Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Lesson Worth Recycling

At a recent conference at the Denver Convention Center, I was quite fascinated by these trash cans:

Strange...I know!  The word 'LANDFILL' really caught my attention, and I was quite cognizant of my trash disposal for the three days I was at the conference.  Why use the word landfill instead of trash or waste?  To persuade!  The word trash would have only informed us where to put our waste, but the word landfill persuaded us to think twice about our waste and whether it was really for the landfill or the recycle.  I love how one word can have so much power!

Mrs. Schaeffer and I explored these ideas today with students as we explored various purposes for writing and generated lots of potential writing topics.  The lesson was a launch into A Raisin in the Sun, and our goal was for students to understand how writing purpose can shape a topic.  We narrowed the focus to family dynamics, a central idea of the play.

Check out this SlideRocket to see the structure of the lesson:

Here is a snapshot of the writing topics generated by one student today:

Click HERE for a Google Doc of this organizer you can use with students.  It's a lesson worthy of recycling!

This framework, adapted from Kelly Gallagher's Write Like This, is a great way to understand why purpose matters and could certainly be adapted for any content area.  It would be powerful to establish these ideas at the beginning of a school year and build on the framework throughout the year.

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