Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Debunking and I-search Essay Forms

Screenshot from "Debunking"
While I was researching Samoset, Massasoit and Metamora for my latest U & D post, I ran across an interesting short essay "Debunking a Popular Internet Lesson Plan."  In my Wabanaki blog post, I urge teachers to have students write an I-search essay on the "truth" of a sub-topic of King Philip's War.  This "Debunking" post provides an excellent model for that type of essay.

Working in four colors, one for calling attention to main points (could be used for other purposes), one for quoted secondary source found false,  one for summarized and/or quoted text from primary/secondary sources providing refutation and citation, and a last for author's commentary, the post author (historian and author Caleb Johnson) makes his points clearly and concisely.  Using this form, students do not need to worry about formal essay format, complete paragraphs, or source citation (it is built into the form).  To create a true I-search essay, students would also insert personal goal, previous knowledge, and process statements, creating a threaded journal of research decisions and strategies.

In effect, creating a blog post.  I highly recommend this as an alternative to the "report" form, even though that form appears in the new Common Core Standards.  Let elementary students and published authors write reports (few now do, by the way).  Let our middle and high school students metacognate on what they are reading!

The I-search essay:

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