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.

Synopsis and comparison: A 2-part activity

This posts is one of two that describe ELA activities that use as their starting point an essay by Josh Spilker titled “What to Do If You’re a Talentless Hack.” The shortlink is https://yctw.click/whatif.

Spilker writes to people who have discovered they haven’t the talent  to succeed at the career they envisioned for themselves.

It’s an unpleasant fact of life, that when they get to college, many students will make that discovery—or the discovery that they aren’t as brilliant as their high school teachers assured them they were.

Spilker lays out the options available to students who aren’t going to make it to the top of their chosen professions.

Part 1: Have students summarize the text

The first of the two activities students need to do is to  summarize the text. Here are the directions to give students:

Read Spilker’s essay on Medium. Condense his ideas into no more than 10% of the length of the original, which is 134 words. In your synopsis, retain:

  • The order of ideas.
  • The “voice” of the original essay.
  • Some distinctive wording from the original.

Next week, I’ll give you directions for having students use their summaries as half the research for a comparison.