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The Power of Choice
Transcript of The Power of Choice
“Any desires they once may have had as writers have been long buried under too many formulaic book reports, too many standardized research papers, too many attempts to analyze the authors use of…(fill in the technique)” (Gallagher, 2006)
“During the course of our school years we are forced to write essays on topics we don’t care a thing about just to make our teachers look good” (Todd, 17)
"Sometimes we have to take a step backward before moving forward" (Gallagher)
Various Activities to "get their feet wet" or get them excited about writing in general
The Power of Choice:
Inspiring Students to Begin
the Writing Process
“Our own experience instructs us that the secret of Education lies in respecting the
pupil. It is not for you to choose what he should know, what he shall do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Why Students Don't Want to Write
How Do We Get Them Motivated?
1. They need to make sure it's RELEVANT
2. They need CHOICE
3. They need PURPOSE and AUDIENCE
Sophomore English Model Unit
Unit Theme: Uniqueness vs. Conformity
Essential Question: How important is conformity?
Literature Studied: Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
Final Paper: What role does choice and free will play in the conformity present in Harrison's society? (Analytical Essay)
"The teacher can work students into the required
discourse slowly by designing writing assignments
that allow for partial student choice" (Gallagher)
*The Myth of the Boring Topic: Dollar Bill Activity
1. In your hand you have a wonderful dollar bill
2. How many of you have seen a dollar bill before? How many of you have CONSIDERED a dollar bill before?
3. In groups of 3 or 4, brainstorm 3 questions about a dollar bill. (For example: Why George Washington? What are the serial numbers for?) Take 3 minutes to do this.
4. Ask one person to write your groups TOP TWO questions on the board when you are finished.
5. On your own, choose a question that you find interesting and explore it/find the answer.
6. Write your explanation and share with the class (can be done for homework)
Turn and Talk - 4 minutes
Is this a "movie" you would pay to see? Why or why not?
How does this movie trailer spoof mirror formulaic writing?
What are the pros and cons of this type of writing?
What has worked for you in terms of motivating your students to write?
Traditional vs. Process Model of Writing
TRADITIONAL MODEL PROCESS (NEW) MODEL
Topic -teacher determined -teacher-and-student determined
Prewriting -limited or none -extensive
Time -limited -extensive
Help/Collaboration -none -extensive
Response -from teacher only -from teacher and peers
-summative -formative and summative
Revision -limited -extensive
Audience -teacher only -teacher and others
Structure -provided by teachers -provided by student and nature of topic
-Traditional model for teaching writing emphasizes the end result or the final product
-The New Model (Process Model) asks students to pay attention to how we reach the product
-Asks us to pay attention to the way real writers write: NOT in a linear or straightforward fashion
Motivating Through Different Learning Styles
PreWriting Activities for Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic Learners
In Regards to CHOICE!
Guiding Principle ONE
Let students choose their writing topics
"Young people are no longer constrained to reading printed material and writing primarily for their teachers in school settings-they can(and many do) write as part of a greater literate and literary communities" (Magnifico 2010)
1. Rhetorical Perspective: audience is abstract
2. Cognitive Perspective: focuses on process that writer makes individual meaning, audience is internal cognitive representation
3. Sociocultural Perspective: the audience is implied. Writer writes for a purpose in some social space. the writer is reacting to the world around them.
(Voxopop and Audacity)
Handling Objects Handling Props
Must be interesting
to the student
Must be both specific
(General Guidelines, Students Choose
Outside of research
projects, must be
within the student's
area of expertise
Guiding Principle TWO
Have a Choice:
"When writing serves a communicative purpose and is presented for a real audience, children are more willing to engage in deep revision of and critical conversation about their writing." (Magnifico)
respect of evolving identities of students
establishing mutual respect for students and teachers' expertise
fostering open communication among teachers, students, parents, and members of the larger community
in successful situations students can differentiate between literacy as a mastery of discrete skills and literacy as a means of navigating through life.
"Writers write when it makes sense to write, to develop identity in a part of a community."
The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, cause, or a person, or group of persons
ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; a public action having such an effect
“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”
― Noam Chomsky
“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.”
― John F. Kennedy
The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”
― Adolf Hitler
"We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong (in our clothes), and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."
Theoretical Perspectives of Audience
Literacy as a Lifestyle
Democratic Classrooms and Choice Theory
Revamping the Writing Assignment to Include Choice
Essay Topic: Using Harrison Bergeron and a historical OR modern figure (of your choice), explain how people find ways to maintain their individuality under the pressures of a conforming society.
-Be sure to address how propaganda plays a role in these societies.
Examples of Propaganda
Definitions of Propaganda
Links to Propaganda Techniques
Interdisciplinary Learning Unit
Combining Social Studies and English
-leads to more engaged students
-attention focused directly on student
-fundamental importance of the interest of the learner
-champions the rights of the student as a free personality (Counts)
-"clues to significant content can be found within the learner and can be developed fully in collaboration with a mature adult who fosters self-direction and independent thought" (Kilpatrick)
-a person's behavior is inspired by what that person wants or needs at that particular time
-meant to empower students and give them voice by focusing on their basic need for satisfaction in one (or more of five areas:
-survival, to belong and be loved by others, to have power and importance, freedom and independence, and to have fun (Glasser)
Page & Simmons, 2010
Progressive Education & Democratic Classrooms
Choice Theory (Control Theory)
Propaganda in the Media
Theme: Individuality vs. Conformity
Essential Question: Under the pressures of conformity, how are you able to remain an individual?
Mini Unit Topic: Propaganda
Essential Question: How does propaganda influence you individually and as a conformist?
Introducing Propaganda Activities!