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Dragon Dictation Helping Students Learn to Cite Their Sources A MiddleWeb Blog By Jody Passanisi When I first started teaching writing in history class a number of years ago, I was totally focused on the students just getting their ideas out and being able to write on historical themes. I wanted them to be able to internalize the basic structure of an argumentative essay, make an argument, and back it up. I was already asking them to do so many things – create an argument, find details to back it up, and write in a structured essay format. “Just back up your ideas” This approach to historical writing worked quite well for a few years. But I was still a long way from requiring both in-text and end-of-text citations. “Wait…Do you know which ideas are yours?” Then I had an epiphany. I had previously required students, if they DID use the Internet at all, to cite their sources, but no one really ever resorted to online investigation. So for this new essay assignment I was getting weak paraphrasing, with or without citations. Time to teach citations

WRITING TOOLS Character Pyramid Tool (PDF) Visualize your character’s FLAWS & associated behaviors (for a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws) Character Target Tool (PDF) Organize and group your character’s POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES by category: moral, achievement, interactive or identity (for a greater understanding of this tool, please reference The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes) Character Profile Questionnaire (PDF) Not your average character questionnaire! Reverse Backstory Tool (PDF) Work backwards to find your character’s wound, needs & lie (for a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws) Weak Verb Converter Tool (PDF) Transform all those generic, boring verbs into power verbs Scene Revision/Critique Tool Level 1 & Level 2 (PDF) A ‘light’ and ‘in-depth’ revision checklist for creating compelling characters and scenes

Explain Everything™ Interactive Whiteboard We All Teach Reading and Writing Sponsored By If you teach algebra, you may not think of yourself as a reading teacher. But you do know that comprehension, fluency and good communication are key to success in math as well as other subject areas. And the writers of the Common Core agree—the new standards greatly emphasize reading and writing across the curriculum. Click below to explore ways we can all become better teachers of reading, writing and critical thinking. Writing Across the Content Areas Creative ways that every teacher can foster communication skills.Explore Now » Teaching Fact vs. Why Grammar Rules See why the humble comma is oh-so-important to getting your point across.View Now » How Audiobooks Can Help Explore how audiobooks can support readers and writers.Find Out » Reading in Photos Check out the great reading ideas we’ve shared on our Pinterest page. Go Now » Talking With Struggling Readers Dos and don'ts for supporting a student who's struggling with reading.Read More » Read More »

60 Awesome Search Engines for Serious Writers June 20th, 2010 Finding the information you need as a writer shouldn’t be a chore. Luckily, there are plenty of search engines out there that are designed to help you at any stage of the process, from coming up with great ideas to finding a publisher to get your work into print. Both writers still in college and those on their way to professional success will appreciate this list of useful search applications that are great from making writing a little easier and more efficient. Professional Find other writers, publishers and ways to market your work through these searchable databases and search engines. Writing These helpful tools will help you along in the writing process. Research Try out these tools to get your writing research done in a snap. Google Scholar: With this specialized search engine from Google, you’ll only get reliable, academic results for your searches.WorldCat: If you need a book from the library, try out this tool. Reference Need to look up a quote or a fact? Niche Writers

Post-it® Plus Literature Circles for High School Students | Simply Novel Teachers Blog Today’s strategy spotlight is on literature circles. I’ve used this technique in my 9th grade English classes to differentiate lessons in order to meet the needs of students struggling to keep up and those needing an extra challenge. There are many ways to implement literature circles to accommodate for a range of reading levels, class size issues, English learners, and other common classroom needs. I’m going to share the way it works in my classroom based on my needs, but I’d love for you to leave a question or comment at the end of this post to continue the conversation as it relates to classrooms across the board! What are literature circles? Students select a book of choice from a controlled range of options. Why I use literature circles: I teach 9th grade English in a school that has an average of 50 feeder middle schools. How I use literature circles: Step 1: Lay the groundwork. Are you using literature circles in your classroom or considering them for next year? Like this:

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