What are the qualities of a strong introductory paragraph?
A strong introductory paragraph presents readers with the general information necessary for the readers to understand prior to comprehending the point of the writing. Often, authors use strategies such as definition or classification to present beginning ideas, and may further use compare and contrast, as well as other strategies, to more fully illustrate the basic ideas necessary for understanding. Additionally, a strong introductory paragraph presents some kind of assertion or an idea that shapes the entire piece of writing. This can be called a claim, thesis statement, or something else, but the purpose of this assertion is to guide all ideas that follow throughout the rest of the writing.
What strategies can be utilized to determine themes in a text?
To determine theme, begin with concepts of universality, or the universal human experience, to which all can relate. Identify universal experiences in our own lives, then illustrate what those experiences may have looked like at other points throughout history or other places throughout the world. By understanding universal experiences, we are then able to identify which universal topics exist in literature, film, and other mediums. For example, first understanding that jealousy is a universal experience then allows audience members to identify events of jealousy within a medium. Finally, using contextual details and evidence from the medium, one can create a statement of belief or a claim for what the author wanted to "share" with their audience about the universal experience. Identifying a universal experience within a text and analyzing what an author is trying say (through characters, setting, events, conflict, etc.) allows readers to determine themes in a text.
Research shows that students who 'buy-in' to classroom lessons and activities develop a more meaningful relationship with classroom content. What are some strategies that can be used to generate student buy-in and personalize student learning?
One effective strategy for generating student buy-in is making students responsible for designing assessment expectations and criteria. To do this, ask students to assess the quality of exemplars and identify what components are necessary for the creation of high-quality, proficient work. A second strategy for generating student buy-in is engaging students in pre- and post-assessment reflection in respect to learning standards. When students are taught to reflect on their own learning, they are more inclined to take necessary steps toward achieving explicit goals in respect to their learning.