Essential Questions

sol March 21, 2016

Today I read over my students’ Essential Questions papers. I sat down at 7:45 and did not get up until 8:30 (this was the first batch.) As I read, I was amazed at the amount of effort most students took on their paper.

This was an activity that was not planned. We had scrapped it last week because were were afraid we would not have any time. But low and behold, my students finished their work early and we had about 30 minutes left in class. I decided that we would attempt to write the notes together.

How do authors use language, point of view and text structure to create meaning? Cite evidence from the 4 stories we just completed.

We created a chart to show what all of these areas meant, we listed the stories that fell into each category and why they would be good examples and then they were off. They were to work on their own, 1 week, to complete this paper. Is this too long for 8th graders, too short?

But, oh the papers are wonderful. I am so pleased with the results. There were students citing examples of personification and text structure of a poem from Emerson and point of view from Jack London. They have created a case to say that authors use these different devices to create interesting and insightful works.

After all the struggle, my students came through. I still have a handful that did not complete the activity because they forgot, it was at home,  or they just don’t like to write long papers. But all in all, I have been pleased with the work.

It takes a lot of work and planning to complete common core, but what a rewarding end. My students are taking baby steps but hopefully we will send them to the high school stronger, capable and confident writers.

It as a good day.


6 thoughts on “Essential Questions

  1. Definitely a good day! I’m not a teacher but…maybe I should be. The idea of helping children stretch their minds and reach within themselves really appeals to me. Or maybe I’ll just stick to parenting my trio and applying my wannabe teacher thoughts to them… Thank you for this and good work in the classroom!


  2. Those are days to celebrate. I had the opposite experience today. We received these amazing letters from bilingual students from Spain. I made a big deal about the letters and the fact that they were written in a language that wasn’t native to them. We went through all of them and came up with many things to write in our letters. Half of them put some good effort in. The other half whined about writing even one coherent sentence. I guess we need that Easter break…


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