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Monday, November 5, 2012

How Do You Get Students to Write? Find Topics They Relate to:)

Often times, when teachers mention the goal of the day is to address the finer points of writing, sighs fill the room:)

Here is an idea that might lead to animated student interest.  This is a cartoon on the life of a teenager in ancient Rome.  Before students start studying the cartoon, teachers should try activating some background knowledge on what their students know (or think they know) about life in Rome over 2000 years ago.  Have them compare notes with peers and then call on some students to offer what they came up with.  Here there is no right or wrong.  Once this is done, post their ideas on the wall (the chart paper their ideas are noted on).

Now, show the 6 minute cartoon LIFE AS A TEENAGER IN ANCIENT ROME  Students need to take notes as they watch.  They need to remember that they are looking for things teenagers did at that time.  Simple note-taking works here.  When they are done, have them in groups of 4 compare notes on what they observed.  This type of activity is especially helpful for ELLs because it gives them time to catch what they may have missed in the video.

Once that is done, draw students' attention to the brainstorming results they arrived at with the start of the lesson.  It should be their job now to see how correct they were in their guesses.  This activity will probably lead to some lively class discussion, and that is perfect because it naturally leads to the ultimate goal of the lesson which is to have them write a comparison/contrast paragraph (or essay if they are older and familiar with the more demanding writing assignment) contrasting the life of teenager in the 21st century with that of a teenager in ancient Rome.

When they have completed their writing, have each student find two other students to read his/her work and comment on it (not grammar but content).  Once the work is edited, students can jazz up their work with visuals to emphasize their point of view.  Teachers can then post them around the room and have students do gallery walks (walk around the room to see what their classmates have written).

If teachers give the impression that writing can be fun, students will pick up on it:)

Denise

ELL TEACHER PROS

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