Make Cycles

infographic of make cyclesYou can find our current Make Cycles in the drop down menu and on the Make Cycles page. New Make Cycle released every two weeks.


September 2020
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 31, 2020 September 1, 2020 September 2, 2020

All day: Mentor Texts

September 3, 2020 September 4, 2020 September 5, 2020 September 6, 2020
September 7, 2020

All day: Make Cycle 1: Make

September 8, 2020 September 9, 2020

All day: Read

September 10, 2020 September 11, 2020 September 12, 2020 September 13, 2020

All day: Watch TED talk and write lists

September 14, 2020 September 15, 2020 September 16, 2020

All day: Mentor Texts work

September 17, 2020 September 18, 2020 September 19, 2020 September 20, 2020

All day: Make Cycle 2: Make

September 21, 2020 September 22, 2020 September 23, 2020

All day: Read About the Authors

September 24, 2020 September 25, 2020 September 26, 2020 September 27, 2020

All day: Read About the Authors

September 28, 2020 September 29, 2020 September 30, 2020

All day: Mentor Texts

October 1, 2020 October 2, 2020 October 3, 2020 October 4, 2020

All day: Make Cycle 3: Make

Winter Session: Make 3

Winter Session: Make 3

decorative imageMake Cycle 3: Compelling Arguments

Jan 9-10

For this make cycle, you will create a composition that represents a specific perspective on an issue, and attempts to persuade its intended audience to think, act, or believe in a particular way. Along with narrative and expository writing, persuasive writing (also called argument and opinion writing) is one of the three writing purposes identified in the California and Common Core standards documents. While I do not think any text is that tidy–rarely is a text only expository or argumentative or narrative or whatever–we can gain something by focusing in on the ways texts are composed and looking at components of texts more closely.

Argument writing intends to convince readers that the ideas being conveyed are worthwhile. Arguments are often characterized by their use of what are called appeals to the reader. These are generally classified as appeals to the writer’s expertise and authority, called ethos (“Believe me, I’m an expert!”); appeals to the reader’s emotions, called pathos (“If you don’t act now, these puppies may be euthanized”); and appeals to the reader’s sensibility and logic, called logos (“Supporting the school bond measure won’t help just the schools, but the whole community”). As you think about working to create an argument in this make cycle, think about trying to balance these different appeals.

quote from Big LebowskiMake Cycle 3 in a nutshell:

  • Jan 9: Response to chapter 4 & 5 and Appendix E from About the Authors
  • Jan 10 (11th is okay too): Response to mentor texts and Make 4 due–Compelling Arguments!

Day 7: Jan 9

Today’s tasks: Read About the Authors Chapter 4 & 5 and Appendix E and respond

Prompt: You’ve been doing such exceptional work with this professional book. Let’s simply continue on our usual approach: identity some ideas from both chapters that are “take away” ideas for you or interesting or puzzling. Write an extended post (3-4 paragraphs), perhaps with a couple ideas from chapter 4 and a couple from chapter 5 and Appendix E. I’m thoroughly enjoying your insights into this book; thank you!

Post in G+ Make Cycle 3: About the Authors 4 & 5

Day 8: Jan 10/11

Today’s tasks: 1) Respond to mentor texts and 2) Make 4 due–Compelling Arguments!

Read the mentor texts below, which include children’s books and an educational blog.

(Link to more mentor texts here that support teaching argument; you might want to bookmark for your future classroom.)

  • “No Shortcuts in Course Design” (example educational blog)
  • Children’s books are great models for argumentative writing. I can imagine asking your students to look at the uses of letter writing offered in a number of these books below and then asking students to write their own letters of persuasion about something they need at their school or home or in the community.

Then, write a response to a couple of the mentor texts in which you address the following:

  • What craft elements do you notice that the writer of the piece is employing? How can you imagine using those craft elements in your own writing?
  • What text features do you notice? Consider elements like graphics, images and captions, and text size/color/placement. Analyze how these elements impact the effectiveness of the text and its message.
  • What do you infer about the author’s point of view and purpose for writing the piece? Analyze the ways the author acknowledges and addresses other perspectives on the issue.
  • What information does the text try to convey, and how well does it do so? Identify instances of bias and/or stereotyping within the text, and explain why the text might include it.
  • Describe how compelling you find the arguments within the mentor text. Were you convinced? To what extent? Why? What worked best? What seemed weakest?

Post in G+ Make Cycle 3: Ideas for Writing (arguments)

Make 4: Compelling Arguments! (*NOTE: It would be okay to turn this Make in by Saturday evening (1/11) if you need a little more time. I won’t be able to grade and respond to these until Sunday or Monday most likely)

Because arguments are ubiquitous, a word which here means they’re in pretty much everything you read, you will have many options for this make. Some possibilities:

  • Advice Column: Write an advice column by creating a letter that asks for advice, and then the advice columnist’s response that attempts to convince the letter-writer to do something specific. Advice columns often include resources and facts that will help the original letter-writer better understand the problem they have shared. Twist: Use a common, popular text as the basis for your advice column (maybe the farmer in Click Clack Moo is reaching out for help, or a Disney Princess needs some advice about dating, or Dany Targaryen wants some suggestions for making a good impression with the lords of the North, or … ).
  • Advertisement: Create a print, video, or audio advertisement for a product, practice, or idea about teaching. This could be a legitimate, real thing, or something that you’re making up. It could be for a thing that every teacher should have in the classroom, or a technique that teachers could benefit from using, or a stance/mindset about learning that could help teachers be more successful/effective. Have I Got a Book for You!  might help you think about the ways advertisements work. Twist: You could make your product be something comical, unrealistic, or outrageous.
  • Funding Pitch: Use the basic premise of the advertisement option above, but instead create a crowdfunding proposal (like those found on Kickstarter, or those presented on the TV show Shark Tank) for your brilliant teacher-focused product, practice, or idea. Piktochart has a crowd-funding infographic template that could work for this.
  • Letter Writing: Use the letter format to create an argument. This could be a letter to the editor about a current event or concern you’d like to weigh in on. Or it could be an exchange of letters back and forth between two (or more) made-up characters to provide perspectives on an issue. Use The Day the Crayons Quit, Click Clack Moo, and/or I Wanna New Room for inspiration. Feel free to twist this one as well, or course. You could even think about “under appreciated” objects in your life (like the crayons) and write from that perspective. I can imagine my eye glasses writing me a letter about the various places I leave them and how I take them for granted in the style of The Day the Crayons Quit.
  • Educational Blog: Argue for a particular idea in education, perhaps using our About the Authors book for inspiration. What do you want parents to know, for example, about teaching writing after reading their book and participating in our class? Here’s an example blog that I wrote for Connected Learning, but the Connected Learning site and Inside Higher Education overall are interesting examples of educational blogs that you could use for inspiration.
  • Children’s Book: Write a children’s book that shows kids how (or how not) to win an argument. Consider using Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus for this one, and maybe even explain a bit about ethos, pathos, and logos if you’re feeling particularly clever.
  • If you have other ideas for creating compelling arguments, just run them past me.

As always, be sure that you include a reflection that describes what you were intending, identifies the craft elements you included, and references any mentor texts that influenced your work. And comment on each other’s ideas as always!

Post in G+ Make Cycle 3: Compelling Arguments Makes