Teaching writing

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by cat7286, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. cat7286

    cat7286 Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2007

    I teach 7th and 8th language arts. I seem to have literature down but i'm really struggling with writing. We have text books that teach writing but i just don't really care for it too much. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to teach writing???
     
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  3. jaylynn917

    jaylynn917 Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2007

    Do you have specific components of writing that you need to teach? I have flexibility within the curriculum so I've divided the writing projects into different units and try to tie them into the lit. units. I started with 5-paragraph essays which were about themselves and based on their summer reading projects. I've just moved into a unit on figurative language and the students need to incorporate it into their upcoming journaling project based on the lit unit we just finished. Next we will be starting sci-fi & fantasy novels so they will have a final project that includes writing their own piece of mythology, and when we start our American Heritage lit unit, they will have a project that includes writing a short story or piece of poetry based on patriotism.
    Another way that I incorporate the two units (literature and writing) is through a reading journal. Students are given a reading journal assignment each week based on their reading which helps them to be somewhat prepared for their final writing project when it comes due. I don't know what your teaching schedule is like but I typically schedule literature for M/W/F, and creative writing for Tuesday. I also teach grammar and spelling so it's pretty crammed together but it seems to work. Hope it helps even a little.
     
  4. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Oct 11, 2007

    We use a program that really helps my students, it's called "Step up to Writing." I know that my students have a lot of trouble with writing and this has helped them a lot. See if your school can get a grant or some sort of help in getting this program in your school, it can be used from grade school all the way through high school. It teaches great ways to organize your writing and really helps the kids understand writing better.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 11, 2007

    Since you're in California, have your school check out the offerings from DeLange Henderson, which are aligned to California's standards: http://www.delangehenderson.com/. The inservices are first-rate, too.
     
  6. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Oct 13, 2007

    jaylynn917, are you using Holt or Prentice-Hall textbook for your lit units? I still struggle teaching writing for my students. I want to be able to help them more. I like the idea of integrating the lit units with the writing.

    TeacherGroupie, thanks for your link to the DeLange Henderson site. I am thinking about getting the Resources for Teaching. I am starting a narrative unit for my 7th grade students in a few weeks, and we just finished the autobiography unit with my 8th graders.

    MSB
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2007

    The best book I've found on teaching writing to secondary level kids (both middle and high school) is Lessons that Change Writersby Nancy Atwell. It comes with a binder of her actual lesson plans. Well worth the investment.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 14, 2007

    DeLange Henderson explicitly links reading and writing - really good stuff, and really applicable to California.
     
  9. jwhitg

    jwhitg Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2007

    The best resources I found for writing were 6 + 1 Traits and the New Jersey Writing Institute.
    I took New Jersey this summer and attended the 6 Traits about two weeks ago. They have made a large difference in the way I think about writing as well as student performance.
     
  10. trina

    trina Companion

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    Oct 14, 2007

    What has been very beneficial is what I call "writing workshops." The class writes an assignment, reads it to the class so the whole "listen to my funny story" performance phase is over, and then I sit with them one on one and pick the essay, paragraph, or short story apart with them. I teach them to take off their writer hat and put on their editor hat. I am very careful not to tell them what is wrong, but to read it aloud sentence by sentence and stop and ask questions like
    If you have someone talking, what kind of punctuation do you need?
    Is that comma used correcly?
    Look again at the end. Can you find a better way to say the same thing?
    Why did the character do that?
    What is your character thinking? How can you add that to the story?

    And so on. They rewrite it until it's as perfect as I think it's going to get. This is different for each student. After I do this a few times, I transition into peer review where they pair up and proofread and edit each other's work. I get involved after they've completed a second draft.
     

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