it's important for them to use their time effectively. Some students did a great job staying on task. I think I should just say that, "some students."
I circulated and helped the students differentiate between causes and effects, and they got better and did more work. I felt good and I think the students will be proud of their work. I know that I'm seeing some definite improvement overall.