English class can be a tough sell to many students. Some see it as outdated or not relevant to their everyday lives or futures and bearing this in mind, I am trying a project that is completely different and hopefully current and relevant for them.

My grade twelve university level class is in the middle of their introductory unit which is a study of different essay styles. Currently, my students are looking at the styles of essays and creating presentations where they show the class the criteria for that specific essay and share an essay in that style which they have analysed but this is only a warm up to the summative task for the unit…

Enter the “Discipline-Specific Seminar” (I need a better name…). I know that many of my students are not planning on studying English in university so I wanted to create a task where they will research the writing required in their chosen field of study. In a nutshell, the students will be grouped based on what they plan to study in post secondary and will be researching what kind of writing is required at that level. They will then create success criteria, write a model text in that style,  create an engaging presentation to the class where they explain the criteria and have the students in the class analyse the model for its effectiveness in meeting the success criteria. I have also suggested that the students interview older siblings or peers in the discipline as well as an adult who works in the field as a means of gaining more information about the style of writing required. After the presentation, the students will be completing a piece of reflective writing where they will consider their contributions to the task as well as the learning that occurred throughout the project and its relevance to their current lives and futures.

I’m hopeful that the students will see this as an opportunity to prepare for next year and will go above and beyond my expectations.

Here is a link to my Gdoc assignment sheet and I would love any feedback or recommendations in order to make this a truly relevant and engaging learning opportunity.

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