ELA synopsis and comparison, part 2

Last week I gave you directions for a having students write a synopsis of a blog post by Josh Spilker, “What to do it you’re a talentless hack.” Here’s a shortlink to Spilker’s post on Medium: https://yctw.click/whatif

Today I’m going to give you directions for having students use those synopses as one half of a comparison.

The assignment for students

Find online the text of a commencement speech given at a college or high school graduation ceremony in the last five years in which the speaker gives graduates advice about how to find the best job for them. (Hint: Each year news organizations in the US publish stories about the most interesting and/or unusual commencement addresses. You can use the stories to help you find transcripts or videos of the speeches.)

Compare the post by Josh Spilker (https://yctw.click/whatif) that you read and condensed earlier with the message of the commencement speech you read/viewed.

In no more than 750 words, explain to someone who is not familiar with either presentation what you think is the major difference between the two. You can use the synopsis you wrote earlier as part of your explanation.

There are dozens of comparisons you could make. You must choose the one you think is most significant and give enough detail that your readers will agree with your position.

Summarizing Well Is a Tweet Skill

Participating in written group discussion is becoming an essential 21st century skill. Our students have to learn to “converse” in forums, newsgroups, and blog threads, as well as learning to answer short-answer and essay questions.

People must be able to summarize well in order to participate in written discussion. Quoting takes more space and can lead to plagiarism and copyright violations.

Your students may not understand the concept of summarizing, but they probably understand how to “tweet” on Twitter. Instead of asking students to summarize a something they are reading (paragraph, chapter, article, etc.) have them write Twitter posts.

Twitter accounts can be restricted to viewing by only a select group., which lets you use Twitter summaries for class activities, homeschool cooperatives, after school programs, book discussions, etc.

This information originally appeared in January, 2009 Writing Points, © 2009 Linda Aragoni