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Things to Do for School Writing Programs

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Share Useful Strategies with Students.

Check with your English department or writing center to identify materials that can be easily distributed to students. Consider giving your students a bibliography of writing guides, for example: Techniques for eliminating bureaucratese and restoring energy to tired prose.

Science and Engineering Barrass, R. Chapman and Hall, Arts and Humanities Barnet, S. Reading and Writing in the Arts. Wayne State University Press, Social Sciences Biddle, A. Ask a composition instructor to give a presentation to your students.

Invite a guest speaker from the composition department or student learning center to talk to your students about effective writing and common writing problems. Faculty who have invited these experts report that such presentations reinforce the values of the importance of writing. Let students know about available tutoring services. Individual or group tutoring in writing is available on most campuses.

Ask someone from the tutoring center to give a demonstration in your class. Use computers to help students write better.

Locally developed and commercially available software are now being used by faculty to help students plan, write, and revise their written work. Assigning In-Class Writing Activities Ask students to write what they know about a topic before you discuss it. Ask your students to write a brief summary of what they already know or what opinions they hold regarding the subject you are about to discuss. Ask students to respond in writing to questions you pose during class.

Prior to class starting, list two or three short-answer questions on the board and ask your students to write down their responses. Your questions might call for a review of material you have already discussed or recalling information from assigned readings. Ask students to write from a pro or con position. When presenting an argument, stop and ask your students to write down all the reasons and evidence they can think of that supports one side or the other.

These statements can be used as the basis for discussion. During class, pause for a three-minute write. Periodically ask students to write freely for three minutes on a specific question or topic. They should write whatever pops into their mind without worrying about grammar, spelling, phrasing, or organization. This kind of free writing, according to writing experts, helps students synthesize diverse ideas and identify points they may not understand.

There is no need to collect these exercises. Have students write a brief summary at the end of class. You can easily collect the index cards and review them to see whether the class understood the discussion. Have one student keep minutes to be read at the next class meeting. By taking minutes, students get a chance to develop their listening, synthesizing, and writing skills.

Boris suggests the following: Prepare your students by having everyone take careful notes for the class period, go home and rework them into minutes, and hand them in for comments. Decide on one to two good models to read or distribute to the class. At the beginning of each of the following classes, assign one student to take minutes for the period.

Give a piece of carbon paper to the student who is taking minutes so that you can have a rough copy. The student then takes the original home and revises it in time to read it aloud at the next class meeting. After the student has read their minutes, ask other students to comment on their accuracy and quality. If necessary, the student will revise the minutes and turn in two copies, one for grading and one for your files. Structure small group discussion around a writing task. Ask your class to write freely for two to three minutes on just one of the words.

Next, give the students five to ten minutes to meet in groups to share what they have written and generate questions to ask in class. Use peer response groups. Divide your class into groups of three or four, no larger.

Ask your students to bring to class enough copies of a rough draft of a paper for each person in their group. Give your students guidelines for critiquing the drafts.

In any response task, the most important step is for the reader to note the part of the paper that is the strongest and describe to the writer why it worked so well. The following instructions can also be given to the reader: Divide the class into groups no larger than four students and divide the papers coded for anonymity into as many sets as there are groups.

Give each group a set and ask the students to read each paper silently and decide on the best paper in the set. Each group should discuss their choices and come to a consensus on the best paper.

After all the groups have read all the sets of papers, someone from each group writes on the board the code number from the best paper in each set.

The recurring numbers are circled. Generally, one to three papers stand out. Ask students to identify the characteristics of effective writing. With an increasingly reliance on technology, teachers sometimes fear that students are losing the art of face-to-face and formal written communication. Whether students are still struggling with basic to complex grammatical concepts, or they need help elaborating their thoughts in thoughtful, sensical written pieces, teachers can rest assured: The following apps are great tools for helping students master grammar and spelling.

It uses a game-like interface to teach students to form grammatically correct simple, compound, and complex sentences. Spelling is a cornerstone of strong writing. This app builds agency and confidence in proper spelling.

Written by a team of linguists from the University College of London, the grammar in this app is based on the most current research and reflects real situations and real sentences, not just the repetition of archaic rules.

The app is progressive, spanning concepts from basic level understanding to complex, collegiate-level pieces of writing. Technically, No Red Ink is an interactive website, but it is so functional and easy to navigate, that it has earned its place on a list alongside self-contained apps!

No Red Ink is a personalized approach to drilling grammar skills. The Writing Challenge App allows students to enjoy writing in the guide of a fun, interactive game. The app provides a prompt to get student writing started…then, every minute, the app supplies another prompt to add new ideas, words, characters, sentences, places or actions to the plot.

Students who have a hard time getting started with creative writing assignments will enjoy the fast-paced, game-like setup of this app. This app generates fiction, and nonfiction writing prompts, helping students master the skill of the short write.

The app uses current events, scene elements, words, pictures, colors, and even random tidbits from fiction works to inspire students to write both short and long pieces. The creative writing prompts are available both on- and offline to encourage student writing wherever they may be.

Story Builder is an app from the same company that produces Sentence Builder. The app is designed to help students improve paragraph formation, integration of idea, inference, and abstract thinking and expression. The app offers a talk-to-text function, which allows students to narrate their thoughts and see them transformed into paragraphs; this is an essential scaffold for struggling writers.

Write About This is an app that addresses all genres of writing throughout elementary school, engaging students and making them feel excited about writing! This app is worth investigating for teachers of reluctant writers. Storyrobe allows writers to write, share their work, and receive feedback from others.

This is a great way to integrate student editing and revision as well as teaching how to incorporate positive feedback to writers. With this app, you can easily save and upload your story to social media platforms as well!

How to differentiate writing activities:

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How can I help students become better writers in the discipline when I am not a writing teacher? Share Useful Strategies with Students. Many of the writing strategies we take for granted (e.g., how to write an introduction, how to research relevant sources) are not at all obvious to our students. And yet, these issues arise so frequently. The Writing Challenge App allows students to enjoy writing in the guide of a fun, interactive game. The app provides a prompt to get student writing started then, every minute, the app supplies another prompt to add new ideas, words, characters, sentences, places or actions to the plot.

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Helping Students Who Struggle to Write: Classroom Compensations. By: Regina G. Richards. Many fun and efficient software programs are available to help students learn appropriate keyboarding. Offering access to a variety of programs helps decrease boredom and allows for choice, as the student may select different software each night. 4) For students with difficulties with writing conventions (spelling, grammar, etc), I recommend having them start a personal spelling and grammar dictionary to help them with frequently used or misused words or grammatical rules. I would like it if they can keep such a log on their iTouch or phones.