On these occasions, I’ve found it helpful to allow them to break the rules but also let them know how they’re doing so. [The best writing teachers are writers themselves] McKamey spent 29 years teaching in majority black and Latino schools. … We need to do this as teachers, though. Creative writing exercises are a fun and interesting way to improve your writing skill. Some letters will require them to lift up their pencils, and they should be taught when to … When students read short pieces by authors with distinctive voices and as a class identify how—on the sentence level—the writing is unique and interesting, they learn practical ways to infuse writing with personality. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. They’ll need your help discerning which idea would yield the most engaging writing for them. Letting them try on different writing styles is invaluable: A great way to help students develop their writing voices is to let them imitate others. “I just don’t like this part,” they’ll say. A random sample of language arts, social studies, and science middle school teachers from the United States were surveyed about their preparation to teach writing, beliefs about responsibilities for teaching writing, use of evidence-based writing practices, assessment of writing… A random sample of language arts, social studies, and science middle school teachers from the United States were surveyed about their preparation to teach writing, beliefs about responsibilities for teaching writing, use of evidence-based writing practices, assessment of writing… In this post, we’re going to break down how to teach literary analysis to middle school students (or as we call it, evidence-based writing). Simple rubrics make a huge difference: Rubrics let students know what you’re looking for in their writing, and middle schoolers are most attentive to rubrics that include as little text as possible. Mentor texts are a student’s armor as they attempt more sophisticated compositions, protecting students by giving them a guide to good writing while still requiring them to be creative and use their own words. More text can overwhelm students and limit you when you’re grading. Think about offering a menu so they have choices—for instance give options such as writing a poem, a chapter in their own memoir, song lyrics, a fictional short story, or even an informative nonfiction article using research (for your fact-loving students!). “Show, don’t tell” is a cardinal rule of writing. And generally a writer should know the rules of the language before breaking them. However, having your own teacher arsenal of writing strategies and tools will help you lead your mighty army of authors to victory, time and time again. We can embrace the quirks: It’s important to teach students the terminology and structures of English grammar so that they understand what you mean when you discuss the makeup of a sentence. There are ways to help kids slay the writing dragon while maintaining peace in your kingdom. Begin with lessons on brainstorming and determining whether students' theses will work for the assignment. How to Teach Middle School Students. Divide your lesson into chunks. What I’ve learned to be true about teaching writing to middle schoolers is rooted in the importance of both coaching them on the conventions of writing in English and giving them room to be who they are. This anchor chart, best for upper elementary writers, can be used to… This is a great way to spur reluctant writers into action because they aren’t starting with a blank slate. Students should be taught to start their letters at the top (or middle, as is the case with some lowercase letters), and use continuous strokes as much as possible. Choice is crucial, but students need help choosing: When students are able to follow their interests … However, if left to their own devices, students sometimes begin writing about topics that don’t lead them anywhere. HOLIDAY GIVEAWAYS FOR TEACHERS, Classroom Coding & Robotics … Everything You Need to Get Started, Protected: Classroom Talk-to-Text Project, How to Save for Retirement When You and Your Spouse are BOTH Educators, 6 Ways to Make Teaching Grammar Fun (I’m Serious), Join the WeAreTeachers Influencer Network. Limit the amount of lecture. 6. Theirs are always better. Don’t focus on big or fancy words. 8. Introduce and post the definition somewhere in the classroom. A thesis is the main idea of an essay or report. 2. Try not to lecture for more than fifteen minutes. 3. Middle school students have lots of opinions, but they often don’t watch the news or get their information from reliable sources. Providing students with a current event article, pairing it with a video, (or song lyrics, or poem, or chapter from a novel or memoir) and then asking them to put down their thoughts really inspire some passionate writing. I list vertically the five to 10 elements (title, lead, thesis, etc.) Choice is crucial, but students need help choosing: When students are able to follow their interests and curiosity, it’s more likely that their writing will be honest and compelling. Whatever it is, they’re capable of astounding us and each other if we teach them well. However, middle schoolers sometimes create sentences with peculiar characteristics that look and sound striking but are grammatically incorrect. Over the years I’ve used many mentor texts. "I just can't think of anything to write." 