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[Teacher-talkwrite6to8] Making Writing Meaningful

From: Lindsay Ball <brynnsmom21_at_gmail.com_at_learner.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2016 17:39:49 +0900

A dilemma often facing middle school English teachers is how to make
writing meaningful to students. They are at an age when doing work and
making assignments mean something is not cool. As I watched this video, I
saw students who participated not only in writing but in sharing their
writing. It was meaningful to them. I realized that as I have taught this,
I have missed something for my students. I didn't make it meaningful. After
watching this video, I don't know if I can do it the same as these
teachers. I look at how the students are sharing and working, and I wish I
could see the first day of the classes. How did these teacher get their
students not only to participate, but to actively participate? Too many
times, I have watched my students write and revise and work on papers
merely going through the motions. I hope I can use the techniques and
advice given by these teachers to make a change in my classroom. Do any of
you feel the same?

I need to look at my students and find out what will motivate them. One
thing I can do is give them real reasons for writing. I see that it can be
hard to understand how writing a personal narrative will help my students
in the future. Students ask if they use what they are learning in school.
Using a personal narrative outside of school may be a stretch. But using
persuasion and letter writing skills will be used. If I can teach these
kinds of writing skills, my students will have real reasons for writing.
They also need to feel ownership with what they are writing. I guess I have
always felt like they are writing it, so why wouldn't they feel ownership.
How do I help my students feel more ownership in their writing? Do I allow
my students to think critically and make decisions on their own? How far do
I let that go before they fail? I also need to show my students how
powerful writing is. One way I can do that is to show them writing that has
changed the world. Personal letters from history would do that. The United
States of America Constitution could do that too.

I really liked the "Dear Know It All" assignment one teacher in the video
gave. It was like an advice column. She put a question on the board for the
students to answer. They needed to give their honest opinions on the topic.
This is a good way to show students that writing matters because their
advice or opinion could change someone's life.

Editorials were also discussed as an assignment to make students' writing
meaningful. This makes a lot of sense too because their opinion is stated.
Their opinion on a topic that is important to them is shared. I guess in
the end that is it. Students want to write about something that is
personal. They want to know that their writing has a purpose and is more
than just an assignment. If I can show my middle school students that their
writing will take them places and could change the world, I will be making
writing meaningful.

Lindsay Ball
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Received on Fri Mar 11 2016 - 10:26:48 EST

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