Friday, November 16, 2007

Book report example and a conclusion

This is Riley's book report, minus his conclusion. I am so pleased that Riley listened to me enough to copy the two sentences (at some point, like they like in history class, he could paraphrase rather than copy exactly), give the title and author with a comma after the author and use the key word-- learned-- in his next sentence. Now, he should then have added a sentence or continued the last sentence and had that he can carry some of his learning into his own life, but that he did all of the above except for the last part, I am pleased. Many of you did not. Even just now, in Mr. Giroux's class, many of you could not remember to have the general topic sentences. History and English both require that.

Look, also, at Riley's first sentence of the first body paragraph. Now, he should have given the title, not 'in this book', but except for that, he has it all. He has taken the idea, what he learned about soldiers in the war and expanded on it. I love how he gives specific info and then ties it to the main character and then even starts to bring us into the next paragragh's topic!

Then, when Riley goes into the next paragraph, he doesn't just repeat, he builds. Now, yes, it could flow a bit better, but I'm pretty impressed-- following the format and having detail and explaining it to the reader--and only the second book report!

His conclusion to the second paragraph connects both his idea and the book. I am really pleased with what I see here. Riley won't tell you writing is his favorite thing to do and yet, by following and listening to the teacher (hint, hint), Riley is growing and becoming a fine writer. I can't ask for more than that.

His conclusion didn't quite work, so I didn't put that on here. He did do more than just copy and repeat his intro, which is what way too many of you are doing.

Read below:

This is Molly's conclusion. She is one of only a couple at most, and maybe the only one, who truly summarized and wowed us, or made a connection, or played it forward or made an observation. That's what I want. Your last sentence is your last chance to really make the reader sit up and take notice; use it. Repeating or just ending does nothing. Make the reader go, "Yeah! That's right!!"

Now, as for all of you, yes, many got check pluses. There was some terrific content. I am so impressed. And, as I said, I now know what might make the second part easier for you to do. When you finish a book, ask yourself, "How do I want to act because of this book that I read?" That should make connecting it to your life easier to do.

When writing about history, like this slavery or Civil War time, be sure and put us there in that time frame. Make it easy for the reader to follow you. I notice now that Riley didn't do that. That's okay. He'll keep growing, as will all of you.

There are others up on the bulletin board outside my door. Only a few; I put up ones that did the intro correctly. It did bother me that here in 8th grade too many of you forget the general topic--copying the sentencs or parapharsing them or turning the topic totally into your own intro words.

So, in summary. You are doing pretty well with content--do remember to connect it to a character in the book--this is a book report. But, format--intro, conclusion, even topic sentences and (too many) transitions can be a problem.

Format first, then content (because content can come out of format), and then errors (with format and content you can read outloud and catch the errors). That's what I want. Get each part in that order and you'll be one fine writer by the time you leave middle school!!

Looking forward to the projects. I've figured out how to get rid of my frustration: I will go back to me only saying the directions once and then students giving it back. Also, giving out my direction sheet actually makes it so you think you don't have to take notes. Next year? No written directions from me till students have taken their own in their own words.

What?!?!? That sounds just like when I was in school!! I think teachers (and as parents sometimes too) try to help, and in helping, we enable you to become less. Does that make sense?
See, I'm still learning too.

Have a great weekend. Benny is coming in, I hope on Monday! We begin true poetry writing.

No comments: