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Middle School Students Suggest School Improvements Essay Lesson Plan

Background: This Lesson Plan activity had its birth in a story published last May in the Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review. The East-Valley School District was looking for ways to improve their children's lives, so they turned to the kids of their community for advice. Among the school-related ideas they heard (I'm paraphrasing here):

Lesson Plan Goals: This lesson will:

Lesson Plan: Feel free to adapt these steps to meet your needs/goals.

  1. Share the activity idea with students. You will be asking them to respond thoughtfully to this question: What kinds of classes, activities, resources, or facilities would middle school students like their community to provide for them in school or after school?

  2. Set the ground rules for the activity, to include:

  3. Let students think about their essays for at least a day before they write them. Allowing that time will enable students to consider -- and perhaps organize -- their ideas.

  4. Provide students with class time to write a rough-draft essay. (This exercise can be done as word processing practice or as a pencil-and-paper activity.)

  5. A day or two later, allow time for students to edit and rewrite their essays. (Option: Assign editing/rewriting as homework.)

  6. When completed, students might exchange their essays with a classmate for peer editing.

  7. Invite students to share their essays with classmates. Post essays on a classroom bulletin board or pass them on to the school principal or local school board. Students might choose several essays to send to the local newspaper for possible publication.

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