Writing Reviews Lesson Plan Standards Met: E1d: Read aloud fluently. E2a: Produce a report of information. E3a: Participate in one-to-one conferences with the teacher. E3b: Participate in group meetings. E3c: Prepare and deliver an individual presentation. E3d: Make informed judgments about TV, radio, film. E4a: Demonstrate a basic understanding of the rules of English in written and oral work. E4b: Analyze and subsequently revise work to improve its clarity and effectiveness. E5b: Produce work in at least one genre that follows the conventions of that genre. E6a: Critique public documents with an eye to strategies common in public discourse. E6b: Produce public documents. E7b: Produce functional documents appropriate to audience and purpose. Aim: The review, once a staple of many publications and notable in the past for its length and depth, has contracted in those same publications to little more than a paragraph in length. This lesson aims to build on prior knowledge students acquired in the Writing Paragraphs Lesson Plan by putting it to use. Students will write a one to two paragraph review of a cultural product—most likely a musical recording, but also a movie, television show, video game or book—in order to put their newly acquired paragraph- writing skills to use. This lesson aims, therefore, to teach students to write paragraphs outside the carefully structured worksheets employed in the Writing Paragraphs Lesson Plan, with particular emphasis, obviously, on using their own thoughts as well as developing, however primarily, critical thinking skills. Methods and Materials: Preliminarily, this lesson will depend upon a set of short CD reviews from Vibe magazine, whose editors have indeed reduced those reviews to one or two paragraphs. Students will select a cultural product that they know well and write a review analyzing its virtues and/or its vices. Students will burnish these short essays by editing and revising them in consultation with their teacher and with one another. Ultimately, students will display their finished essays in a bulletin board exhibition. The teacher will document the revising and editing process by using the "Paragraph Conference Form" from Jill Norris's Writing Fabulous Sentences & Paragraphs (Monterey, California: Evan-Moor Educational Publishers, 1997).
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