Teaching Writing: Lesson 3
One area of writing I’ve been meaning to touch on is how to continue to guide students in their progress. With the plan one day, write the next, students are able to use their time wisely in class, but there are still others who just don’t get the process yet or they simply didn’t read the required material, so their planning and writing time turns into unintentional reading time.
On the day of writing, I coach students through using the 55-minutes efficiently, which does work. I give them the first 15-minutes to write an introduction; this paragraph is not planned so they do need to figure out the best hook, background, and thesis they can (they do have an initial thesis as part of the planning stage). Then they go through three 10-minute rounds of body paragraph writing following their plan chart. The thinking should be done, so they are able to concentrate on the syntax, diction, transitions, and craft that shapes their writing style to express these great ideas and to prove their claims. They use five of the remaining 10 minutes for their conclusion. The final five minutes for any last-minute editing.
To ensure they develop an awareness of what they are writing, I encourage (and buy plenty of pens) a color code of the different parts along with double spacing their work by skipping lines on their paper. The double spacing provides room not only for my comments, but for them to know they can change, add, remove their writing instead of worrying about submitting an essay sans scratch-outs.
This must be a good technique to use since I run through pens like water. Try it with your students.