According to today’s infographic, writing can serve as a calming, meditative tool. Stream of conscious writing exercises, in particular, have been identified as helpful stress coping methods. Keeping a journal, for example, or trying out free-writing exercises, can drastically reduce your levels of stress.
Teaching writing skills can be quite challenging as each student has different needs. Some students are planning on taking advanced tests like the TOEFL, whereas others just want to use English during their travels abroad. In general, it's important to focus on encouraging writing skills that students feel they will actually use. It's a good idea to start off with short writing exercises, and then, if it makes sense for the class, move on to more advanced skills such as writing essays. Use a writing rubric to grade longer written assignments, as this will give students a broader overview of the skills they need to improve.
For years, teachers have been designing persuasive writing lessons for their students. The Common Core State Standards are changing that by asking teachers to move away from persuasion and toward argumentation. Argumentation (called opinion writing in the elementary grades) is preferred by the CCSS because it is more rigorous and more in line with the kind of writing students will be expected to do in college and careers.
In this white paper, we’ll look at what argumentation really means, what the standards specifically require at each grade level, and how teachers can create lesson plans to meet these new requirements. I’ll also outline the following eight strategies for designing lesson plans to meet the new requirements:
1. Identify Fact vs. Opinion 2. Determine Credible Sources 3. Acknowledge Alternate or Opposing Claims 4. Vary Syntax 5. Assign a Combination of Short and Longer Writing Tasks 6. Use Mentor Texts 7. Involve Content-Area Teachers 8. Don’t Forget Speaking and Listening
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