I am so glad your Teacher Talk messages are coming through. Thanks for sharing the writing "frame" you use for students getting started with the essay. They need a lot of these scaffolds at first - eventually (we all hope), students get enough confidence and experience to internalize the format and not need the frame anymore. You mentioned colored index cards - do you use these to show the different parts of an essay?
Researcher/trainer, SW ABLE Resource Center
444 W. 3rd. St. Room 6130
Dayton, OH 45402
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1. Applications for first few lessons (mstever_at_pm.noacsc.org)
2. Re: Unit 2 (mstever_at_pm.noacsc.org)
Date: Thu, 5 May 2011 14:47:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: [Teacher-talkhswriters] Applications for first few lessons
Unit 1: My plan for teaching writing usually began with TABE test scores
and the diagnostic forms that go with it. I could plot who missed what
and use that as a general starting point for grammar and punctuation.
For essays, I have a model which students can use to fill in the blanks.
"Today I will write about _______ and will cover these three main points:
1)____________, 2)___________, and 3)_____________." Students who are
comfortable with writing could use their own style. This just gave
students an opportunity to plan their writing and to get something on
paper. Gradually they were weaned from the form. I always write a sample
intro on the board using the form as well as one more sophisticated.
We also discuss why we write an essay, identify the audience, identify the
style of writing we should use (my eyes only, casual friendly, formal),
setup that's appropriate. I seldom say anything about length,
punctuation, spelling until students have some writing under their belt
except when there are questions.
Next school year, my plans will be much more specific and detailed. I
have several ideas from this program as well as other sources that I will
try to incorporate. My first step is a little more research, trimming it
down to a usable amount, and following that schedule.
I will continue using colored index cards (an idea given to me by a
Vantage teacher about 20 years ago), will use special paper for essays,
will be consistent about reviewing students' work, will devise a system
for publishing those essays in house. I purchased paper at Ollie's that
is colored just down the side or the top. That will be a visual signal of
the importance of writing. I will also write with students whenever I ask
them to write. Never did this, although I used to read when we read as a
Marelese Stever, Instructor
Putnam County Educational
Ottawa, OH 45875
Date: Thu, 5 May 2011 15:16:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: [Teacher-talkhswriters] Unit 2
On Thu, May 5, 2011 3:07 pm, mstever_at_pm.noacsc.org wrote:
> --Creating a writing community does not just happen. Although the first
> step is already in place, most of the others need to be modified. My
> classroom is one of trust, faith that changes can occur, knowledge that
> each student will be treated professionally and respectfully, and one
> where humor is encouraged.
> I am not a natural writer of anything more than business letters (many
> years as a typing/shorthand/office management teacher). Although I
> encourage humor in the classroom, I am usually pretty serious and let
> students provide the laughs. I will, this new school year, sit with
> students as they write. They will hear me groan and moan and say how hard
> it is and ask why this subject and ask how they can write when they can't
> spell. They will see returning students and me head for the dictionary
> and Thesaurus, use a speller, and ask a buddy how to spell a word.
> Students and I will both keep writing notebooks. This year I began
> writing on the board my own introduction and/or first paragraph and have
> kept a journal of my own, but haven't asked students to do so. My journal
> is on pink paper, lined, cut to half-page size, and holepunched to fit a
> I usually make many mistakes--the white board is high, I am short--and I
> tend to think faster than I write. Consequently, students have many
> opportunities to see mistakes and how I handle them. Sometimes I miss one
> and, don't you know, someone tells me. Yea!
> In my opinion, the two major changes I can continue using to ensure a
> good writing community are to sit with students as they look over their
> work, and to let them see me and hear me as we write.
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