The Return to School (a.k.a. Learning about Constructed Responses)

The students trickled groggily into the hallways of school today, some struggled to remember their locker combinations, some couldn’t wait to show off their new Christmas/Hanukkah outfits, and others surprised their friends with belated gifts.  The return to school after any extended break is like starting up a car that has been sitting unused in a car port; it takes a minute for all of the pieces of the machine to re-engage and remember the flow of things.

Today, as we settled back into our day-to-day routine, we began exploring the world of constructed responses.  I first showed the students an array of Op-Ed articles to get their minds thinking about a variety of issues including the anticipation of New Year’s Eve, the “best” and “worst” of 2014, and the cancelled and then reinstated release of “The Interview”.  After a brief discussion, the students shared what they observed about the structure of Op-Ed writings, the topics explored by the writers, the opinion of the writers, and what support was used in these pieces.  In an activity called “Response to the Response,” they then had the opportunity to read and respond to one of the two Op-Ed pieces below in a three paragraph response:


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Finish whatever was not completed in class with in the “Response to the Response” activity.


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