Writing doesn't have to be 'boring'

One of the most challenging tasks of teaching students to write a particular genre is instilling a passion for it. A majority of students find writing tedious, time-consuming, and just plain old boring. Teachers too often dread marking work of these 'reluctant' writers. We often go on about drilling students on the different stages of the writing process, adhering to the structure of the required genre, and stressing on the importance of using figurative language devices in a piece of writing, but how often do we actually painstakingly  model each phase or each device that intricately makes up the coherent whole?

When I started designing my units on the Narrative, Opinion, and Non-fiction (Biography) genre, I envisioned the entire process from start to finish, and being an avid user of interactive notebooks, set about designing lessons accordingly. I designed from a student writer's perspective, how would I begin? where would I start? So I decided to write mentor texts and have most of my lessons revolve around them.

   




The personal narrative entitled 'The Storm' had all the story elements of a personal/fictional narrative, and notebook templates featured destructuring the parts of a narrative so students could note structural devices.



The different ways to begin:





The mini lessons on dialogue, transition words, and figurative language devices equipped students with necessary tools to write effectively.






 The ways to conclude:



And finally students applied key writing skills acquired in these lessons to write a first draft on a given prompt in a flip book-style notebook interactive.





Students self-edited and peer edited using rubrics. A teacher marking rubric was used to assess their writing pieces.





With the Opinion Writing genre, interactive notebook lessons revolved around color coded parts of persuasive paragraphs in the Introduction, Body, and Conclusion of a written sample. Students used checklists to edit and peer-edit and have their writing pieces assessed by the teacher via a Teacher Assessment rubric.







Lessons on writing a Biography detailed documenting information gained through research in a flipbook. The flipbook sections featured each stage of the writing process and guided students to respond accordingly.



Notebook templates outlined the structural devices of a Biography.





Students used QR Code Cards to research the specific subject. They had so much fun!


It's quite hard to explain the mechanics of all the lessons in this 310 page book that have proved to be so instrumental in not only making my students better writers, but also developing in them a lifelong passion for writing. Now, isn't this every educator's fervent hope?




6 comments:

  1. Getting students focused when writing a narrative is so difficult! Your work pages will help big time. I saw some fun writing projects, including a narrative to do on Paul Revere for Patriots' Day, at http://monthbymonth.scholastic.com/teach.html on their writing prompts pdf.

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  2. Thank you for your comment, Mark. I'll be checking out the website - thanks for that :)

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  3. You have thought of so many brilliant ideas and approaches to writing! Thanks!

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  4. These look like a lot of fun! I appreciate the photos you included as they make this easier to use and implement! So comprehensive!

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  5. Laurane- This is an awesome product! It gives ideas and encourages students to think about ways to start their writing and hook their reader. It gradually releases the learner to independence with scaffolding and demonstrates different genres of writing!! LOVE THESE!

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  6. What a great product! I know motivating my students to write can be challenging at times.

    -Carly

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