Thursday, November 1, 2012

Moving Students From SENTENCE to PARAGRAPH and BEYOND!

With the emphasis on writing found in the new Common Core Standards, teachers from all content areas will need to build a writing component into all courses.  Again, for English language learners they will need to master a writing style that may be different from their own. 

So how can teachers move all students from a basic simple sentence to a paragraph and beyond?  Here are some practical approaches which are highly effective. 
1.  Class journal writing with the teacher guiding the discussion and writing everything down that the class says.  This "I DO" phase allows the students to see how a paragraph can be developed from a small thought.  With everyone sharing and all comments being recognized by the teacher, anxiety levels drop.
2.  Offering students overly simplistic paragraphs with no details to have them rewrite them.  Again, the teacher models, then the students work with partners on their own version, and last, students try it on their own (or in small groups if the teacher thinks that they still need more support).  I have written a book in this technique.  There is a sample passage on ELL TEACHER PROS-THE DETECTIVE.  Here, students are to add details to make the passage one would want to read.  Again, teacher starts things off, charts results, scaffolds as needed, etc. (more detailed directions are in the book).  Students are always impressed with what they generate in such writing activities ($12.95-ebook).
3.  Break up the 5 sections of an essay topic.  Give students the THEME of the essay.  Divide the class into 5 groups and let each group on their own write a paragraph on their assigned section.  Bring the class together, review the group paragraphs and then discuss how they can be woven together to make a convincing essay.  This activity opens the door to lots of discussion.
4.  Create puzzles of cut up sentences from paragraphs to have students reassemble as small teams.
5.  Ask colleagues for more ideas.  The more ways teachers can trick students into liking writing, the better:)

MOVING FROM SENTENCE TO PARAGRAPH  With the Common Core Standards, every teacher will become a writing teacher.  Some will take to it easily while others may need some assistance.  This site cuts the process of writing down to a few short comprehensible chunks.  Teachers who might not be that comfortable with teaching writing to students will feel a bit more confident after this:)

Need a visual on how to move from a 3 word sentence to a 10 sentence paragraph?  Click here and be prepared to be amazed:)



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