I recall arguing with English teachers when word processing first became widely available. Many were convinced it was the end of writing (and civilization). For me it was a technology that changed my life. (Now, as a Certified Geezer, I still depend on my word processor and spell check to make my living.)
This report, based on the work of the New York City Writing Project, suggests that a consistent focus on literacy development across content areas (curricular cohesiveness) cannot be achieved in the absence of a mature professional community. Furthermore, a mature professional community will continue to benefit from professional development aimed at sustaining and enhancing an environment with a high degree of writing intensity, which ultimately affects both teacher practice and student learning outcomes.
Before we can talk about what's unconventional in the teaching of grammar and mechanics, we have to settle on what's conventional. I'd have to say death by editing or tough-love-error eradication― you know, papers splattered with red marking off a crime scene of error. We train kids to follow the errors, to become a CSI― crime sentence investigator. That's been the order of the day. As if students take home the eviscerated essay and consider their pattern of error and use a handbook to brush up on their weak spots. I think they file them away― in the garbage― and then assume the identity that they can't write. And as I travel throughout the United States, I hear that this is conventionally― though a bit exaggerated― how grammar and mechanics are taught.
Before that I developed a writing workshop with a technology enabled blend of writing process and traits.
Most of my students were 7/8 mixed classes of middle schoolers in a block schedule. I was fortunate to have the same students two years in a row. The blend of writing process and 6-traits instruction produced remarkable results, in the classroom and on the state mandated writing test.
Online, I have shared what I learned in the classroom with hundreds of dedicated teachers as they create writing workshops empowered by 6-traits concepts.
Every author who has ever stared at a blank page knows the primary difficulty in telling a story: whatever we write begins immediately to constrict us, to constrain us, into telling a certain type of story.
An author needs to be precise in his use of language in order to avoid confusing a reader. I like the quote from Mark Twain who is credited with saying that “The difference between the precise word and one that comes close is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
The massive adoption of digital media in the everyday life of teens has reshaped social and educational practices in Latin America. A digital divide persists but youth are increasingly more connected. In Chile, for example, more than 96 percent of all students have Internet access. In Brazil, almost 80 percent of the population between 16 and 24 years and almost 70 percent of those aged 10 to 15 accessed the Internet in 2009. With that kind of penetration, digital media is creating new ways to understand literacy, learning, reading, and especially, writing. Far from hurting the writing practices for youth, digital media seems to be creating a far more complex and compelling space for them to flourish.
Inspired by Twitter's character-limited posts, students practice writing concisely.
Overview | How can online media like Twitter posts, Facebook status updates and text messages be harnessed to inspire and guide concise writing? In this lesson, students read, respond to and write brief fiction and nonfiction stories, and reflect on the benefits and drawbacks of “writing short.”
Snappy Words is a free visual English dictionary and thesaurus that lets you search the meaning of words and other associated words.
What is Snappy Words visual English dictionary? It’s an online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that helps you find the meanings of words and draw connections to associated words. You can easily see the meaning of each by simply placing the mouse cursor over it.
In his new book 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, Jeff Anderson focuses on developing the concepts and application of ten essential aspects of good writing: motion, models, focus, detail, form, frames, cohesion, energy, words, and clutter.
Throughout the book, Jeff provides dozens of model texts, both fiction and nonfiction, that bring alive the ten things every writer needs to know. By analyzing strong mentor texts, young writers explore, discover, and apply what makes good writing work.
Jeff dedicates a chapter to each of the ten things every writer needs to know and provides mini-lessons, mentor texts, writing process strategies, and classroom tips.
"A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created). (3)"
This web site provides an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and improving student writing based on the Six Traits Writing model.
The real power of the site is found in the Exercises. These will give students and teachers a chance to read sample writings, rate them, and compare their ratings with ratings made by English teachers. This will provide a valuable opportunity for both students and teachers to improve their understanding of the Six Traits and, in the end, improve their own writing.
These OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading.
While the writing process may be different for each person and for each particular assignment, the resources contained in this section follow the general work flow of pre-writing, organizing, and revising. For resources and examples on specific types of writing assignments, please go to our Common Writing Assignments area.