FIVE Practical Tips for Using BOTH texts in the Ideas Series

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
1 0 304

Ideas in Argument and Ideas in Literature 

by John Williamson, Mary Jo Zell, & Elizabeth Davis

#1 - Emphasize the importance of IDEAS

  • Ideas lead students beyond the literal
  • Ideas provide a broader context for analyzing all texts (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Idea-focused reading annotations lead to deeper understanding and more insightful analysis
  • Ideas combined with perspective or insight result in understanding a writer’s purpose or theme
  • Idea-focused thesis statements and lines of reasoning create a unified and sophisticated argument

#2 - Teach the Big Idea Workshops at the beginning of each unit

  • Frame instruction using the “I do - We do - You do” model
    • I do - review the student-friendly lessons, relevant examples, and helpful reference tables
    • We do - guide students through the practice text with targeted skill focus
    • You do - allow students to apply their knowledge with a text perfectly paired to the targeted skill
  • Use the workshop texts that were chosen to align with the targeted skill (no need to recreate the wheel), OR if you wish, substitute a text focused on the same skill (these questions will need very little tweaking). 
  • Encourage students to use and study the reference tables.  Because of the overlap in composition skills (e.g., thesis, line of reasoning, evidence, and commentary) and analysis skills (e.g., ideas, perspective, author choices, purpose/theme), the consistent format and content in the reference tables will foster useful transfer skills.

#3 - Put it All Together in the Idea Collections

  • Build students’ knowledge base for providing context in their analysis with the Ideas Collections introductions.
  • Use the skill-focused questions to encourage deeper understanding by examining how rhetorical and literary choices work together to reveal purpose and meaning in a text.
  • Encourage more precise and nuanced analysis through the increasing difficulty of the cumulative course skills.
  • Fulfill curricular requirements (if applicable) for American and British historical and literary periods with anchor texts in each Idea Collection.

#4 - Develop Process Writing Skills with Scaffolded Instruction

  • Teach the writing process with composition workshops designed to build skills that will transfer to FRQ success. 
    • Language workshops include assignments for the methods of development, the building blocks for arguments
    • Literature workshops include assignments for each major element of literature
  • Guide students from composition basics to sophisticated arguments with the scaffolded instruction, templates, and models
  • Emphasize the parallel between reading and writing skills by connecting the instruction from the reading and writing workshops in each unit

#5 - Prepare Students for On-Demand Writing with Consistent Steps

  • Frame writing instruction using the “I do - We do - You do” model
    • I do - guide students through the targeted instruction in the consistent 4-step process for each type of Free Response Question aligned to AP Classroom
    • We do - review a practice prompt and text with targeted skill focus and model responses for each step in the workshop
    • You do - allow students to apply their knowledge with a practice prompt and text perfectly paired to the targeted skill (or substitute your own prompt and passage if you wish)
  • Utilize reference tables, models, and templates to assist students in building their writing skills
  • Emphasize the increasing difficulty of the reading and writing skills as students are asked to write with more complexity and sophistication