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But over the next year or so, I plan to also share more of what I know about teaching students to write.Although I know many of the people who visit here are not strictly English language arts teachers, my hope is that these posts will provide tons of value to those who are, and to those who teach subjects, including writing.
I would ask students which author they feel did the best job of influencing the reader, and what suggestions they would make to improve the writing.
I would also ask them to notice things like stories, facts and statistics, and other things the authors use to develop their ideas.
Ideally, this writing would come from real publications and not be fabricated by me in order to embody the form I’m looking for.
(Although most experts on writing instruction employ some kind of mentor text study, the person I learned it from best was Katie Wood Ray in her book Study Driven).
Since I want the writing to be high quality and the subject matter to be high interest, I might choose pieces like Jessica Lahey’s Students Who Lose Recess Are the Ones Who Need it Most and David Bulley’s School Suspensions Don’t Work.
I would have students read these texts, compare them, and find places where the authors used evidence to back up their assertions.Every class of students I have ever had, from middle school to college, has loved loved LOVED this activity.It’s so simple, it gets them out of their seats, and for a unit on argument, it’s an easy way to get them thinking about how the art of argument is something they practice all the time.Unlike the mentor texts we read on day 1, this sample would be something teacher-created (or an excellent student model from a previous year) to fit the parameters of the assignment.Before letting students loose to start working on their essays, I make sure they have a solid plan for writing.I look for and put together resources that would appeal to any teacher who teaches any subject.That practice will continue for as long as I keep this up.So let’s begin with argumentative writing, or persuasive writing, as many of us used to call it.This overview will be most helpful to those who are new to teaching writing, or teachers who have not gotten good results with the approach you have taken up to now. Yes, I was certified to teach the full spectrum of English language arts—literature, grammar and usage, speech, drama, and so on—but my absolute favorite, the thing I loved doing the most, was teaching students how to write.Most of the material on this site is directed at all teachers.