Published on February 16, 2014
How Do I Get Them To Write Assigning Writing To Secondary Students
Journal • You have written three papers for this class and have begun a fourth. • 10th grade individuality prompt • This I Believe • Editorial • Research paper • Which one of these writing assignments has been your favorite? Your least favorite? Explain why?
Things to keep in mind When assigning writing •Engage students in a variety of writing tasks by exploring different: •Purposes •Audiences •Subjects •Formats •Voices
Things to keep in mind When assigning writing •Create assignments that allow students to make meaningful decisions about writing. •How to organize •What info to include •How formal •How to appeal to audience
Things to keep in mind When assigning writing •Create opportunities for writers to write for real AUDIENCES
Things to keep in mind When assigning writing • The connection between reading and writing works to your benefit. • Create writing assignments modeled after authentic publications and use those publications to guide instruction. • Use writing as a tool for responding to readings
The case for open ended writing assignments • Open ended writing assignments: providing only mode or topic (or providing nothing at all) • Students work within strengths • Student ownership or writing • Students make decisions • More room for creative response • Students think like writers • Makes peer conferences, workshops, and read aloud sessions worthwhile • Drawbacks: • Could limit challenges writers face • Can be more difficult to evaluate • Less realistic scenario in preparation for career and college
The case for prompted essays • Prompted essay: teacher provides (or class devises) a complete rhetorical situation • Students forced to interact with all aspects of a rhetorical situation • More like real-life writing scenarios • Provides significant flexibility • Easier to evaluate and discuss, esp. achievement of specific learning goals • Drawbacks: • Can be boring/restrictive • Inevitably perceived as a “do what the teacher wants” assignment • Why share writing that is essentially the same from student to student
So which should you use? BOTH
the CRAFT method •C=Context •R=Role •A=Audience •F=Format •T=Topic
context • Like OCCASION in SOAPSTone • What is the impetus for this piece of writing? • What problem provokes the writing? • What is the background that leads to the writing task? • For example: • A horse walks into a bar.
role • like SPEAKER in SOAPSTone • Who is the speaker? • What position, role, or perspective must the writer take in composing the writing? • How should the writer/narrator understand herself/himself in relation to the subject and audience? • For example: • You are the bartender.
audience • like AUDIENCE in SOAPSTone • Who is receiving the communication? • For whom is the writing being produced? • For example: • Audience: the horse
format • What type of writing is it? • What genre? • What mode? • What style? • For example: • Write a one-line quip.
formats • • • • • • • • • • • • • article essay memo business letter haiku sonnet report editorial grocery list timeline narrative vignette pamphlet •propaganda poster •radio advertisement •interview •product package •flyer •diary entry •personal letter •memoir •sermon •eulogy •proposal •abstract •What other formats can you think of?
topic • like SUBJECT in SOAPSTone • What is the writing about? • For example: • Topic: the horse’s face.
For example • You are the bartender at a local watering hole. A horse walks into your establishment and approaches the bar. Write a one-line quip to the horse about the horse’s face. Why the long face?
Analyze this CRAFT prompt • Read the prompt. • Identify each piece of CRAFT. • The State Board of Education has decided to assess high school student writing proficiency through Grade 10 Writing Assessment. The focus of the new test will be informational, a change from the previous Literary Analysis English/Language Arts test. Students may be asked to write definitions or cause/effect essays about any subject.You are a member of your school ﾕ s leadership team. You are concerned about student literacy. Although you are not an ELA teacher, you think that students need to write and think critically in all classes. You have heard about writing across the curriculum and would like to see your school begin such an initiative.Write a memo to your principal in which you explain the issues that the revised test raises for your school and suggest a WAC initiative as a solution to be discussed in the next leadership team meeting. Remember that the principal ﾕ s time is precious. You will need to write clearly and concisely, trying to explain your points in no more than two pages.
and the answer is… • CONTEXT: New informational writing test--no longer ELA test • ROLE: Teacher/leadership team member concerned about student writing • AUDIENCE: Principal (whose time is precious) • FORMAT: Memo (short, concise, <2 pages) • TOPIC: Recommending a WAC approach
Now create your own • Choose a novel or short story you would like to teach to your students some day. • Decide on an aspect of the book to which you would like your students to respond: • A character • An event • A theme • A literary device or technique • Something else? • Create a complete rhetorical task for your student writers. Decide what each element of CRAFT should be. • Compose your CRAFT prompt in paragraph form.
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