We are over at the Heinemann PLC Series this week chatting about mentor texts & discovery . Read — and watch — more here!
We are over at the Heinemann PLC Series this week chatting about mentor texts & discovery . Read — and watch — more here!
Hello, friends! Oh, how we have missed you!
Allison and I are still in the midst of finishing our new book on teaching analytical writing, but we couldn’t resist a quick check-in with you to share some of what we have been up to!
Yesterday we had the great fun of doing an hour of virtual professional development via Google Hangout with a department of teachers from Farmington High School who are searching for better, deeper, more meaningful ways to engage their students in writing literary analysis.
We all know that traditional, academic literary analysis — the kind of 5-paragraph themes you and I wrote in high school — don’t really work. Students hate writing them. We hate reading them. At best, students have successfully followed a formula that has allowed them to regurgitate what they have heard and discussed in class. At worst, students limp through the motions, inserting ideas pilfered from Spark Notes and badly-written Internet essays.
So, that doesn’t work. What does?
As in all writing, students’ process and writing products must be authentic if we are going to get buy in and engagement. Here are just three reasons that the literary analysis writing we teach and students create must be authentic: Continue reading
Maybe you’ve got the broad strokes of teaching with mentor texts — show students authentic examples of writing in a genre to guide and inspire their own writing.
But what does this look like in your plan book?
How do you move students from reading like readers to reading like writers?
How do you introduce mentor texts to your students?
And how do you plan for regular bursts of mentor-text-inspired writing and for entire units of writing study centered on mentor texts?
Join us for three-sessions that will help you build a mentor text foundation with your students and use that foundation to grow confident, inspired writers! With your registration, you get access to the recorded sessions for one year — so even if you can’t join us live, you won’t miss a second of the hands-on, mentor-text-centered work and collaborative learning!
Sign up here with Heinemann today! We can’t wait to learn with you & fill your plan book with inspiration for your students.
Today’s guest post is from Elizabeth Oosterheert (@oosterheerte). Elizabeth currently teaches middle school language arts and directs the 8th Grade Theatre Troupe at Pella Christian Grade School in Pella, Iowa. She enjoys leading sectionals on young adult literature and writing workshop at the Iowa Reading Conference and the Heartland Teacher Convention. Her passions are writing beside students and encouraging students to use their gifts on stage.
“Scientists seem to think there are no living beings up there…just chalk, or fire.”
Reading Rebekah’s post about tiny writing and the necessity of publication for young writers at the end of October inspired me to adapt some of her ideas for my eighth grade writing workshop. My students and I are engaged in a year-long autobiographical writing project that culminates in the publication of a class book featuring student photos and compositions. This year, our autobiography is entitled “Memories and Miracles,” a reference to our 8th Grade Theatre Troupe production of The Secret Garden. The goals of the autobiography are to engage each student in writing that is personally meaningful and fulfilling to him or her, and to encourage student growth as speakers, writers and thinkers as they prepare for the rigor of high school.
The autobiography consists of the following introduction and five chapters:
Today’s guest post comes from a California teacher that we met at the Southland Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference in October!
Noël Ingram currently teaches English 10, Cinematic Arts, and Yearbook at Da Vinci Communications in Hawthorne, CA. She conducted her undergraduate studies in English and Psychology at the University of California, Davis, and earned her teaching certification through the LMU|Teach for America Partnership. She believes in the power of stories and values people who speak their truth. Various pathways to Noël’s heart include books, cats, coffee, tea, running, line dancing, and colorful office supplies.Want to connect? email@example.com; http://www.dvcnoel.weebly.com
At my school, projects drive the learning process. Each grade level team collaborates to create project deliverables that are connected. Sometimes, students create one large product at the end, with each class focusing on a particular piece of the final creation. Other times, our team decides on a big driving question and then focuses on answering the question a little different within each of our classes. Regardless of the approach we take, the content that kids learn in each class is essential for them to be successful in their other classes. For example, students may be required to incorporate content from their Chemistry course into the story they are writing in Humanities. The main characters from this story may then form the basis of the app they code in Computer Science. We work through a minimum of two projects a semester and the kids publicly display their work at Exhibition once a semester. I teach 10th grade English and Cinematic Arts in a blocked schedule, and I have the freedom to allocate the time however I choose. I do not divide my time into an “English” block and a “Cinematic Arts” block. Rather, I teach films as “text” and weave in basic film concepts that will assist students in creating their own pieces.
