Lesson: "If I Could Visit" Destination Essay

Author: Marc Sheehan

Subjects: Writing, Geography

Instructional Level: Middle School

Skills: Descriptive Writing

Time: Two Weeks (1 for Introduction, 1-2 for drafting, 1 for peer editing, 1 for voluntary presentation)

Materials: Journals, writing implements, access to computer with Internet service, access to printer, paper

Objectives: The student will be able to identify and write about a destination they would like to visit.
The student will be able to produce an essay that meets grade-level expectations of length, style, grammar, and spelling.

Introduction: This lesson will be introduced with the following question being posed to the students: if you could choose any location in the world, where would you go and why? The students would complete a journal entry on that topic and be able to share with the class if they wish to do so. Within a day or two, the full lesson will be presented to the class, with an explanation of the requirements and timeline for completion, an example piece, a brainstroming session of possible destinations and reasons to go to that location (e.g. what can be seen there or what can be done there), and the production of a writing scaffold to better explain the format of the essay.

Procedure: The students will be given the following requirements:
Choose a destination to visit and identify at least 4 reasons they would like to go there (this can include sights and activities at the chosen place).
Produce an essay of two to three paragraphs:
an introductory paragraph stating what place they would choose to visit, identifying why they chose that site, how they would prefer to travel there, who they would likely travel with, and for how long
a body paragraph explaining their what they would like to experience there (e.g., what to do, what to see, what to eat)
and a conclusion that includes how they might feel during and after the visit to the site.
The sites and experiences must be ones that are appropriate to discuss in a school setting.

Students will be given time to work on their essays in class. This will include time for drafting and peer editing. They will complete their revisions and produce their final copies outside of class periods. If the students wish to share their work with their classmates, they can volunteer to do so.

Closure/Modifications: The students will have two weeks to complete their assignments. They will be given the opportunity to share their finished essays in class. Modifications can include: dividing the assignment into manageable parts, allowing for teacher editing throughout the writing process, the use of a scribe, the use of a dictation program, and altering the length or other requirements of the essay.

Assessment: Essays will be graded on adherence to grammar and spelling conventions. They will also be rated on content, length, and format: introduction, body, conclusion.

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