Grade 8 Exploratory Writing students have been working to communicate with real audiences in real ways. Greg Jardin, Middle School Exploratory Writing teacher, believes writing for a real audience is one way to help middle school students to see the impact of their words. Students began the persuasive writing unit by writing persuasive text messages/emails for different audiences. From there, they then wrote TripAdvisor restaurant reviews as well as a review of a product and/or experience. This included reviews of airlines, music, movies, books, technology, tourist attractions, online gaming, and other things that interested them personally.
Finally, they finish the unit by writing OpEd articles on a topic of their interest and choosing.
Throughout the unit, students have written daily writing prompts that are responses to online OpEd articles from the New York Times’ The Learning Network. Students chose a writing prompt that piqued their interest, read the original article the comment was based on, wrote their own responses, and then actually submitted these responses online. Every few weeks, the New York Times reviews students’ comments and features ones that they feel were well done. Last week, four of our students were chosen for this honor.
Each year, grade eight students seek to publish their writing online. They have already made a great start. It will be a bit harder for them to get their OpEd pieces published. In the past years, they have seen great success. There is a range of sites they have been successful on, but the more noteable ones have been the Chicago Tribune, Huffpost Teen, The Learning Network, and Teen Ink. With Teen Ink, many students have won recognition in the forms of “Article of the Day,” “Front Page Feature Article,” “Editor’s Choice Award,” etc. Two SSIS students even had their articles actually published in Teen Ink’s print magazine. We can’t wait to see where they get published this year.
We are very proud of our Grade 8 writers. Real formats, real situations, real audiences.