Discussion in 'General Education' started by nstructor, May 25, 2018.
May 25, 2018
How do you teach writing?
That's really broad. Can you be more specific?
May 26, 2018
I've been teaching ELA for years, but am interested in knowing how other 6-8 teachers teach writing-essays, paragraphs, etc. . .
May 27, 2018
Use Mentor Texts
I love teaching writing and feel really good about the results. The short version of what I do:
1. Identify what I want my students to learn. Let's say it's essay writing.
2. Gather model essays written by excellent writers.
3. Read these as a class and try to figure out what the author is doing to make the essay so successful. Often I use the 6 Analytical Writing Traits to examine the essays. For example, we look at the types and lengths of sentences (Oh look—the sentences are varied!), we examine how the essay is organized (What do you know; they start with action and end by connecting to the beginning.), we see what kind of conventions the author uses (Wow. Everything is spelled right. Let's try that!)
4. We make a class scoring guide based on what my students are able to observe and write several quick, rough draft essays. We pick one of these rough essays to develop and "publish".
5. During this process, we continue to read essays as a class so students have very clear models ringing in their ears. Students analyze their own essay's success based on their scoring guide. Then each student has a peer or two examine their essay and make constructive comments based on the scoring guide.
6. Finally, we polish and publish the essays by putting them up on the wall, putting them in a class magazine or something like that.
You can use this technique in your own writing. I wanted to write for magazines and have had scores of articles published and four books published by using mentor texts to learn how to be an effective writer.
I appreciate your response!