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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Junior high students write letters to the editor

January 20, 2009

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Dear readers,

The following letters are the result of a lesson in persuasive writing. In order to give my students a more realistic experience in this process, I contacted Mr. Dennis Anderson of the Lawrence Journal-World about giving them advice on effective persuasive writing. I would like to thank Mr. Anderson for his time and effort when assisting me with this project. I am grateful for his time spent in my classroom, as well as his offer to publish these letters.

As you read the following letters, be aware that the students are new to the process of writing an effective argument. They researched their topic and were to include a good mix of facts and opinions. As with all projects within the school setting, this is a learning process that is always in progress. My goal for this project was to help teach these young adults how to present their personal opinions in a manner that is fitting and effective. It is my hope that constructive criticism will be provided to further stimulate the learning process.

Sally Landoll

Language Arts teacher

Southwest Junior High

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

After reading the recent letters by young people about their concerns Sally Landoll,Language Arts teacher, deserves recognition for the art of encouragement. The young writers deserve a hats off for moving forward with that project. Excellent performance on relating your thoughts to the public.Teenagers are selling themselves short. Put ingenuity to work and tell boredom to take a hike. More new buildings will not eliminate boredom. You young people can do it!Do any of the parents have space for a 4'X8' sheet of plywood to build a lego city that could involve more than one teen?http://shop.lego.com/ByTheme/Department.aspx?d=9&CMP=KAC-YAHOONA&HQS=lego+city How to get around: Use bikes and feet = exercise or public transportation. Walking or biking about town will provide a ton of exercise. Remember water.Do one day of:indoor poolgo to a moviework on Lego City ( we're talking 1,000's of pieces)have a gathering in a home – play cards take bike hikes to Clinton Lake on the bike trailplan a hike on foot ( 5-6 miles round trip with lots of water)Volunteer to help an older senior neighbor with yard workSchedule art project classes at the Art Centergrocery shop for Mom and Dadpart time jobplant an organic food gardenplay kick ball school groundstake up roller blade hockeyKU Natural History Museum board game party in a home4H projects – even for city slickers a wide variety*Prairie Park Nature CenterAbove are 17 days of stuff to do. If you have afternoon parties at in homes don't forget the music. These activities are necessarily "thinking outside the box" which is to say get on with it.Be constructive, Creative and Enjoy yourselves!

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 2 months ago

welcome to our comment threads Energy!I am one poster who welcomes hearing from the middle school and high school citizens in our community. ***Mrs. Landoll,I am glad you are putting the time in to teach your students this way. I assume you will include a discussion of outcomes and results of publishing their letters.

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energy 5 years, 2 months ago

I applaud Mrs. Landolls determination to make kids like me get into journalism by making persuasion letters that were sent to the paper. It gives me a humble feeling that kids might now be heard for topics that we talk about every day. Us kids apprieciate it very greatfully

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Judgesmails 5 years, 2 months ago

Informed's horned rimmed glasses are on too tight.Lighten up, Poindexter

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 2 months ago

Cleo, you're just plain off on so many levels. First, if your barb was directed at me, I was not attacking ANY of these children. I asked a question as to the grade level of the children. Second, I gave kudos to the teacher (the object of my initial post, by the way, since your reading skills seem a bit hampered) for undertaking this project. Persuasive writing (and speaking) is a skill that needs to be both taught and learned.And, finally, I stand by my assertion that I would have been appalled at the quality (not the subject matter) of the letters IF we had been told that they were written by ninth-graders.@merrill -- Speaking of using your real name, Richard... But of course you already know that all LTEs must have a full name, whereas posts here do not.

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lily 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, kudos to the students and teacher. I've seen examples of college students writing and let's just say not everyone has the same abilities for whatever reason. Maybe they would have done better if they'd had such a teacher.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Hey Sally,Your students are miles ahead of some. They put their real names behind the thoughts offered to the public. Great job and thanks to all who provided encouragement.Merrill

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 2 months ago

These are kids, for the love of God! Why do so call grown up men get off on attacking children? They need support and encouragement, not someone nitpicking until they give in and give up.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 2 months ago

demonfury wrote:"I can tell you that the work represented in this young man's letter was equal to the level of work expected of my 10th grader."Not sure that's exactly saying much. Could be that the standards for 10th grade composition are equal to the ability of a 7th grader? Two ways of looking at the coin.

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demonfury 5 years, 2 months ago

Informed - Don't be a condescending schmuck, I was simply stating that there are letters here that are written, in my opinion, well above a seventh grade level. I only chose to highlight the "Teachers shouldn't impose their views" letter as an example of a seventh grade student presenting work far above his peer level. I have a sophomore at LHS. I can tell you that the work represented in this young man's letter was equal to the level of work expected of my 10th grader. I was trying to relate to you that a blanket statment of appalling quality is unfair to say. By the way, you can find this letter on the front page of the Pulse section.

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 2 months ago

Woah, demonfury, way to defend your kidlet there. Do you not understand the meaning of the word 'overall'?? I did not single out any letters. The overall quality, of the whole body of letters (that means all of them) is about what I'd expect from 7th graders. Some are better than the average; some are below. I did not criticize your precious little one's letter. I cannot find a letter that is exactly entitled "Teachers shouldn't impose views" although I did read several on that topic. I even commented on one, about the critical thinking skills that the young author appears to be developing.So before you go getting on your high horse about your little Johnny or Janey performing at the ninth grade level, get out your dictionary. And, yes, I do believe that many ninth graders could/would have done a finer job. Remember that part of the assignment was for the students to research their topic. Therefore, I would hope they would share accurate information.

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demonfury 5 years, 2 months ago

Informed writes - Had you answered that they were in ninth grade, I would have been appalled at the overall quality of the letters. For someone who uses the name informed, you might want to consider the level of those who are informed and those who are not. The letter entitled "Teachers shouldn't impose views" was precisely correct througout with quoted regulations from the Lawrence Education Board Policy Manual. It was grammatically correct start to finsh, punctually correct start to finish, and quite impressive vocabulary usage for a 12 - 13 year old. For a 12 - 13 year old to be this informed leads me to question your statement. Did you know this information? How many ninth graders actually knew this information? Do you honestly think a ninth grader would have done a finer job on this topic? Would you be surprised if you were told that this writer is performing at a ninth grade level? So perhaps before you criticize the quality of the work you read, you should become more informed as to who the writer actually is, and how informed he is.

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 2 months ago

Thank you, Mr. Anderson. Knowing that they are seventh-graders helps understand their reasoning skills. Had you answered that they were in ninth grade, I would have been appalled at the overall quality of the letters. With that, I again give kudos to Ms. Landoll for undertaking this project. (And kudos to the JW for publishing the letters.)

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DennisAnderson 5 years, 2 months ago

These students are seventh-graders.

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 2 months ago

Ms. Landoll, what grade do you teach? Or, more specifically, what is the grade of the writers of these letters? I applaud your effort of teaching your students about persuasive writing and for taking that to the next level by having them published as LTEs. Now it will be your job to teach them about the responses they are receiving.

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