Our last project, “Case Closed,” explored the following driving question: What is evidence and how is it used to make a case?
By the time students come to me, they have a relatively solid understanding that “evidence means quotes”. However, I don’t want my students to think that quotes are the only form of evidence out there. I want them to view their world as brimming with pieces of evidence to analyze including images, films, texts, and behavior.
I want students to see that the themes explored in Hamlet are timeless and very much present today. I want students to make connections between their favorite films and T.V. shows and the literature we read in class.
When we as teachers say “analysis,” most students automatically think of the five-paragraph, literary analysis essay that they have been trained to write since middle school. Unfortunately, I rarely ever see any authentic analysis in these types of essays. Plagiarism runs rampant and much of the essay is simply parroted information from Shmoop, SparkNotes, or other similar sites. This project could not be plagiarized from study sites. Students were required to think deeply about the text and make intertextual thematic connections.
We did a whole-class novel study of Hamlet. We watched the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2009 TV adaptation of the play in class, pausing often to discuss and analyze key moments.
We begin all genre studies in our workshop the same way: with a genre immersion. I screened our “mentor texts” in-class, while students took notes on their “noticings.” After the first viewing, students discussed at their tables what they noticed and then shared-out whole class. I then shared with them a little bit of context about how the genre of video essay is currently being defined.
I relied heavily on pieces from the YouTube channels Nerdwriter and Every Frame a Painting, intentionally choosing pieces that focused on film concepts we had covered in class to reinforce their cinematic knowledge. I also included a few more experimental forms so that they could see some of the range of the genre. Please note: If you plan to use any of these videos in your own class, please watch them beforehand and decide on the video’s appropriateness according to your unique class community. My students all sign a permission slip that allows me to screen rated R material for curricular purposes.
After making a list of their own noticings, students discussed which features of the genre they thought were the most important. They then shared these features out in a whole-class discussion. I took notes of what students were sharing on a google doc and then used their notes as the basis for the checklist I used to grade their final cuts.
To guide students in the creation process, I had them submit work for four checkpoints. They were allowed to use any video editor they liked and I did not provide any direct instruction in video editing. Most students used either iMovie (as an app on their phones) or WeVideo. We had a little bit of a snafu when our school’s content filter would not allow me to adjust the settings to allow students to have access to YouTube to find video clips. Students then either found their clips at home or used their cell phones to save clips to their Google Drive. There are many browser extensions that students can use to download video clips to use in their projects. Additionally, Subzin is a helpful resource that allows you to search movie quotes. Students would use this to find additional sources of video that they wished to use in their project.
Some topics that students chose to explore included:
Students tended to show clips that were far too long. I believe this came from their personal attachment to the clips they chose. They frequently chose to look at their favorite movies or TV shows and had a difficult time cutting down the length of the clips, instead wanting to show every part of the scene.
Even though I taught a mini lesson on analysis vs. summary and had students analyze a mentor text, indicating which parts of the voice over were analysis and which parts were summary, many students still struggled with this. Next time, I plan to modify this project by requiring students to submit the files of the clips they are using in a separate checkpoint and having students fill out a say/mean/matter chart for their clips prior to working on their script
Students didn’t have as many opportunities for peer feedback as they usually do during a genre study. Next time, I will add in a “rough cut” screening so students can receive ample feedback before submitting their final cut.
Requirement of a Voice Over
Some very effective video essays are created without the use of a voice over. Thus, I told students that they could create their video essays without a voice over, but that they should keep in mind that this is a more challenging option. Unfortunately, the vast majority of students who did not use a voice over in their project made their choice based upon the erroneous belief that it would be “easier,” rather than because it was the best artistic choice for their vision. Students were overwhelmingly unsuccessful at communicating their argument without the use of a voice over.
This is a project that I will use again. The video creation and use of their favorite shows and movies immediately engaged students, while the foundation of our study in video essay mentor texts held students to a high level of rigor. As the deadline loomed nearer, many students approached me to share that they found this project “so much harder than [they] thought it would be.” I responded, “you’re right. This project is really difficult because it’s hard to create beautiful work that people care about. Let’s see how our mentor texts can help us here.”
