Argumentative Writing: Tales from the Trenches


       There's nothing like a cold and rainy Wednesday to burst your bubble.  I had been so happy about the way our wonderful argumentative essay unit was going. 

    "I am so proud, I can't ask for more," I told my husband one night at dinner. "The kids are writing like high school students!"

Just when I thought things were going really well, I was reminded that my students are only 12 years old.

        Well, reality is a harsh master. Today, while I was conferencing with students, I came across the following nuggets of wisdom:
  1. Health care is not a good idea for several reasons.
  2. Gun control means that people know how to use and care for their guns.
  3. 90% of all US deaths happen because of guns.
  4. If we were to have year-round school, teachers would run out of information to teach.
And my favorite:

     5.  Studies show that state testing causes vomiting on answer sheets.

     I love my job.  I love these kids.  Responses like these serve as a smack to my big, fat head.  A reminder that no matter how they look and act sometimes, my students are children. They have only been on this planet for twelve short years. In diapers for a quarter of their lives. 

     So I decided to enjoy the unintentional humor and looked at the situation realistically. I have over 100 students. Most of the essays have a lot of promise. I can handle five less than stellar research misquotes or misunderstandings.   I started emphasizing the importance of reading one's own paper before we conference.  I told period 7 that it might even save a life. MY life. They love when I exaggerated about how I take their errors personally. 

     Because I like to give others a chuckle when I get a plethora of funny answers, I shared these gems in an email to the other teachers on my team, the principal, and the assistant principals. I omitted names of course. 

     Let me tell you, I work with some clever people. These are some of the responses I received:

In reference to Health care is not a good idea for several reasons.
 -"This is why we are now serving double-deep-fried Whoopie bars in the cafeteria."

In reference to 90% of all US deaths happen because of guns.
-"Well, that solves the healthcare issue."

In reference to If we were to have year-round school, teachers would run out of information to teach. 
 -Oh no! They've heard what I'm like in June.

Regarding  Studies show that state testing causes vomiting on answer sheets.
-"It's true, but sometimes the teachers vomit on the test booklets also."

     Perfect day. I love my job. 

10 comments

  1. Hysterical - I'm taking these into school tomorrow to share :)

    Lynn

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynn! Sometimes, if you don't laugh you cry!

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  2. I am so glad I checked in here before I begin my day! Thanks for the smiles. Thursday is off to a good start!

    Julie
    OpenWideTheWorld


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  3. Your posts crack me up! I am SO there with you. Kids of this age are just pretty sure they know what they're talking about. I wish you could keep those essays and send them to them twenty years from now!

    Marion
    MentoringintheMiddle
    P.S. Look at me figuring out how to link to my site! Couldn't find it on Kristen's site (she's cleaning up her tutorials right now) so I just searched for it. Now why didn't I think of that earlier?

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  4. Oh, Marion, middle school kids are so funny aren't they? Nice job with the link! I'll try it right now!

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  5. If I had to grade over a hundred essays, I think I'd slit something vital to my existence! My hats off to you, ELA teacher! ;)

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  6. "I love my job. I love these kids. Responses like these serve as a smack to my big, fat head. A reminder that no matter how they look and act sometimes, my students are children. They have only been on this planet for twelve short years. In diapers for a quarter of their lives."

    I love this quote! You are right they are children. Sometimes we forget that in the day to doy!

    groovyeducator.blogspot.com

    Thanks for linking up.

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  7. That is a great linky idea! Thanks for stopping by!
    Darlene

    ReplyDelete

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