An I-Pod Inspired Writing Lesson from NumberFix
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Teacher's Guide:

Dancing with the Math Stars

writing creative "biographies" for equations and graphs that just want to dance!

This lesson was created for WritingFix after being proposed by Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant Holly Young.

This writing prompt inspired by

Great disco music and 80's dance moves!

Click here to do a Google search for the lyrics to "Shake Your Booty."

A note for teacher users: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :

Pre-step…before sharing models of writing:  You need to get your students laughing about crazy dance moves before starting this assignment. You can either have them all stand up, put on some old music, and make fun of the dance steps from past generations, or--if you happen to have access to YouTube at your school (or know how to download one of their videos to your I-Pod), you can show a video clip from the television show "Dancing with the Stars," using the link below. If you can't see the video link just below, you are on a computer that doesn't allow access to YouTube; you can certainly watch the video later on a computer that allows you access.

 

Once everyone has been warmed up with some dance exposure, students are introduced to representing polynomial graphs through disco dance moves to imitate the shapes of the graphs. End behavior is shown with respect to the placement of the students’ hands. Students dance to the Powerpoint of the Graphs using a popular disco song like "Stayin’ Alive" by the Bee Gees or "Shake Your Booty" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

Students fill out the “Dancing with the Stars” graphic organizer. The term “shoulder action” is used to describe graphs with multiple terms; these graphs have strange behavior around the x-axis, but the end behavior or the general shape of the graph is unchanged.


Step one…sharing published models: Students need to look over the written biographies of dancing stars from the actual "Dancing with the Stars" show. Ask them to discuss the types of details (idea development) that they see being shared in the introductions. How are the biographies organized, and introduced? What words--especially verbs and adjectives--stand out? Have the students discuss the writing.

Tell students they will be creating biographies for dancers on an imaginary new television show called "Dancing with the Math Stars!" Instead of famous actors, this new show will have equations and graphs dance against each other. The biographies the students create must creatively show mathematical knowledge of the equations and graphs. These imaginary biographies will need to look similar to the actual examples from above, but also look like the student samples we provide here.


Step two…introducing student models of writing:   In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups should certainly talk about idea development, because that's this lesson's focus trait, but you might prompt your students to talk about each model's voice as well. Where did the student writers creatively use math facts in their "biographies" the best?

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.


Step three…thinking and pre-writing:  To get their minds back on the kinesthetics of dancing, students should be asked to dance their interpretations of the graphs one more time.

After some movement, why not have your students talk about dance vocabulary words? Ask your students to consider which vocabulary words from this four-page list might be applied to the mathematical concepts you have been studying in class?

Next comes their chance to choose a graph that they are struggling to remember. This is the graph that they will create a “Dancing with the Stars Biography” graphic organizer for, ultimately writing a draft of a biography for their "dancing graph or equation." Here is a list of twenty options your students might choose from when creating their dancers.

It might be a good idea to play disco music while students are writing and discussing what they are writing; some great music selections are Beethoven’s 5th (the disco version) and KC & the Sunshine Band's "Shake Your Bootie." If students are having difficulty coming up with personalities to assign their graphs, have them play with the interactive choice buttons on the Student Instruction Page until they find something they like!

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.


Step six (publishing for the portfolio): The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's Writing Lesson of the Month ning.



Click here for a great list of dancing vocabulary words
to share with your students.


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