I have been thinking of trying something and I want to write it out here, to see if I think it might work. I teach something called “cubing” in workshops. It is just a way of writing reflectively that works really well for most people who try it. My seventh graders have the annual 7th grade writing test coming up, and I’ve been thinking about how to prepare them for it.
The district writing prompt is a response to literature. Before we give that, we give a practice one. So, three writing assignments in a row. The parts of cubing are these:
Compare & Contrast
For the first practice, the students will (re)read the story, “Thank you Ma’am” by Langston Hughes. So, they would begin by giving a brief summary of the story. Brief. Then they could move to describing climactic scene of the story. Next, “This reminds me of…” something in their own life. Followed by compare and contrast it to another story or the situation mentioned in their life. It’s similar in that…, it’s different because…Next they would analyze the climax of the story for why this episode may have been important to the life of the boy, followed by how he might apply this new learning, how he was changed by it. The conclusion would be an argument in favor or opposed to the way the woman handled the attempted robbery in the story.
I know that is all rambling, but I think that if I can practice it with them, they might be able to get it. If they did, I think it would work well as a response to literature. We might start off by each of them making a cube of paper with the parts of the essay (name and what it sounds like) written on the sides. They could keep that cube in front of them as they write.
It is certainly no more scripted or formulaic than Step Up to Writing, and it would make a far richer essay in the end. I’m gonna try it. A ver como salen…