Today, I post the room change on the door, as we are in a computer lab working on drafting creation narratives. As students enter the computer lab, I welcome them to "Just Because" Day, and note that today, "just because I said so," they'll be working on creating a draft of their narrative. As always, Daily Holidays are shared with the students to build a sense of community in the classroom, and break the ice as we transition to writing lab time today.
Before they begin writing, I ask for students' attention and, using the teacher's workstation in the lab, project and explain how to properly format a paper in our classes. Students are asked to make sure they follow the appropriate format for a paper, and asked to check this video (posted to the class Facebook page and the school intranet) if they need clarification in order to produce clear and coherent writing in which the organization and style are appropriate to task and audience (W.9-10.4).
Students have the bulk of the period to begin creating a draft of their creation narrative. The focus is on planning and drafting what is most significant for the specific purpose of expressing the creation of a local geographic or culture feature (W.9-10.5). Students are given time in class to ensure their focus and to provide me with an opportunity to gauge their on-task behavior.
Students are writing the narrative of the imagined experience of this feature's creation, using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences (W.9-10.3). In order to do this, students set out the situation or an observation about the local feature, establishing point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters (W.9-10.3a). Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters, students express the story of how their local feature came to be (W.9-10.3b), using a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole (W.9-10.3c). Students use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the creation (W.9-10.3d), and provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on how the creation is resolved over the course of the narrative (W.9-10.3e).
As students adjust to the computer lab, I circulate the room asking them to share their pre-write plans with me, providing me an opportunity to see where students are going with their essays and providing the opportunity for corrections to the paper if there are any.
With two minutes remaining, I ask for the students' attention; remind them we will be back in this lab again tomorrow and that they should be working on editing the draft they began today; and ask them to take the last minute or so to pack up their belongings, log off of the computers, and pick up any garbage or belongings they may have. This focus on cleaning up shares the sense of community and strengthens student ownership in our class and school. As the students begin packing up and moving around, I'm able to move from computer to computer assisting them with saving or emailing papers, or any other technical difficulties they may have.