Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Idea to Boost Writing Skills:)

Well, I tried an editing support strategy that I learned at a summer workshop last year. It only requires a student to have a writing product, a sheet of binder or loose leaf paper, and a pencil. Students may work alone or with a partner.

Fold the paper so that you have four columns. At the top of each column (front and back), write what you want the student to look for in her/his writing. Students must number each sentence. I then have my students add the following items to each of the 8 columns:

1) first word in the sentence
2) punctuation
3) spelling
4) # of words in the sentence
5) subject-verb agreement
6) verb tense
7) GREAT word choice
8) word order

Students go sentence by sentence to look for the item at the top of the column so if they are doing #4, they count the number of words for the sentence they are working on and then post the number only in that column. They remind me of accountants as they carefully study each sentence:)

Remember that my students have heavy errors in the above areas. Yours may have different issues. The plus side of this activity is that it requires nothing in the way of special supplies.

With students facing so many high stakes tests which involve writing, students must become proficient in writing if they are to pass their high school exit exam so that they may graduate. I have been using this approach for two weeks now--not every day, but at least once a week. The more familiar they become with the process, the less time will be needed to address their errors.

Next week, we are taking this tool to the next phase--peer editing (3 reads).

I think this is working!


ELL Teacher Pros

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