Happy October and welcome to fall! Since our classroom snapshot feature was so successful last month (thank you to all the contributing voices!), we are running another regular feature this month focused on sharing writing activities that we or our students have found particularly engaging. Please check in daily to enjoy our Prompt-ober posts. If you are interested in contributing one yourself, please contact us!
Early in the school year I give my students a piece of wire about 8-10 inches long (I purchase this in the bracelet making section of any craft store) and I ask them to shape it into something that is meaningful to them or representative of them. This idea was inspired by a writing activity I engaged in at the PAWLP summer institute where the instructors gave us a piece of playdough and similar instructions. I give my students ample time to play with the wire and shape/reshape until they feel confident in their design. While they do this, I welcome conversation and meander around with my own wire checking in and talking with students.
When time is up, I invite a quick pair share of shapes before we study and discuss a short mentor text titled “My Life has Been like a Basketball Game.”
By Kelly Virgin
It is estimated that 2 million blog posts are written everyday. That is over 10 million per week.
The sheer amount of content makes learning about and teaching this writing task daunting. Nevertheless, my students and I faced this challenge head on as we worked together to craft and publish the first of what will hopefully be many posts on our new blog – khscreativewriters.edublogs.org. The following is the step-by-step approach we used to get comfortable and confident with blogging.
Step 1: Write!
Before I introduced the blogging writing task, I wanted students to have a wealth of ideas to pull from for their first posts. So, we spent a few class periods writing to gather ideas. First, we curated expert lists. Students had five minutes to list as many topics they considered themselves “experts” on. After we listed and discussed some of our expertise, we returned to the items and brainstormed types of writing we could do on the different topics. For example, one student who considers himself an expert on backpacking realized he could write a how-to guide or keep a journal of his backpacking trips.
Another list we created Read more
By Mary Buckelew
“Rubrics make powerful promises. They promise to save time. They promise to boil a messy process down to four to six rows of nice neat, organized little boxes. Who can resist their wiles? They seduce us with their appearance of simplicity and objectivity and then secure their place in our repertoire of assessment techniques with their claim to help us to clarify our goals and guide students through the difficult and complex task of writing” (2). Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment (2007), by Maja Wilson
How many points is this assignment worth? How many lines do I need to write? How many pages? Where’s the rubric? Why did I get a 3 in organization? Why didn’t I get full credit? How do I get an A?
Students enter my college freshman writing classes with the above litany of questions, sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken, but ever present. These questions are as natural as breathing and begin early in students’ K-12 school careers. Read more
Teachers can empower their students with conventions.
-Kelly Virgin (2016 facilitator of Grammar Matters)
This quote removes the fear and turns revision into something powerful and celebrated.
Jen Greene (2016 facilitator of Grammar Matters)
The children in our classrooms need to be encouraged to tell their stories, and when they do we must cherish and respect those stories, not simply mark them up with a red pen.
-Melinda Sterenczak (2016 participant of Grammar Matters)