How do you use film as mentor texts in your classroom? How can you see students using video essays to engage in authentic analysis within your curriculum?
Today’s guest post is from teacher Melissa Surber. Melissa teaches 11th grade College Prep English 1, 12th grade College Prep English 2, and AP Literature and Composition at Troy Buchanan High School in Troy, Missouri, an hour north of St. Louis. She is in her 18th year of teaching and just recently became National Board Certified. Connect with her at @ELAWordsmith.
Mentor Text: Speech in the Virginia Convention by Patrick Henry
Teaching college bound juniors is a blessing, but teaching college bound juniors early American Literature, well, that’s always been a challenge. Over the years, I have learned to navigate the world of Olaudah Equiano, Red Jacket, and Patrick Henry by focusing on their use of rhetoric, specifically how they create ethos, pathos, and logos to influence their audiences. Focusing on these elements has given me a direction in teaching texts that may not be as accessible or significant to students.
Several years ago as I passionately described Patrick Henry’s balanced and effective use of ethos, pathos, and logos, I had an epiphany: why not prove to my students Henry’s genius by using his speech as a mentor text for their own speech about a current issue. Luckily, there never seems to be a shortage of major news events. The first year, I had students consider the Benghazi attack. Then they wrote about what the U.S. should do about ISIS, then what the response should be to Syrian refugees, and this year, after much anxiety and some sleepless nights, I made the decision to have students consider the issue of the police shootings of unarmed black citizens. Part of me wanted to stay away from the issue, but my heart told me my students needed to be able to articulate their ideas about these weighty events. Often, the discussion about this topic, especially in our small rural suburb just north of Ferguson, Missouri, involved yelling and divisiveness. I wanted to encourage my students to consider how to reach people’s minds and hearts with a more balanced and thoughtful approach.
Providing students with current event background: By the time we read “Speech in the Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry, we have been discussing rhetoric for several class periods. Before we begin reading, I provide students with information regarding the event we will be pairing with our reading. I usually give them a news article or infographic and have them watch a news broadcast. I have them examine:
I function as notetaker and clarifier during this discussion.
Setting the stage for students to write a speech: I then ask students to choose the solution they believe to be the right one. I say, “Imagine trying to convince an entire room of intellectuals who are scared and uncertain that your solution is best. The entire room disagrees with you. How do you make them listen?” I preface Henry’s speech by telling students his words are partially responsible for our country’s creation, so he knows how to persuade. Because of that, I tell them, we are going to use his speech as a mentor text for our own speech about ___________ (whatever issue is prevalent at the moment).
Analyzing Henry’s speech as mentor text: We then proceed to read. We examine Henry’s ideas, but primarily, we analyze how he creates them. Often, I pair students in a modified think, pair, share to analyze his writing moves. Below are the items they discuss and try to create in their own speeches.
We continue reading, pausing to discuss and write.I help give students a focus by giving them this handout: speech-in-the-virginia-convention-teacher-copy. Together, we think about the following:
We work our way through the speech in that way, with students analyzing his rhetoric and then using it as a mentor for their own. By the time we finish reading the speech, students have created a persuasive speech at which they marvel. It has the necessary argumentative components of claim and counterclaim, but it also has beauty and imagery and style. Below are excerpts from two students’ speeches.
Making it meaningful: Students then type their speeches and sign them. I send them to politicians. Some have been mailed to the White House, some to Missouri Senators, some to our local Representatives. I also tweet excerpts to political leaders as well. For some students, it’s their first foray into civic responsibility; for others, it teaches them a finessed approach to argumentation. For all students, they develop a different aspect of their writing voice, one more authoritative, persuasive, and effective.
How do you use classic American speeches and other literature as mentor writing in your classroom? Leave us your ideas below, connect with us on Facebook, or Tweet Melissa @ELAWordsmith.
In our 9th grade Reading Writing Workshop, most writing studies are genre-based. Occasionally, we center our writing studies around a writing technique. But in my 12th grade IB English class, things are a little different. We still use a workshop approach to writing — we move through writing processes in different ways and at different paces, we make small-and-steady progress, we learn skills together, and we still use mentor texts to guide and inspire our writing.
In this class, though, the four IB assessments — both written and oral — focus on the analysis of literature. And, so, I shift my practice in this class out of necessity and out of the best interest of my students who are working hard to earn college credit.
