The Generation Essay Assignment

Juniors in Room G17 were introduced to their first major writing assignment, a comparison essay highlighting and analyzing the values of the student and an adult they choose to interview. This essay is called the Generation Essay because it is intended to position students to consider how perspectives changed based on age and other circumstances.

For this essay, students will consider a broad range of values, from education to gender roles. They will prepare interview questions on 4-6 values they think will be relevant to their interviewee. Their interviewees can be anyone—neighbor, grandparent, friend, parent—so long as he/she is at least twenty years older than the student. As the student interviews, s/he will digitally record or take notes, adding interview questions to prompt dialogue. Students will then choose the two values that prompted the most discussion and compare their own perspective of these values with the perspective of their interviewee. In class, students have studied a sample paragraph so they understand the expectations for content and structure.

In the coming weeks, students will have two class periods with Chromebooks in order to draft and revise their essay in Google Docs. We will have mini-lessons throughout the next two weeks on thesis statements, organization, conclusion paragraphs, and run-on sentences. Students will apply mini-lessons to their drafts through revision and editing.

After students have a completed draft, they will work in small peer groups to provide meaningful feedback in content, style, and grammar. I will not grade or provide feedback on drafts unless students schedule a meeting with me before school, after school, or during a study hall or lunch period. Students who request a conference with me on their completed drafts will set a conference agenda (What type of feedback do I need?), and we will work together to find areas for improvement and make a plan for revision.

All handouts associated with this task are embedded in the lesson plans. Access lesson plans by clicking “Lesson Plans” under your child’s course on the menu of this website.