Workshop 2: Making Writing Meaningful
Key Practices To Observe in Workshop 2
In this workshop, you will see a number of effective teaching practices
intended to make writing meaningful for students. They include the following:
Teachers strive to create a community of writers, a positive environment
(social, emotional, physical) for writing, learning, and thinking in
the classroom. Teachers model respect for students and respect for diversity
in culture, voices, and ideas. Students are encouraged to have a voice
and position in the classroom, and they work together, helping each other
develop as writers.
- Students are positive about writing because they are encouraged to write
about matters that are relevant and important to their lives and
because they can draw on their experiences and knowledge. Teachers
do not just
present an assignment; they spend ample time establishing a foundation
for the writing, making it meaningful to students.
- Teachers use the media, song lyrics, and reading materials to help
students think and communicate about important and challenging issues,
events, dilemmas, and conditions in their community/culture.
- Student ownership is revealed as a very important component in making
writing meaningful. Students choose what they write about and make decisions
about their writing. Though the teachers clearly have goals (for example,
helping students write a persuasive letter or editorial), they establish
a framework in which students can reach the goals in different ways.
- Teachers use a variety of techniques to engage students and convey the
importance of writing; for example, reading and talking about samples,
modeling writing, using choral responses, enabling students to write
to advocate changes they find important, asking stimulating questions,
carefully, and joining in the applause that celebrates a student writer.
- Students engage in writing-to-learn practices (for example, the "Dear Know-It-All" quick write) that stimulate their thinking about realistic issues, events,
and problems and that enable students to express themselves openly
about matters relevant to their lives.
- Student inquiry plays an important role in making writing meaningful. Students are encouraged to read and think critically about ideas presented in popular song lyrics, music videos, poetry, and other materials. They are led to inquire into their own experience and into issues and needs in their communities. Teachers clearly strive to promote students' curiosity and critical thinking—important strategies for making writing meaningful. Students experience that writing is an act of creativity and discovery.