My students need consistent practice writing about literature. But I still want their writing to be authentic — to look like what real writers do. And I still want their writing to be guided by their passions.
Finding Writers’ Passion about Shakespeare
So, after our study of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, students spent a few days jotting in their notebooks and chatting in small groups about the elements of the play that interested them, that excited them, that made them want to know more. While they no doubt sensed that we were working our way toward a piece of writing (they are on to me!), we didn’t say the word “writing” or “paper” or “essay” or “analysis”. We started from a place of curiosity.
If this sounds vague, it was! I wanted my instructions to be big and broad — and I wanted students to interpret them in as many different ways as they could. My fear here was limiting them or ramping up their natural writing anxiety to the point that they chose the first,easiest idea that came to mind.
They were already a bit primed for this task as they had just finished writing a piece of “wholehearted analysis” — analysis of anything they wanted. We had already walked together down the road of identifying our passions and using our expertise to lend authority to a piece of analytical writing. What I hoped to do here was extend that authority and enthusiasm into a piece of literary analysis
Finding Mentor Texts to Support Authentic Writing About Shakespeare
After students whittled their lists down and started to find a focus, they needed some mentor texts to help bridge the gap between their vague clouds of ideas and the necessary gathering of information that leads us into drafting.
Not knowing what their particular passions were, but wanting to convince them that this, too, would be a piece of real and authentic writing, I gathered a different kind of mentor text into my cluster. Instead of finding a bunch of pieces of writing about literature in a specific genre, I searched for pieces of real-world analysis specifically on Shakespeare.
What do real writers write about Shakespeare in the 21st century? After just half-a-planning-period searching, here’s what I found:
Mentor Texts for Wholehearted Analysis of Shakespeare
Close Reading of a Passage: “By Heart: Shakespeare – One of the First and Greatest Psychologists”
Analysis of Shakespeare’s Moves on Another Text”: “How Shakespeare Would Have Ended Breaking Bad”
Shakespeare’s Central Philosophy: “What Was Shakespeare’s Central Philosophy”
Analysis of a Character: “Hamlet Was a Bro Who Didn’t Even Like Sex”
Review of a production: Review: ‘The Merchant of Venice’ With Extra Fog, Moral
Tracking a motif / symbol through the play: 50 Shades Of Shakespeare: How The Bard Used Food As Racy Code
Tracking a trend in Shakespeare’s Language: Forget His Coinages, Shakespeare’s Real Genius Lies in His Noggin-Busting Compounds
Studying Mentor Texts for Analysis of Shakespeare
Together, we read the mentor texts and made sure they had the essential elements of analysis — a claim, reasons and evidence, a logical structure, authority, passion, and a real audience. This served as a helpful reminder to students of the elements their piece must have to be considered literary analysis, too.
Studying these mentor texts helped students refine their ideas — firming them up, erasing them completely, replacing them with stronger ideas. Many students wrote pieces that bore no topic resemblance to the mentor texts studied. Still, students used the mentor text for ideas about kinds evidence to include, what tone to strike, how to engage readers while retaining intellectual authority.
Give it a whirl!
I feel certain your students write about literature! Give it a try — spend a few minutes searching for writing about the author your students are studying. What do real writers write today about Salinger? About Hawthorne? About Conrad? About Dickinson?
I bet you’ll find some things that surprise you!
And then think about how this will fling wide the opportunities for your students to write literary analysis that not only matters to them but might also possibly matter to real readers.
What authors do your students study? How might your students find areas of passion even between the covers of the literature you teach? Find me on Twitter (@RebekahOdell1), on Facebook, or leave us a comment below!
I love swimming in writing studies for weeks at a time with my students — immersing ourselves in mentor texts, gathering information, writing off the page, talking out our ideas, drafting, revising. But when the average writing study lasts 3-5 weeks, it’s hard to keep the momentum and excitement of seeing a piece through to completion. Last year, I dabbled with mini writing units between big genre studies, like writing our own Buzzfeed lists. But this year, I’m getting even smaller as I find ways to support tiny writing publication.
