Thursday, August 21, 2008


Opening Activity: Make Do's and Don'ts Posters
(In small groups, use one piece of chart paper to recall everything we should DO in our college essays, based on yesterday's lessons, clip, and articles/samples...use a second piece of chart paper to chart College Essay Don'ts. This will help students do most of the review and allow the teacher to comment only as needed.)

Q&A from yesterday: Read & answer any questions from the exit slips

Homework Share out: What surprised you in the Family & Friend Inventory? What was confirmed?

Create Chart: Positive Qualities, Stylistic Techniques, Potential Problems/What We Dislike

Lesson/Activity: Examine UC Prompts and Samples...discuss strengths, stylistic choices, what essays reveal about applicants, first at tables, then as a whole group (Teacher reads aloud all 3 while students mark comments, then discuss each)
UC Prompt #1, "Your world": "Baking" essay
UC Prompt #1, "Your world": "Softball" essay
UC Prompt #2, "Talent": "Marathon" essay
Supplemental Prompt, "Talent": "Hurdles" essay
Common App Prompt #1, The "Stroller" essay
Common App Prompt #1: The "Iranian-American" essay

Writing time: Select one of the prompts to respond to. Use the samples to help guide you and generate ideas.

Partner share: What's going well? What will you work on next?

Writing time: Select one of the prompts to respond to. Use the samples to help guide you and generate ideas.

Introduce Peer Response Protocol and use protocol to review a partner's draft.

Writing time: Make revisions or add to your draft based on the comments from the protocol. Continue to use the samples/articles to help guide you and generate ideas.

Exit Slips: What went well today? What are you nervous about, or wondering about, in terms of these essays, or college in general?

Friday, August 8, 2008



Following today’s session, students will be able to:
• Identify characteristics of powerful college essays and describe what to avoid
• Examine a variety of essay prompts, including UC prompts and Common App, and identify potential challenges
• List significant personal experiences
• List positive adjectives to describe themselves
• Rework potentially negative adjectives (i.e., procrastinate→good at working under pressure; shy→good listener) into positive ones
• Freewrite about significant experiences

Introductions and icebreaker: name, high school, hobby, college interested in, and something in the next year you’re excited about

Provide an overview of the week:
Monday: Examining prompts & prewriting
Tuesday: Examining more samples & drafting
Wednesday: Taking Risks and Effective Intros
Thursday: Revision & Style
Friday: Conclusions, Editing, Formatting, & Reflection

College Quiz and debrief: what does this make us think about in terms of selecting colleges?

Chart: What are colleges looking for? Then share Stanford acceptance envelope page and compare.

Film Clip: Gilmore Girls, Season 3 episode 3, “Application Anxiety” (from after opening theme song to approximately 10 minutes—until Lorelai and Rory are at the grandmother’s house and after Paris’s frantic phone call that shows she, too, is freaking out). Debrief--what does this clip reveal?

Small groups: Read, annotate, and discuss “The ---- That Changed My Life.” In what ways does it overlap/expand what you saw in the GG clip? What other advice does it give (add to chart)

Choral/Pointed Reading: "To Throw a Pot" (teacher reads aloud while students underline/highlight instances of good writing, then teacher reads aloud again. This time, students chime in by reading aloud any portions they underlined/highlighted. Detailed directions for choral reading are here.) Discuss: which parts were most popular/effective? Name strategies and techniques the writer used.

Small groups: Examine prompts—Common App and UC (word count & topics)
• What’s going to be challenging?
• What ideas spring to mind?

Getting Started brainstorm: list and discuss either adjectives or experiences

If time permits, write to Freewrite #1 (choose any topic)

Homework: Family and Friend Inventory chart (run this off on both sides so students have 2). Students should ask a parent, friend, neighbor, or other peer or family member to complete the worksheet. Bring it back tomorrow.

Exit slip: What went well today? What questions do you have, either about the college essay or the application/admissions process?