Ruth Corley, a Humanities teacher at The San Francisco School, recently incorporated Perspectives into a unit on the five-paragraph essay. She has shared lesson plans from her curriculum in hopes that other teachers will give students the opportunity to participate in the Perspectives series. To hear her students’ work, visit the Youth Radio Page. Below you will find Corley’s unit on writing and recording Perspectives, a how-to video from KQED’s Education Network, and information on scheduling a tour of the KQED studios.
All too often students are asked to write essays solely for the purpose of writing an essay, usually an arduous and formulaic process with little joy or creativity. Young people come to see writing as a task that is done for the teacher, or for a grade. Only when writing about a meaningful topic for an authentic audience does writing have power. As a teacher, I want my sixth graders to experience the impact their writing can have, on themselves, their peers, and their community. With this goal in mind, I asked them to each write a KQED Perspective.
In the next few paragraphs, I outline the curriculum for our unit. Lesson summaries are attached as PDFs, including essay and peer conferencing rubrics. Feel free to adapt these to suit your needs and style.
Writing Perspectives transformed my class. They explored challenging personal topics, formed connections with each other, and came to see themselves as writers who can make a difference in the world. As one student wrote, “Perspectives are like getting to share a piece of your soul with the outside world.” Enjoy the process. You will be amazed with the results.
Sixth Grade Humanities Teacher, The San Francisco School
Grade Level: This curriculum is geared for fifth to eighth grades, but can easily be adapted for high school.
Unit Length: Depending on how often you have writing in your schedule and how much time you give your students to work in class, the unit should take three to six weeks. I have attached descriptions of 11 fifty-minute lessons, including a class period for a publishing party. I recommend adding three to five class periods dedicated to in-class writing and individual conferences with students.
Class Time: I structure my writing periods using a workshop approach based on the following writing process: Prewriting, Drafting, Revising and Editing, and Publishing.
50 minute classes are generally structured as follows:
15 minutes: Mini Lesson
Introduces or reviews an element of process, writing craft, genre, or conventions.
30 minutes: In-class writing
During this time I circulate the class and conference with individual students. Occasionally, I interrupt the class to showcase students’ work to serve as inspiration or to ask students a question to help focus their writing.
5 minutes: Share
Students share their work with a partner, small group, or the class as a whole.
Models: To introduce each lesson, I played an example of a Perspective produced by a young person.The Youth Radio archive is a great source for examples. To frame their listening, I asked students to think about the following questions:
What is the author’s thesis or perspective?
What was it about their piece that made you care?
What connections do you have?
Standards:This unit aligns with the California English Language Arts Content Standards 1.0 Writing Strategies (1.1-1.3, 1.5, 1.6) and 1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies (1.1 1.2. 1.4. 1.5. 1.7).
Revising and Editing
Handout: Peer Conference Rubric
You can expand your lesson on writing Perspectives to include recording them. The audio makes a great addition to student blogs or class webpages. The screencast below will show you how to record in Audacity, a free audio recording and editing program.
A tour of KQED makes a great addition to a lesson on writing Perspectives. KQED offers tours of the Television and Radio Facilities for groups of approximately 20 people. The Television tour includes the two TV studios, the Production Control Room, the Editing Suites, and the Master Control Room. Tours of the Radio Facility include the Master Control Room and “Working” Studio. Call (415) 553-2849 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to arrange a reservation.
To arrange for a visit with Perspectives editor Mark Trautwein, email him at email@example.com or call (415) 553-2241.
KQED Education Network Resources
The KQED Education Network provides high quality, standards-aligned multimedia and curricula across multiple content areas: