The narrow “alphabetic” definition of writing found in many school classrooms actively disengages youth, says literacy author Shawna Coppola. Students simply prefer to compose using forms that incorporate visual, aural, and multimodal texts as a way to make or enhance meaning.
Rural teacher Brent Gilson wants to help his 7-9 students “begin to see the world as it is and can be” before they leave school. His book clubs and writing projects will help small town kids understand more about people “who at first glance do not seem at all like them.”
Storytelling – speaking, writing, hearing, and appreciating our own and other’s stories – can be an equalizer for ensuring all students’ lives are respected, honored, and recorded, writes Literacy Essentials author Regie Routman. Learn about her new podcast series.
Writing for authentic audiences motivates students to do their best work, says English department chair Kasey Short. Public audiences offer a practical reason to revise and edit and allow students’ ideas to have real impact. See her tips to transform routine assignments.
Writing in science, math and social studies is different from writing in ELA classes, says literacy consultant Lynne Dorfman. A lot of content area writing is informal – its purpose is to promote inquiry and reflection, and it can help students think in more disciplined ways.
In his years working with students with learning and attention challenges, Ezra Werb has seen how anxiety relief and confidence building can be crucial success factors. He shows here how including students’ interests and alleviating reading and writing stressors can help.
Umpires focus on the correctness of the game. Coaches concentrate on the growth of their players. Teacher Courtney Rejent and consultant Patty McGee show how to shift the focus from correcting writing to helping students develop good writing strategies through coaching.
Anna J. Small Roseboro offers educators a trio of books filled with an assortment of reading and writing strategies for teaching middle school students. Both veteran and beginning teachers will find any of these titles useful, writes education consultant Anne Anderson.
Giving students tools to slice into a text and formulate specific thoughts backed with evidence has transformed NBCT Marilyn Pryle’s classroom discussions. “Instead of tentative guesses from a few, we now have detailed conversations that draw the whole class in.”
Teacher educator Sean Ruday hopes students will take ownership of ELA concepts like “inference” or “sensory language” if they can make meaningful connections between “school talk” and aspects of their out-of-school lives. He shares examples from his own research.