3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly Editor's Note: A version of this post first appeared on Techie Teacher and Character Coach. "But Miss Parrish, I can't think of anything to write!" Haven't we all heard similar lines in our classrooms? We see hesitant writers sit with a pencil in their hands and a paper on their desks, almost as if they have been handicapped by the task we asked them to do. How is it that some students have so much to say when talking out loud, but when a pencil is put into their hand they suddenly hesitate, struggle and have nothing to say? The answer is to simply have them produce "writing" without technically "writing" at all. Strategies That Work 1. Have your student stand up while you sit in his or her seat. 2. Identify a way that your students can audio record themselves "speaking" their essay rather than "writing" it. 3. Identify an app or tool that will transcribe speaking into text. Communication Before Craft How have you helped students write without putting pen to paper (or pixel to page)?
November 2012 Student-Led Online Discussions in TESOL by Luciana C. de Oliveira, Larisa Olesova, and Alsu Gilmetdinova Asynchronous online discussions have been considered the “beating heart” of online course activities (Sull, 2009, p. 65). The context for this contribution is the English Language Learning (ELL) Licensure Program at Purdue University, which provides an additional certification for mainstream content area teachers. Planning Online DiscussionsTo help students create questions, use twelve different types of questions (Ertmer et al., 2011) and post sample questions on Blackboard or a similar online learning management system. High Level: Questions which require students to integrate ideas, make decisions, or take a position and justify it could promote higher levels of thinking based on Bloom’s Taxonomy (“synthesis” or “evaluation”). Tips for Student-Led Online DiscussionsStudents must be actively engaged in all stages of online discussions: planning, conducting, and reflection.
The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do. Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Procrastination is an alluring siren taunting you to google the country where Balki from Perfect Strangers was from, and to arrange sticky notes on your dog in the shape of hilarious dog shorts. The blank white page. Mark Twain once said, “Show, don’t tell.” Finding a really good muse these days isn’t easy, so plan on going through quite a few before landing on a winner. There are two things more difficult than writing. It’s so easy to hide in your little bubble, typing your little words with your little fingers on your little laptop from the comfort of your tiny chair in your miniature little house.
OWL Coming Soon: A new look for our same great content! We're working hard this summer on a redesign of the Purdue OWL. Worry not! Our navigation menu and content will remain largely the same. If you are having trouble locating a specific resource, please visit the search page or the Site Map. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. For more information about services for the Purdue University community, including one-to-one consultations, ESL conversation groups and workshops, please visit the Writing Lab site. Mission The Purdue University Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement.
Persuasion Map Helps Students Formulate Persuasive Essays Developing persuasive writing skills is a process that students start in elementary school and continue to develop through high school and beyond. Read Write Think offers a good interactive guide that can help students craft a good persuasive essay. The Persuasion Map asks students to start with a thesis statement before walking them through developing support for that thesis. Applications for Education Using Read Write Think's Persuasion Map won't replace the need for your instruction, but it could be helpful to students who need a little assistance after your lesson.
November 2012 When Writing Gets Loud: Integrating Speaking and Writing by Jessie Hayden During timed writing assignments in the average class, students write their essays while instructors enforce a culture of quiet. While the above scenario may be the norm, it would behoove teachers to challenge the widely held belief that the writing process is an individual and quietly contemplative act. A growing body of theoretical and empirical research suggests that utilizing social interaction between ESL students while they write supports their mastery of the multifarious cognitive skills needed for academic writing (e.g., Atkinson, 2003; Weissberg, 2006). Class Session #1Prewriting: Peer-to-Peer Prewriting Interviews Time Frame: 15 minutes Students choose the essay topic that they want to write about from a list of two to four writing prompts. During Writing: Think Aloud/Read Aloud Breaks Time Frame: 60–75 minutes Students begin writing their essays in a quiet environment. References Angelova, M. (2001).
Read These Seven Books, and You’ll be a Better Writer Donald Miller I used to play golf but I wasn’t very good. I rented a DVD, though, that taught me a better way to swing, and after watching it a few times and spending an hour or so practicing, I knocked ten strokes off my game. I can’t believe how much time I wasted when a simple DVD saved me years of frustration. I’d say something similar is true in my writing career. If you read these books, your writing will improve to the point people who read your work will begin to comment on how well you write. • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: This book is aimed at writers, but it’s also applicable to anybody who does creative work. Pressfield leaves out all the mushy romantic talk about the writing life, talk I don’t find helpful. • On Writing Well by William Zinsser: Zinsser may be the best practical writing coach out there. • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: Before becoming a literary superstar, Anne Lamott taught writing, and Bird by Bird is the best of her advice, broken up into chapters.