Middle School Writing with The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie

Middle School Writing with The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie

Is Barbie a phenomenal example of pop culture influence who has sparked creativity and joy? Or is she a sign of the ills of our society that has brought about poor self esteem and vanity?

Take a look at Barbie through multiple perspectives while learning more about the changes she’s undergone and the biography of her creator, Ruth Handler.

We’ll read the book The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie and write two multi-draft essays based off our work.

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Class Duration: March 1-April 25

Class Size: 3-10 learners

Age Range: 11-13

Total Price: $110

In this 8-week class, students will learn foundational academic writing skills including thesis statements, topic sentences, paragraph focus, and transitions.

They will practice these skills through themed writing assignments based on the book The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone.

Provided materials include reading guides and activities to help with vocabulary and comprehension as well as writing tips to apply to short, informal writing assignments.

Most importantly, students will compose two multi-draft papers with individual video feedback on rough drafts and the opportunity to revise a final draft.

We’ll meet live each week to discuss the readings, learn about specific writing techniques, and troubleshoot challenges writers are facing as they work on their projects.

The feedback for this class is highly personalized with video feedback on all rough drafts and written feedback on all final drafts.

March 1-April 25 with live meetings on Tuesdays from 12-12:45pm Eastern/11-11:45am Central/10-10:45am Mountain/9-9:45am Pacific

  • A copy of The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone (used copies are fine; borrowed/library copies are acceptable but it’s preferable for learners to have their own copy so they can take notes in it)
  • We will use a Discord server for message boards (learners who prefer to not use Discord can still participate in our classroom but with less interaction; Discord can be installed on a phone, tablet, or computer for free)
  • Learners will submit work through Google Drive (a Google (Gmail) account can be acquired for free)

2-3 hours weekly

Students should be able to read at a 6th/7th grade level and answer questions about what they’ve read. It’s okay to have struggles with vocabulary or connecting ideas — we’ll be discussing strategies for that in class.

Students should have a basic understanding of writing in terms of what makes a complete sentence, how to craft a paragraph of related sentences, and how to form a beginning, middle, and end to put ideas together logically. It’s okay to struggle with fully developing ideas or knowing how to transition between paragraphs — we’ll be discussing strategies for that in class.

The class is set up so that students choose which writing prompts they’d like to complete for both of the two primary assignments. This means that students of varying ability levels and familiarity with academic writing conventions can find an assignment appropriate for their level. All students will learn about finding their own writing process, working on a complete draft in stages that focus on revision, and reflecting on what works to build strong writing habits.

Depending on which assignments they choose to complete, students will focus specifically on focusing paragraphs, summarizing outside sources in their own writing, analyzing outside sources, finding similarities when making comparisons, or conducting independent research to find credible sources.

All students will receive individualized video feedback on all rough drafts that specifically addresses their rough draft submissions. My teaching philosophy very much focuses on starting with students’ strengths to build confidence and using them to work on improvements over time. Feedback is tailored to each student’s individual needs and goals. I also encourage a lot of self-reflection and provide opportunities for students to directly communicate their challenges so that facing them with strategies becomes a normal part of the writing process.

The book discusses some of the criticisms of Barbie, which includes discussion of body image, body shaming, disordered eating, and sexualization.

Learn more about this instructor’s classroom policies and expectations.

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