Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thesis Statements...Do YOU remember?

I was invited into our sophomore English class yesterday afternoon to observe a lesson regarding thesis statements.  These statements are sentences (typically one) that explains what an essay is about.  Mrs. Oelke and her students put together notebooks that cover the topic and provide a point of reference.
As you can see in the above example, students were provided with four potential thesis statements for each story.  The first example is Harrison Bergeron.  One of the following sentences is a better example of a thesis statement.  Can you identify the best example (I do realize it is highlighted above)?

1. "Harrison Bergeron" is a better example of dystopian literature than Divergent.
2. Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" fits the description of dystopian literature.
3. "Harrison Bergeron" is about a society that doesn't even exist.
4. Vonnegut's story could never happen in real life.

In this case, it is sentence two.  Observing this lesson reminded me of how subjective the evaluation of a thesis statement can be.  Our students deserve great kudos for taking on this difficult challenge and persevering.

To add on to the challenge of this, our students were also asked to identify the genre of each thesis statement.  If you have a child in 10th grade or beyond, give them a quiz.  The answer is: dystopian.  Take it a bit further, what is dystopian?  Before quizing them, google search the definition :-).

Mrs. Oelke facilitated an excellent discussion with her students to strengthen their understanding of this topic.  It was enjoyable observing our students taking risks and sharing their belief whether they were correct or incorrect.

This is what teaching and learning is all about!

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