Day 19 – You Would Make a Pretty Good Couch Potato

Here’s a summary of what we did in preparation for and on Tuesday (10/25):

-We finished up our midterms for today and turned those in, but otherwise no readings because Julie came today!
-Julie teaches at Northside, has been involved with the Indiana Writing Project, has hosted student teachers before and will actually be hosting Joel next semester! She teaches 7th and 8th grade English and is also an RTI coach (RTI is a catchall for kids who do not have special ed resources but are falling short of the standards for some reason, who need small group and individual instruction. Here‘s more information on that.
-This assignment essentially has two parts – going to Northside with our surveys that we’ll be developing soon and writing a reflection on that, and then our video mini-lessons that should, most importantly, be helpful for Julie’s kiddos.
-Our list of assigned kiddos is in the assignment sheet, but Julie has assured us that these kids will be eager to participate, as Julie has tried to pick kids that would be receptive.
-One trick Dr. Benko gave us for interacting with these kids is saying things like, “Can you help me with my thing? I have to do this for my class and I’m learning to try and be a teacher, want to learn from you” Position the kid as an expert – they know a lot about school.
-This is not a tutoring session, as we’re just going to get to know some kids. We’ll be designing lessons for Julie’s kids, but they’re not only going to be the kids we’re talking to.
-Videos will be easier to make when we have actual 7th and 8th graders for frames of references for what middle schools understand/think as funny/etc.
-Julie does a great job of talking about student strengths, working with what they have and what they need.
-We used the document camera then to look at student examples, but we also came up with a list of what we think about middle school writers – our list included: fiction, drill and kill grammar, persuasion, formulaic – 5P essay, writing??? (more reading), not much creative work — opportunity (go back to formulaic), no modeling?.
-Here is what we noticed about the first student example –  it was a letter rather than an essay, it used evidence, had topic sentences, punctuation was good, we discussed the difference between organized and formulaic, there were paragraphs, it fit the genre that was asked of the student, it used lots of second person, they included themselves as part of the teen group, there was still creativity, they provided evidence from the article, and we could hear his voice (had a great hook – “We all love our technology, right?”) and said that it felt like he was invested in the topic.
-In the not so great student example with more red marks, we noticed the following – lots of spelling errors and grammar errors (there are patterns, making same mistakes “Mabie”), just writing everything that comes to her mind kind of feel/stream of consciousness/writing to figure out what you’re saying, feels like a social media post ahahaha, feels conversational, judgmental (“If you did that, you would make a pretty good couch potato”)/not part of the problem, clear progression, anecdotal, no quotes from the article, generic intro
-Afterwards, we realized that we should go for structure/organization before going for spelling when giving feedback; no one would want to get writing back if we circled every grammar/spelling mistake. Liv suggested pre-writing strategies, planning for organization.
 -Benko’s preference would be to teach “test writing” as its own genre, as these writings were on-demand.
-We should think about rhetoric triangle/writing as problem solving instead of as a template (scaffold takes away the thinking and makes it less engaging).
 -We will absolutely get feedback about our video lessons before we send them out into the world, too! (Not only grammar, but also craft/organization/etc.)

Thinking ahead:
-For our next class, Benko is emailing us the Atwell reading, and we’ll be creating our writing survey before we go into Northside!
-Can anyone think of ways that we can share these videos if YouTube is blocked?

-Rachel
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