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Volume 12 | Issue 5 | November 10, 2016
Writing is the most common assessment in college and the daily currency of globally and digitally connected careers. It's also where you'll find some of the most persistent gaps in education. The 2011 Nation's Report Card on writing found that about a quarter of students can write proficiently. For time-strapped teachers, assigning and assessing writing—not to mention teaching the complex processes inherent in composition—can seem overwhelming. In this issue, teachers identify manageable ways to provide more student writing opportunities.
Students want to become experts on the topics they are studying, and that's why deep content knowledge and strong vocabulary are the building blocks of an engaging composition. Help students develop a content-rich base for their writing, and then use genre study to uncover the tools for conveying that knowledge.
A middle school teacher defeats the three-headed hydra keeping teachers from assigning writing on a daily basis. Find out how she avoided giving extensive feedback on every piece of writing, trying to tackle the complex writing process all at once, and fixating on grammar.
A haphazard approach to teaching writing gets overhauled with three critical moves: composing a sample response to any assignment, dissecting that response to identify key elements you want to see in student responses, and adopting an instructional cycle (examine, experiment, execute, and excel) for explicitly teaching writing skills.
Requiring students to write in complete sentences, gradually increasing the volume of writing assigned, and allowing students to write for a variety of creative purposes are this world language teacher's go-to strategies for coaxing students to love writing in another language.
Young children have stories to tell, even if they don't yet have the cognitive and fine motor skills to capture those stories in words or images. Prematurely pushing students to write personal stories can turn off the spigot of spoken narratives. Instead, use whole class or content-specific strategies to practice writing skills, and let students continue to tell their stories orally.
Copyright © 2016 by ASCD
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