Review Writing: Writing Film & Restaurant Reviews

Time to teach: 1 Month
Tags: Web search      Evaluating credibility and bias      Online Collaboration      Web Tools      Reading Activity      Multimedia     



The goals of this unit are (1) to build on the online and offline information gathering skills developed in our initial previous units; (2) to develop students’ observational writing skills; (3) to empower students to participate in our shared culture beyond school; and (4) to improve students’ writing and critical thinking skills by training them in — and giving them an opportunity to practice — basic review writing.


As we go through our 21st century lives we have no choice but to consume, but we can do so intelligently.  To that end, this unit also is designed to stretch students’ understanding the power they can have to effect change in their world.


Major goals:

Research skills 

·      Develop increasingly sophisticated effective Internet search strategies

·      Develop awareness of and strategies for collecting and sharing evidence

·      Develop keen observational writing skills

·      Expand Web search skills to include the archives of public reviews and social media review models (Yelp, Epinions), and ...?


Writing skills 

      Learn and practice basic review writing, focusing on:

·      development of a firm point of view

·      communication of rich detail

·      and persuasive presentation of evidence


21st century publishing skills 

·      Learn one way to participate in the 21st century participatory media environment by learning about and then publishing their work on a review Web site (Yelp, ePinions



How will we know that students have achieved these goals?

Student success in achieving these goals will be apparent by their scores on a series of rubrics and through the nature of their reflections at the end of the unit. Ultimately, at the end of each anchor task, their success will be measured by whether they have produced a publishable review.


Anchor task:

After learning the rules of review writing, students will engage in each of the following three tasks:


1.         restaurant review (or a review of another public space)

2.         film review (or a review of a play, concert or video game)


In each case, they will conduct preliminary research on the Web, use the information gleaned from their searches to inform their first-hand exposure to the product, and write a critical review that puts the product in context for the public.   


Having an actual publication outlet for this work will accentuate the effects of learning on all levels.  Students/teachers are encouraged to assist students in arranging for some or all of the work to be published in a classroom blog, student press outlet or local news publication; even students placing their work as a comment on a review website would qualify as publishing.