You should have heard the collective groans last week when I told my sixth graders we were moving into an essay project. Yikes. But I explained (again) our progression over the last few months — from learning about the origins of words, to how words are used in sentences (parts of speech), to sentence structure and usage, to paragraph writing. The next logical step is now to develop an idea into an essay (and our standards-based report card requires me to do this anyway — the essay is its own line item.)
So, we are moving into a persuasive essay project in which students are choosing a science theme to write about.
First of all, they are very interested in the world and its many issues, and a persuasive essay allows them a “voice” an important matter. Second, I am really working on writing across the curriculum ideas so that they don’t see writing as an isolated activity. Third, I want to have them create a multimedia aspect of their project (via Glogster). And fourth, I intend to publish as many of the essays and media posters as possible with The Voices on the Gulf, giving my students an authentic writing experience. I am also interested in extending the concept of the Voices on the Gulf site into other scientific areas. Some students might address the Gulf; others will be working on other topics.
Meanwhile, I am also working on my own project as a way to talk about my own writing process. My topic is about Fuel Cell Technology and its potential as an energy source in the future.
Curious about the assignment? Here is the handout package.
The Environmental Science/Persuasive Essay Project
Peace (in the planning, writing and publishing),