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 4: Teaching Persuasive Writing

Key Practices To Observe in Workshop 4

In this workshop, you will see a number of effective practices for helping students develop as writers, including the following:

  • Teachers "invite" writing by leading students to write about matters they know and care about. The reason for writing is to accomplish something students find important: persuading others to bring about a desired change in the school or community. Students are writing for realistic, authentic purposes and are drawing on their own experiences and interests.
  • Teachers and students spend ample time preparing to write: brainstorming, talking, reading samples, making a list of features, conferencing, using a graphic organizer, and planning their arguments and methods of support for their ideas.
  • Teachers promote student ownership by encouraging students to share their thoughts about writing samples, ask questions, and make decisions about their own writing.
  • Teachers foster a positive atmosphere for writing by demonstrating respect for students and their writing, by expecting students to respect each other, by promoting student ownership, by encouraging students to share their thoughts, by offering positive response to students, by arranging for open discussion, and by listening carefully to students.
  • Teachers arrange for students to read and discuss samples of writing like those they are preparing to write.
  • Students analyze and evaluate samples and form lists of characteristics they can refer to as they develop their own writing. Teachers display model pieces on the overhead projector so students can both see and hear the sample and/or provide written copies for the students to refer to as they think about the writing.
  • In discussing samples, teachers use questioning techniques and synthesize students' ideas to promote both an awareness of criteria for good writing and an understanding of why these features are important.
  • Teachers are sharply focused, methodical, and clearly intentional in conducting lessons about writing, such as lessons on building a persuasive argument, thinking about readers, or using an appropriate tone. Students are expected to apply these lessons in completing their own writing.
  • Teachers reveal useful techniques for managing a writing workshop, such as mini-lessons, teacher- and peer-conferencing, analysis of samples, sharing of ideas and works-in-progress, and modeling writing.
  • Teachers concentrate on helping students develop skills as writers; the emphasis of instruction is not solely on a particular piece of writing.



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