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Assignment sequence: Middle Ages


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Assignment sequence: Middle Ages

  1. 1. Xxxx Xxxxxxx ENG333 Writing Assignment SequenceDescriptionThis is a research and writing assignment for a Seventh Grade class. It serves as aninterim project for their History studies focused on the Middle Ages. This is a multi-textural assignment requiring “text” composed of written word, detailed map, andillustration. The students have just completed the first portion of their studies of theMiddle Ages and are asked to research a particular topic relevant to the Middle Ages.From their research they are to compose a document that reflects what they havediscovered in their research. This document must be handwritten, be composed ofseveral “texts” including a written content, at least one map, and illustrations to supportthe written content. The document should be composed in such a way as to integrate theillustrations with the text similar to the “illuminated manuscripts” of the Middle Ages.The combined length of the document will be 5-7 pages.RationaleA number of authors have written of the benefits of instructional investment in inquiry,non-fiction writing and research-based writing that makes use of multiple “texts”. (WoodRay, 2004,2006) This encouragement supports the value of comprehensive explorationsof subject content through the use of supplementary materials. (Jester, 2003) The
  2. 2. integration of textural sources through composition of multiple “texts” has further beenreinforced in the literature. (Gee, 2007)Under CA Standards Content for the Seventh Grade study of History:7.6 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structuresof the civilizations of Medieval Europe.Under CA Standards Content for the Seventh Grade study of Language Arts:Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions appropriate tothe grade level.2.2 Locate information by using a variety of consumer, workplace, and public documents2.3 Write research reports2.4 Write persuasive compositions2.5 Write summaries of reading materialsObjectivesStudents Will Be Able To; • Locate information by using a variety of documents • Write with a command of standard English convention appropriate to their Grade level • Write persuasive compositions • Write summaries of reading materials • Write research reports • Compose multi-textural document • Extend their knowledge base from class work to independent research
  3. 3. MaterialsStudents Will Need: • Access to Library and reference resources • Composition Books for the final document • Writing pens • Colored pencils for illustrationPrerequisitesStudents will need to have basic competency as set by CA standards Content forcompletion of Sixth Grade. They will have completed the course of studies as outlined inCA standards through 7.6 and Medieval Europe. This sequence further assumes that thestudents have worked before with visual “text” that they have created with written text,although perhaps not integrated on the same page similar to so called “IlluminatedManuscripts”.TimelineThis sequence will require 1 hr per day in class instruction and a minimum of 1 hr perday out of class attention for the duration of 2 weeks.Procedure 1. Introduction and possible topic selection Present overview of the scope of the writing project, including expectations, and stimulate a discussion of list of possible topic based upon the previous study of
  4. 4. Medieval Europe. These might include Feudalism, Vikings, Guilds etc. 2. Modeling Several examples from previous students are presented for visual interest and writing style. 3. Document organization, outline etc A possible outline of an example document is developed with the class. 4. Library Time to peruse the library and choose a topic. 5. Draft preparation Students begin to organize and make first draft of document. 6. Draft review and revision, peer review In class peer review of drafts in various forms of completion, followed by revision. 7. Final presentation Informal individual oral reports to peers regarding their topic and experience.Inputs 1. Introduction to research Project 2. Guided selection of possible topics 3. Modeling of selections from prior students work 4. Reviews possible document organization 5. Facilitates library work 6. Supports group review and individual revision 7. Oversees final presentations
  5. 5. PracticeThroughout the initial phases of the project the students will have the opportunity to workwith the skills and knowledge of the above stated objectives as they invest time on task inboth articulation of the subject of their writing and in the actual research through multiplelibrary resources. This practice will be augmented with group and one-on-oneinstructional time. In addition, peer instruction will be a component to their learning.IndependenceThe primary opportunities for demonstration of proficiency with knowledge and skills inthe above stated objectives will be realized in the preparation and final creation of theirresearch document.AssessmentsAssessment will be conducted directly from the CA Standards Content as outlined above.The rubric will be composed of 4 possible levels of accomplishment for each of the 5assessed History and Language Arts skills. These will include: 1. Historical content, specific to the period 2. Language convention, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, etc 3. Response to reading, organization and development 4. Research, clarity and evidence 5. Summary, reflect underlying meaning
  6. 6. ConclusionsHaving lead such a writing sequence as this with a class of twenty-two pubescentstudents, I know that the greatest limitation to the quality of their experience and of theircreated documents is lies with the expectations and clarity with which the teacher is ableto convey and support the work. Since this extension of knowledge is dependent upon aprevious course of study that has already stimulated their interest, this specific writingsequence can be presented in a very simple form supported by the examples fromprevious students. The integration of different “texts” challenges some students,stimulates others, and allows everyone’s strengths to find a place for expression. I didnot have this sequence at the time that I actually worked through this project with a classso it was helpful to review what I had done and reduce it to the essential. I can more fullyappreciate the benefits preparing such a writing sequence beforehand than I could before.I also can see that reflection can be a very powerful aspect of writing instruction.ReferencesGee, James Paul, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.Palgrave. Macmillan; Second Edition, (December 26, 2007)Jester, Judith M. Remaining Seated: Lessons Learned by Writing. Voices from theMiddle 11.2 (December 2003): 13-15.Wood Ray, Katie. Why Cauley Writes Well: A Close Look at What a Difference GoodTeaching Can Make. Language Arts 82.2 (November 2004): 100-109.Wood Ray, Katie. Exploring Inquiry as a Teaching Stance in the Writing Workshop.Language Arts. 83.3 (January 2006): 238-247.