School Writing Projects

Two major projects today. 1) I have to write a 2-4 page paper as a model for my students, so that they have a sense of how to write their paper on the invention of writing. 2) I have to put together a review sheet for the test my 7th graders will take tomorrow. Between those two things, there’s sort of a lot to do.

On the other hand, I now have files with six of these assignments: rubrics, paper outlines, sample papers, and much of the relevant documentation (photographs, short articles, a primary source, and suchlike). The kids wrote papers on Paleolithic art, the Neolithic Revolution, the Slate of Narmer, Palace and Temple in Mesopotamia, the Step Pyramid at Saqarra, and the development of writing. These papers now become part of my standard curriculum for 9th grade, and all I have to do is photocopy one set of the file papers for each kid, and they’ll be set to write the paper. Yay!

I’d like to do five more of these assignment collections for next year. That way I’ll have eleven, and the 9th grade can write one 2-4 page paper a week. I have to think about what those topics will be, but This means they will have 20 pages of solid writing done by the end of the term, plus intermediate assignments. And I can evolve a set of grading criteria. Instead of spending time and energy on figuring out what to assign, I can spend time working on improving their writing and their understanding of the material.

The five or six remaining papers I’d like to work out for the fall term are still a little uncertain, but I think they’ll be:

Human Evolution
Hammurabi’s Law and the Bible
something about underwater archaeology
Tutankhamun’s Tomb
something about ancient technology (stone-working, copper and bronze, weaving,)
Possibly Otzi the Italian Alps ice-man.

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