Monday, June 16, 2014

Writing Instruction



Malaika Bryant (2010) wrote, "Often without even realizing it, primary teachers lead their students through pre-writing activities every day."

 A pre-writing activity we often employ in grades PreK-5th is the use of graphic organizers to organize information and for brainstorming purposes.

 Interactive writing: The teacher and the students take turns writing the text. It is a collaborative effort. 

Modeled writing: The teacher models good writing habits. After the teacher has read a passage or a book aloud, he/she will incorporate some aspect of it into the writing model. The teacher models style, punctuation, techniques and structure. 

By completing an author study, students can also learn that the author can be a model for writing purpose and structure. 

 Journals: Journals can be used for free writing, reflection writing, as dialogue, or for anything. I believe students should be able to use them for creative purposes and not for a grammar grade in the elementary levels.

 Four Square Writing: Many schools employ the Four Square Writing books. Here is an example of the writing activities the students do look like:
Constructive Free writing: Teachers are encouraged to allow at least 30 minutes of constructive free writing opportunities daily. This often follows DEAR or silent sustained reading time so students can reflect on what they have just read. 

                                                        Source: Kate Rivara

 Six Traits Writing: The six traits are made up of voice, ideas/content, sentence fluency, word choice, organization and conventions. Voice means the author's purpose is clear and the author's personality is felt. Content is the topic, or essence of the paper. Sentence fluency is when the writer learns to use strong sentences often. Word Choice is about selecting the right words, adding descriptions, and looking at the verbs you want to use. Organization gives the writing purpose and structure. Conventions are the rules we follow in language, grammar and punctuation.

 ~Examples of Best Practices~

 -Incorporating writing into all content areas. For example, students can write story problems for Math or write each step they took to solve a problem. 

 -Letting students see the teacher as a writer. 

 -Have reading and writing go hand-in-hand. 

 -Implementing Writer's Workshop or Literacy Centers. 

 -Making writing activities meaningful and relevant.

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