Image via Wikipedia
As any teacher knows, the best professional development either introduces us to a new idea/text or gives us an easily implementable classroom idea or assignment. I’ve had great luck over the years using teacher-bloggers as my own personal learning network, and a recent interaction with That Writing Lady is a great example.
TWL stopped by my blog recently and left a comment, and as usual, I returned the visit to find her blog. The entry that caught my attention was one titled A 1-Hour Assignment that Stops Kids from Failing–great title, right? Upon reading further, I found the prompt really inspiring for use with my current unit on The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is obsessed with honesty throughout the book, one of the values listed in TWL’s example, and I thought it might be interesting for my students to reflect on their own values while also getting some practice with personal essay writing.
Here’s the prompt I came up with, adapted from TWL, and gave to my students:
Part of Holden’s struggle in The Catcher in the Rye is that he sees examples of cruelty and insincerity all around him, and cannot understand why people treat each other this way. While he himself is also flawed, Holden’s obsession with morals and values is part of what makes him distinctive as a character, and his inability to reconcile how people should behave and how they actually do contributes to his growing instability in the book.
What is an important value that you have? (Examples of values: honesty, compassion, kindness, teamwork, self-respect, faith, perseverance, loyalty, forgiveness, leadership, patience, creativity, service). Why do you think that this value is important? Be specific and detailed; give examples of how and when you think people should demonstrate this value, or use stories from your own life to illustrate the importance of this value or how it has affected you. You may use “I” when writing to describe your own beliefs.
This writing will be graded, both for your use of detail and for sentence construction, organization and grammar, so leave yourself some time to review your work before submission. Brainstorming for a few minutes and making a rough outline would also be good uses of your time. You will have 50 minutes to write.
I’ve gotten the first batch back so far and I’m so pleased I tried this out! Once again, my teacher-blogger PLN really delivered, and I’m hoping someone may benefit from this entry as well, fueling the fire of virtual collaboration. Thanks again, TWL!