I’m tricking my students into writing a research paper by having them write an open letter and then strengthen their argument by adding evidence. They were allowed to write about anything they wanted for the first draft of their open letter, and one of my 10th grade boys decided he wanted to write about girls who only like bands because the members are cute and don’t really care about the music.
I let him do it because I’ve found that shutting down a student’s idea at the first draft stage tends to make them more obstinate about the topic. I figured we’d get to the evidence-gathering stage, he wouldn’t be able to find scholarly sources and he would change his topic.
Well lo and behold, today he comes into class and tells me he’s changing his topic. Apparently, he couldn’t find any evidence and he figured he was being kind of hypocritical because he gets really excited about athletes he doesn’t even know and the only reason that’s different than fangirls is because it’s him. He actually told me that he realized that writing that first letter would be pretty condescending. He’s going to write about LGBT rights instead.
This next generation, y’all. There’s some good stuff happening.