Lesson Planning: Writing

One of the trickiest parts of teaching English for me is making that sure I am allowing ample time to cover the subject material–literature, poetry, drama– while also teaching the important skills of reading and writing. Here’s where I’ve gathered some helpful plans and resources that have to do with teaching writing.

After a workshop in the summer of 2009, I have really become enamored with writing for learning. As a student in this workshop, I really felt like the writing we did was changing the way I thought about these concepts in new and interesting ways. There are many ways to incorporate WTL pieces in your classes– I’ve had great success with one variety of double-entry journals and am eager to try some others.

NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing: a pretty extensive document from the NCTE that is comprehensive but also thought-provoking, a useful template to guide the teaching of writing. I find their list of resources and documents on assessment to be really interesting as well.

The Collins Writing Program: I find this approach intriguing for its use of targeted focal areas for revision, and also the categorization of the different steps of writing. There’s information here about Power Writing and Four-Blocks too, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can extract from these three strategies to integrate into my classroom.

Writing Draft Letters: where students include a reflective letter to the teacher describing the draft they’re submitting and what problems they think they are having. I can’t wait to try this out, because I think it could be so empowering to encourage students to reflect on their own work and not just expect teachers to fix all the problems for them. I think it could also help student conferences be more time-effective.

Exploring Audience and Purpose Through a Single Issue: When my students read Catcher in the Rye, they conduct a debate about censorship, so I think this lesson could be a very useful model for me. It also reminds me to make my objectives in the debate assignment more clear.

Tracking the Ways Writers Develop Heroes and Villains: This lesson plan uses some of the greatest pop-cultural villains, Darth Vader, and Lord Voldemort, as examples, and also uses independent reading novels. I think it could be usefully adapted for texts like MacbethHamlet, or others that feature a villainous character.

Writing about Writing: An Extended Metaphor Assignment: This assignment asks students to write about themselves, which I have done in a profile form before, but uses “The Writer,” by Richard Wilbur, and allows for much more creative and reflective responses than my old profile does.

Punctuation Proofreading Mini-Lesson: Proofreading is a much more complex process than students are often willing to admit, so it’s good to have strategies for them to see and use.

Analyzing Grammar Pet Peeves: One of the better ways to teach grammar, I think, involves showing students the importance of grammar, beyond getting the rules right, and looking at these “grammar rants” can be a fun way to do that.

Grammar and Jabberwocky: I’ve used this poem before as a fun grammar exercise, but here are two specific plans, one basic lesson and then also another more advanced one, using nonsense to make sense through context an student’s understanding of parts of speech and grammar.

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