For this unit on revolutions in 8th grade social studies, I have been trying to get students to understand why and how people revolt and also understand the legacy created from these revolutions. We spent some time studying the American Revolution and reading the book, My Brother Sam is Dead. Then I had my students write an editorial article in their blog from the perspective of someone living in the same town as the characters in the book. It was May, 1775, and indecision was in the air. They were an important voice in the town and they had to tell the townspeople what to do.
In this editorial, you must…
- Explain your position on the war. What should your readers do?
- Include the ideals that should be most valued by your community and how your position will support those ideals.
- Use at least two historical events that have led up to the war to help explain your rationale for part a.
- Explain whether the people should use violence (war) and why it is justified or not.
- Choose one character (Tim, Life, Sam, etc.) from your town (Redding) and explain why they are a good/bad role model for the other members of the community. Pretend that Tim, Life and Sam are actual people in your town, and that all the readers of the newspaper know who they are, but that they don’t know the reasons for their actions.
- Use persuasive language to not just persuade people intellectually, but emotionally as well.
- Connect all paragraphs to your main point.
- Follow the rules of good writing that you have learned in your L.A. class.
My introduction contains all of the following elements:
- a hook that draws reader in-makes me read on
- a carefully crafted thesis statement (one sentence)
My body paragraphs include all of the following elements:
- a clear topic sentence
- strong supporting evidence that is introduced and then explained
- a concluding sentence that tightly wraps up the main point.
My conclusion sums up the argument; it alludes back to introduction/thesis; clever; clear; concise; compelling
After several drafts and several peer edits of their articles, they posted it on their blogs. The next step was to get some feedback from the townspeople like a real political blog. They each had to stay in character with the voice they chose for their articles and now had to make one paragraph comments on the blogs of their classmates commenting on the other writers’ articles. This would continue to show them that their voice mattered and that there were other opinions out there. Here is the lesson.