Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Write in the Middle
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Write in the Middle
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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, listening 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.

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