A unique idea for getting students to submit a good writing piece is to trick them! (Sort of, anyway!) Students create questions to ask peers, and those questions, in combination with peer responses, make compositions pretty easy to put together!
First of all, my 8th graders need to learn what biographies are, right? Writing a biography is the ultimate goal of the assignment.
Second of all, they love to talk about themselves to each other! lol...yes, they do!
So, we (my colleagues and I) have the kids compose 10 interview questions ahead of time. Then, we assign each student a partner in the class to interview---making sure they don't interview good friends. That's not too hard because our 8th grade averages about 450 kids. They tend to be pretty spread out amongst all the English classes. The interaction in the interview helps build new friendships in the classroom because they do learn a great deal about their classmates when it's all said and done. Plus, what's the point of interviewing someone you already know about anyway?
After the interviewing is done, students write up biographies about their partners! Minus a few biographies of those that would rather not have their information shared with the class, we get together for sharing time! This is quite interesting to me and the kids.
The biography is the final draft and the interview questions/answers can serve as the rough draft of the writing process!! The kids learn about each other, then extend their knowledge to classmates with presentations!
I must say, eavesdropping on the interviews (facilitating, I should say) is very entertaining. I love to hear my students talking one on one. The depth and direction of conversation always enlightens me. Plus, I love that many of them are in a "comfort zone" with just one other person for the first part. This kind of activity promotes discussion, interaction, and keeps the students engaged while the teacher steps back and acts as a facilitator!
After biographies are turned in, I score them 4, 3, 2, 1. A "4" is an "A"....and so on.
Part 2: The Five Star Blogger!
The "Five Star Blogger" is a blogger challenge Charity Preston has going on to stir motivation! The great thing is that it is a reminder to me not to stray from the true reason for this blog, which is to share ideas and connect with others also willing to share great ideas! You can see all other blogs' postings of helpful teacher information, tips, tricks, and more by clicking on the "Five Star Blogger" badge below! Those participating have linked up there.
Are you a "FIVE STAR BLOGGER" too? If so, take on the challenge!