Inspired by Allison’s post last year about finding time in workshop by extending notebook time through a 5-day week, I have been using extended notebook times as opportunities for tiny writing studies. Before I tell you about what we have written, let me tell you why this works:
For a tiny writing study, I use my regularly scheduled notebook time — the first 5-7 minutes of class when we play, explore, and discover in our notebooks. (If you want to know more about all the ways we use this time, we dedicate an entire chapter to it in Writing With Mentors, and you can check out our session on notebook time at last spring’s EdCollab Gathering.) Each day, we build on and expand our writing. By the end of our fifth class period, we have a piece of writing that is ready to publish.
On day 1, I direct students to a slew of mentor texts and ask them to skim, scan, and look around for 5-7 minutes to get a sense of the genre. I don’t specify which mentor texts they should look at because I want there to be variety. This will help make our noticings more thoroughly developed tomorrow.
Next, I grab a marker and we make a list of our noticings on the board. How is this thing made? What is it composed of? What will they need to do to create something in kind?
Students have been learning how to make noticings since the very first week of school. This is awesome practice as they continue to practice and refine their reading-like-a-writer skills.
Students copy this list of noticings into their notebooks so that they have them as we work throughout the week.
In most cases, I reserve the middle day for trying — writing their own version of the mentor.
This often extends into homework. For example, when we did a “Humans of …” series, students needed to actually interview and photograph people outside of class. So students used the “Try One” class period to brainstorm and share interview questions. When we wrote haikus, students tried their hand at writing a few during notebook time, but then they selected their favorite for homework.
On the fourth day of a tiny writing study, we share and then revise. We keep the task of revision simple: make your writing better.
We keep publication simple, too. Publication simply means “going public” and sharing our work in some way. But you don’t need to have a big author’s celebration every time. Here are some simple ways we publish:
It is so easy for me to make publication an after-thought — a nice-to-do but not necessary. What I forget is that this is the step that takes my kids from students to real writers. This is where we get buy in and show students that their words are real and that their writing matters.
Ready to try this with your students next week?
The secret to a tiny writing study is in the size. The product has to be very, very small in order for students to successfully study the mentor texts and produce their own original piece. Here are four tiny writing studies that have worked for me:
This week, my ninth grade classes studied two-sentence horror stories. (You can find oodles of these on the web, but here are some I share with my students.) We noticed that there was a lot of sentence variety, that they built suspense, that they usually begin with something ordinary and then twist it into something scary in the second sentence.
Students wrote their own and then Tweeted them. You can see some of them here:
Allison came up with the brilliant idea to teach reading like a reader versus reading like a writer through haiku — something so small and so concrete students could quickly see the differences between their readerly observations and their writerly observations.
Using mentor texts from The New York Times’ haiku contest, student made noticings and ultimate wrote their own haikus about places they love.
Based on Humans of New York, students interviewed and photographed people around a theme they invented (Humans of My Neighborhood or Humans of the Trinity Basketball Team or, my favorite, Humans of Teenage Drama). By the end of the week, students had composed three slides, each featuring an image and bit of an interview.
I compiled all of these into one giant slideshow that we enjoyed together.
This is slightly bigger than tiny, but I’ve found that students are so well-versed in listicles that they can quickly pick this up and put it together.
Students worked on their own original list in the style of Buzzfeed. They incorporated images, gifs, and videos to support their list and boost reader engagement. Best of all, Buzzfeed allows you to submit your lists for publication on their site! Publishing for a big, wide Internet audience boosts students efforts in a race to see who will get published and who will get the most “likes”. One student even had his list featured for a day on the Buzzfeed main page!
I’m constantly on the lookout for great tiny writing projects. Here are two more I want to try this year:
The Player’s Tribune, a site started by Derek Jeter, features writing by pro athletes. What a gold mine! While only some of these pieces feature enough craft to really be used as technique-teaching mentor texts, many lead to big-time inspiration for our student writers.
I’m dying to have students look at the series Letter to My Younger Self, in which athletes look back and give themselves advice. Students will love finding the insightful, personal letters written by their favorite athletes and then composing their own letter.
One way that real adults write is in the form of crowdsourcing pitches. Sites like Kickstarter and Donor’s Choose rely on savvy pitch-writing and story-telling to elicit funds from donors!
Using this as fodder for tiny writing would be so much fun. It’s a very authentic form of writing, and it also asks students to be inventive. What would you want to raise money for? Maybe a film you’ve been dying to make or a video game you want to produce or a book you want to self-publish … or maybe a car for your sixteenth birthday! Students will learn to write persuasively for strangers (or in order to persuade their parents!)
