This year, I set several goals for myself as a professional teacher; among these goals is to continually seek out innovative, effective teaching methods. In meeting this goal, I designed a writing workshop that encourages students to write frequently and allows for students to work on pieces of writing throughout the quarter.
Students work on several pieces at a time, keeping every piece of writing--from notes to outlines to rough drafts to final copies--for the entire quarter in their English folders. As students complete rough drafts, they may spend time with me during a conference session discussing possible revisions. These rough drafts are not graded, in order to motivate revision, rather than create frustration. Students will be required to submit revised pieces as part of their final exam grade -- these pieces will be graded on revision work shown. The California State Framework for Language Arts endorses this approach to teaching composition as it has proven to be a fair and effective method of improving students' abilities to formulate and communicate ideas in writing.
Two days a week are Writing Workshop days during which students work on their own writing, share writing with peer groups, and individually confer with me about writing problems. In addition to these workshops, students may work on pieces at home. Please encourage your son/daughter to use homework-free days for writing. I have planned for this in the curriculum.
I encourage individuals to write about topics that interest them personally; I rarely assign one topic to all students. I challenge students to experiment with various types of writing such as autobiographical, poetry, journaling, short story, persuasive, and observational--based on standard writing expectations and promoted by colleges such as UCLA.
During the second semester, I require all students to write one controversial issue paper, using at least 3 outside sources (no encyclopedias, dictionaries, or pamphlets) and including an End notes page and Bibliography. Please encourage your son or daughter to become familiar with the public library and its resources.
I look forward to reading writing that reflects your son's/daughter's personality and interests!
WRITING WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES AND GUIDELINES
Give writers regular chunks of time to write.
Allow writers to choose own topics/purposes for writing.
Give response to writers during the composing process, not after.
Teach mechanics in context of individual writing.
Provide a variety of reading experiences.
Continually research and learn from students' writing.
A. Turn in all work done on any piece.
B. Use conference time to get comments immediately and to discuss ideas.
C. Show all revision work. Do not use pencil or white-out, so that I can see your work. "Mess is Best!"
is hearing a student say,
"Thank you for understanding me."
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Last updated: 2008