1. Heard those words before? 6 Armstrong Road | Suite 301 | Shelton, CT | 06484, $10,000 IN PRIZES! She has taught grades 4-11 but believes that middle schoolers are awesome and are highly underrated! This way, grammatical conventions aren’t forgotten—they’re purposefully ignored to help students develop a voice on the page. Now, go forth, and WRITE! Emily is a Title 1 middle school teacher who promotes reading to her students and actively attempts to put relevant and diverse books into their hands. Instead, concentrate on offering alternatives to “dead” words like very, a lot, great, etc. that I assess on the left side of the rubric, and horizontally along the top I include four simple categories: AWESOME, Pretty good!, OK..., and a crying emoji. Conveniently, sentence structure is an excellent skill to … 5 Ways to Help Middle Schoolers Write Beyond the Bare Minimum 1. First, we start off with a simple mystery story that … For high-school or college students writing paragraphs in persuasive or academic essays, secondary sources help strengthen the students’ claims. To add some perspective to this, the California Fifth Grade Writing Strategies Standard 1.0 is, “Students write … It’s our job to provide students with a battle plan (because writing is a battle for many kids). This will definitely help them take ownership of their own work. They need to name their strengths and weaknesses: When meeting with students one on one, begin by asking them to identify the strengths and weaknesses of whatever piece they’re working on. Receiving, Replying, & Forwarding Email. Teaching writing is not for the faint of heart—especially in middle school! For example, for a student writing about the decline of dolphin populations due to poor fishing practices, students could quote a recent news report. Overview. This makes hunting for clichés fun, and each time we bury a cliché, students come up with new creative descriptions. Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Writing This guide focuses on teaching writing in grades 2-6 and what should be considered remedial writing in grades 7- 9. Here are a few ideas: Display each hook strategy as a station around the room. If given opportunities to use these styles in their own writing, students are one step closer to understanding how to make their written work more representative of who they are. Offer (lots of) word lists and graphic organizers.. But I’ve been in the classroom, and I know they aren’t used often enough. It is intended to be practical and easy for teachers … Maybe it’s their fully intact imaginations and natural inclination to creatively express themselves. Your guidance is invaluable. I knew I wanted my students to understand that writing was relevant to their lives beyond school. Picture books make wonderful mentor texts to quickly teach middle school and high school students expository writing creatively. It’s amazing how much ground they can cover in one class. Using Debates Set up a debate. Teach Narrative Writing with Videos Video and narrative writing go hand in hand. The genre of autobiographical writing builds on the existing interest that middle school students already have in themselves and their lives while helping them develop and understand the craft of writing. This can be frustrating for the student and teacher … As you prepare your students to begin writing narratives, you’ll want to teach them the elements of the genre. As a class, they should ask their questions and take notes on what the writer says. Then pass out several short essays for the students to read. Again, your job is to help them be specific. 7. Clichés are fantastic for teaching creative expression: Middle schoolers often use clichés, in the belief that using them makes their writing better. 4. One of my favorites is the first vignette from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Students can model their own writing after Cisneros’ vignette by describing the places they have lived and the people they’ve known in those places along the way. For many students, there is no amount of cajoling, pleading, or threatening that will produce a response other than, “I don’t know what to write.” They seem to want to write the minimum word count and move on to the next task at hand. 1. Encourage students—constantly—to be specific. This might seem obvious because we all know these supports make writing more accessible for students. They need to consistently ask themselves two questions: Middle schoolers often leave important ideas off the page because they either assume you know they’re talking about or haven’t pushed themselves to think critically about what they’re saying. Explain the differences between primary … Before students can conquer the task of writing a thesis, they have to understand the definition. When asked to develop a Writing for Publication course for middle school students, I turned to ReadWriteThink.org for inspiration and advice. A colleague gave me the idea to create a cliché graveyard for my classroom—a poster cut into the shape of a gravestone that we add clichés to as we identify them. Er, I mean, classroom. I know it’s not always possible to let students choose the type of writing they want to do, but when possible, it’s important to let them express themselves. 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