Writing: How much freedom do you give the students?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by msufan, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    Sep 18, 2011

    Just curious about everyone's methods of teaching writing. Do you:

    • Tell the students a specific topic to write about
    • Give the students free reign over what to write about
    • Tell the students to write in a certain genre or style, then give them freedom from there
    • or something else??

    Or do you use some balance of all of these methods?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 18, 2011

    :thumb:
     
  4. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2011

    It really depends on the assignment. Last week my class wrote friendly letters, and here's how the lesson went: Monday- I reviewed the Writing Process briefly (we've been using it for four weeks now) and taught them a song about the five parts of a friendly letter, then students decided who they would write to and made a list of ideas to write about. I did not check their lists. Tuesday- students filled in a friendly letter template with their rough drafts. I walked around checking to make sure they put the information in the right places on the template. Wednesday- we talked briefly about peer revision and students read their letters aloud to partners who gave them opinions about revisions to make. Up to this point I still hadn't read most students' letters. Thursday- students used pens to edit for capital letters, end marks, spelling, and varied sentence length. That evening I took the papers home and read over them and made suggestions. I only "fixed" the words they had circled to question the spelling and helped with run-ons (which we have been talking about the past couple weeks). Friday- students used their revised and edited templates to publish their final drafts. I will use a rubric to grade the friendly letters- I shared the rubric with them on Monday and Tuesday (forgot to mention that) so they'd know what was expected. The rubric calls for all parts of a friendly letter to be used, mostly correct spelling & punctuation, and appropriateness for audience. So, although I dictated the form for a friendly letter and walked them through the writing process, I didn't tell them what to write or to whom to write. We mailed the letters out on Friday.

    This coming week they'll be writing a personal narrative about an experience with a friend. They will be provided with a prompt and a graphic organizer and given a specific assignment each day in order to complete the writing process in a week, but they will be able to choose any experience with a friend to write about.

    Generally, students either respond to a prompt or are given a specific genre of writing to create. Occasionally, they have the freedom to write about anything they want in their journals, but it is not graded.

    This is second grade, btw.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Sep 18, 2011

    I use a balance of all 3.
     
  6. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    Sep 19, 2011

    They can write whatever they want in their Daily 5 Journals. I do give them specific writing prompts, but with some freedom. For example, they had to write a persuasive essay, but they could choose the topic. For some of my ELL's that needed more scaffolding, I helped them with the topic.
     
  7. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Sep 19, 2011

    I do a mix of the three. In their journals, I will sometimes give them a prompt, and sometimes give them free choice. During writing workshop, they may write whatever they choose, but I may periodically encourage them to try a certain genre/strategy. In our language units, some assignments are a bit more specific (in our letter writing unit, we write different types of letters to/from fairy tale characters), while others are more open, although I do usually give them some guidance in choosing the topic.
     
  8. Ambrosegirl84

    Ambrosegirl84 Companion

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    Sep 19, 2011

    I use a balance. For journals I do the same as amakaye; sometimes they have to use the prompt, but usually they get to choose what to write about. Their language books teach them different writing styles, so I do those units, which are somewhat structured. I also usually give them topics for their reading journals.

    For writing workshop they get to write whatever they want. I'm thinking of doing some more "structured" books this year, though.

    We write thank you letters to people who come into the school and get-well, congratulations, etc., for friends and neighbors.
     

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