Let’s pool our resources! What ideas do you have for units of tiny writing? Leave a comment below, find us on Facebook, or Tweet me @RebekahOdell1.
Today’s guest post is from our friend, Betsy Reid. Betsy is a colleague of Moving Writers founders Rebekah and Allison at Trinity Episcopal School, where she teaches AP Language and Composition
and serves as the head of the department. For the past 20 years, she has taught all grades and levels in both public and private settings in Virginia and North Carolina. Betsy graduated with a B.A. from Meredith College in 1995 and obtained her Masters in Educational Leadership from VCU
in 2008. Most recently, she was a contributor to Argument in the Real World by Troy Hicks and Kristen Turner (set for November release.) Join her on Twitter @ReadBReid Wednesday nights for #APLangChat and follow her classroom adventures on Instagram @mrsreid_tes.
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
If you are a Moving Writers regular, then you recognize these words. Rebekah has made some of her most important teaching discoveries while repeating this mantra, and just a few weeks ago, I did the same.
Rebekah’s room at school is just like the kitchen at a party: It’s in the middle of everything, and everyone wants to stop in. I learn something new every time I walk in the door, and if it’s not busy-mom life hacks like online grocery ordering or kid dessert ideas, it’s something about writing.
I walked in one day early this year when I was struggling with making a fundamental change in the way I teach writing in AP Language. I had taken a good, long look at The AP Chief Reader report, and it spoke to my heart. I had been teaching with the College Board-provided sample essays and rubrics, and I finally realized that my student’s writing mentors were anonymous student essays from AP Central. They were developing arguable claims, but few that they really felt passionately about. They were Integrating conflicting viewpoints, but they sounded inauthentic. The were explaining how rhetorical choices work but they were not making these choices for themselves in their own writing.
Basically, my students were seeing professional writing as something far-off; it was something to analyze, but not something they could ever achieve for themselves. I looked at Rebekah and said I thought it was time for a change, and some serious mentor texting. Of course, she said,
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
Nothing makes my teaching day better than when I think of a lesson that will have students practice several skills in one shot. In my beginning AP writing assignment, I wanted them to show me all that they had learned since the first day of school:
I decided to go big by starting small: The Letter to the Editor.
Here was my process: Continue reading
We recently received this email from Angela in South Dakota:
I am writing about a podcast interview that you did with Talks with Teachers. You had mentioned you did a unit on using text evidence, and it hit me at my heart as my students struggle with providing relevant evidence in their writing. I searched your blog tags and did not find any resources. Would you be able to share some advice or do a blog post on ways to help students who struggle with this?
So far I have had them do some self-review and peer review on their own writing. They are just starting to see that they aren’t being effective in their use after the fact. I wish they would be more productive during writing to self-check and self-review their work. I know some of that is age and disability getting in the way.
One of my big goals for my SpEd students is to be able to have an opinion but also be able to give reasons so text evidence is important!
I’m going to make a bold statement: evidence is the biggest weakness in student writing. Copious, persuasive evidence and unique, compelling voice are the two elements of writing that have most distinctly separated my student writers from the pros.
Yes, text evidence. But also so much more.
“Whoa, Rebekah”, you’re thinking. “That’s pretty broad.”
You’re right. It is. Intentionally so. Students are traditionally taught that evidence can be 1) quotes from a text and/or 2) research. Consequently, we get to teach finding-and-using evidence twice: when we teach literary analysis and when we teach research writing. And students practice this skill only a few times per school year, depending on how many literary analysis or research papers they write.
But, when we broaden the definition of evidence, when we teach that evidence is critical in every genre of writing, students suddenly have an opportunity to practice thoroughly incorporating evidence into every single thing they write.
When you think about it, evidence is really at the heart of so many of the problems we see in student writing:
How do we teach this broad understanding of evidence?
These days, I teach about the evidence writers use in each genre study of our year. When we study poetry, we look for poets’ evidence. When we study memoir, we search for memoirists’ evidence. Ditto commentary, review, analytical writing.
But a few years ago, when I first noticed this big gap in all student writing, I taught a technique study solely on evidence.In March of that year, I realized that in every writing genre of the year, students had lacked in the ability to support the purpose of their writing. In this study, students could write in any genre they wanted, and using oodles of compelling evidence was the only requirement.Here’s how the unit went: