Sentence-by-Sentence

Tip From: Robin Letendre, LD Mentor

This is a fun, hands-on strategy that allows students to see their writing take shape.

In this strategy, you will need post-it notes, but if you do not have access to post-it notes, index cards or cut up recycled paper works fine.

In this strategy, you want students to write one sentence per post-it note, index card, or piece of paper.

Tell students to keep in mind this process while they are writing.

Once the students have finished writing on their post-it notes, index cards, or paper, have them place their sentences one by one on their desk.

This is a kinesthetic and tactile experience.  It allows the students to see their writing take place, and it allows them ease in moving sentences around and making edits to their writing, without having to rewrite the entire essay.

Once students have placed their post-it notes, index cards or pieces of paper in the order they want, they are now free to write their good copy.

www.readingrockets.com

By |January 16th, 2017|Writing|Comments Off on Sentence-by-Sentence

Person of Interest

This is a fun activity to work on describing people. In a beginning level class picture dictionaries are helpful in finding the vocabulary. In higher levels, or a multilevel class, have students build vocabulary by finding synonyms for basic words such as short (petite) fat (heavy, robust) etc.

Draw or cut out a picture of a person.

Describe the person in words.

Give the person a name, age, family, job, favorite book, TV show, food, hobby (endless list depending on level of student/class).

Students can share their Person of Interest with each other or give a class presentation (oral speaking before a group with something they created).

Randomly put 2 or 3 of these Persons in a group and have the students decide how these Persons know each other. What is there connection?

Have students save these in a folder and date them. You could have them add a new person each month, or quarter throughout the year. This is one way in which they can see their progress in vocabulary choice, writing skills and comfort in “public speaking.” As the class changes during the year, this activity can easily be taken over by the students to bring new students into the activity. It will build their confidence in using English and describing people is something we may not realize but do often when talking with others.

Tip from Chris Powers

By |April 6th, 2016|All Levels, Speaking, Vocabulary, Writing|Comments Off on Person of Interest

Persuasive Essays

Do you want to teach students to write great persuasive essays? First teach them to “unpack” the prompt.

Teach students to identify the audience and purpose behind the prompts.
Teach students to identify what readers will look for and how they can present themselves as experts on the issue.
Teach students how to search through each writing prompt for significant words—both those that give clues to the content expected and those that suggest the type of essay required.
Teach students how to find clues to the content and scope required by each prompt as well as to the organization and development that will be necessary for the response.

From Susan Bubp

By |May 2nd, 2015|HiSET, Writing|Comments Off on Persuasive Essays

Mentor Texts

Instead of “rules only” instruction of grammar and writing, try using mentor texts. A mentor text is any text that can teach a specific aspect of writing. It could be something as ordinary as using quotation marks to instances where a sentence smacks of goodness. Find mentor texts in newspapers, magazines, literature, or your students’ own great sentences. Read the sentences aloud. Then have students examine them closely visually to see how they’re constructed. When you teach students how to listen to the way words play off each other, appreciate well-crafted sentences, and understand what makes them work so well, the next step is that they will write their own amazing sentences.

From Susan Bubp

By |April 25th, 2015|Writing|Comments Off on Mentor Texts

Sentence-by-Sentence

This is a fun, hands-on strategy that allows students to see their writing take shape.

In this strategy, you will need post-it notes, but if you do not have access to post-it notes, index cards or cut up recycled paper works fine.

In this strategy, you want students to write one sentence per post-it note, index card, or piece of paper.

Tell students to keep in mind this process while they are writing.

Once the students have finished writing on their post-it notes, index cards, or paper, have them place their sentences one by one on their desk.

This is a kinesthetic and tactile experience.  It allows the students to see their writing take place, and it allows them ease in moving sentences around and making edits to their writing, without having to rewrite the entire essay.

Once students have placed their post-it notes, index cards or pieces of paper in the order they want, they are now free to write their good copy.

www.readingrockets.com

(Adapted from Bender, William N.  Differentiating Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities.  Thousand Oaks, California:  Corwin Press, Inc., 2002)

From Robin Letendre

By |January 5th, 2015|All Levels, Writing|Comments Off on Sentence-by-Sentence

Adult high school

When the topic of writing comes up in an adult education classroom, it’s often met with groans, dropped shoulders, and loss of eye contact.  Since writing practice is the key to improving writing, how do we get these frustrated students on the path to not only improve their writing skills, but also, develop their writers’ voices?

Starting each class – whether it be English, or biology, or algebra – with a writing prompt is not only a great way to increase students’ writing skills, but also to “hook your students in” at the beginning of the class.  Have each student keep a writing journal for the class that stays in the classroom.  This isn’t a homework tool, but rather, an in-class artifact that will show writing improvement by the end of the term.

Give students writing prompts that are not only relevant to the topic at hand, but relevant to their lives as well.  Allow for choice each time; give at least two choices each class.  If a student thinks he/she can’t write on the choice topics, allow him/her to write about something that is relevant to the topic as well as a pressing issue for him/her on that night.

When you read and review your students’ journals, respond in writing.  You can ask questions for the writer to reflect on in future journal assignments.  You can comment on particular insightful points the students have made, or thoughts you also have on the subject.  This is a great way to make connections with your students, and to encourage writing as a means of communication.

For a number of reasons, you should try not to correct spelling or grammatical mistakes in the journals.  The journal becomes a deeply personal communication […]

By |December 29th, 2014|Journaling, Writing|Comments Off on Adult high school

Editing the News

I give my class editing practice based on current stories from the news.  To prepare the lesson, I rewrite a story without capitals and end punctuation.  Also I include many spelling and homonym errors that I have noticed in the students’ compositions. Finally, I add a skill gleaned from the mini-lesson that precedes the whole activity. The mini-lesson can be on a grammar, punctuation or usage point. The skills in each page of editing practice are cumulative. Before we begin the editing practice, we talk about the content of the story, so the students have a chance to ask questions about the issue and discuss their opinions. After everyone finishes editing, we go over the paper using a document camera or an overhead projector, so everyone sees all the corrections. This activity makes editing a little more interesting since the content is current and the students’ schema is activated before they start. After we finish the editing practice, we read the entire story from the news. I find The Times in Plain English at http://www.thetimesinplainenglish.com/wp/ to be a great source of news stories for this activity.

Tip from Susan Bubp

By |November 20th, 2014|ABE, GED, Writing|Comments Off on Editing the News

Group Writing

One way to get students writing and working together is to brainstorm ideas for writing topics together. Be sure to write all student ideas on the board. This activity really helps students get started. They have a list of ideas as well as the correct spelling of words they might use. Students can write a paragraph together of individually. This method works well in a multi-level classroom. Some students may write a paragraph while others develop an essay.

Topics that work well with this activity include:

The Characteristics of a Good Parent, Good Student, or Good Teacher
The Best Season of the Year
What I Like About Living in New Hampshire / What I Don’t Like About Living in NH
The Qualities of a Good Husband or Wife
What Makes Someone a Good Friend?

Tip from Denise Reddington

By |October 23rd, 2014|All Levels, Class Management, Writing|Comments Off on Group Writing

Notability App

Notability is a great, inexpensive app for IPads. Although it’s designed for taking notes, it’s quite versatile. You can type on it, draw on it, and add photos or webpages. It has an amazing array of fonts, colors and outline features. It also has an audio feature that lets you record a lecture and take notes at the same time. For college transition students, this would be a fine tool to learn to use. But I’ve also found it to be a great tool for my beginning- level students.  Not only do they have the option of typing or writing on the screen with a stylus, but the word prediction feature helps with spelling. What the students seem to enjoy most is the record feature which enables them to listen to what they’ve written and hear the sound of their writing. It seems to give them more confidence and permission to take risks with their writing in a way that paper and pencil cannot.

Tip from Susan Bubp

By |September 16th, 2014|ABE, College Transitions, GED, Teacher Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Notability App

Name Writing

This is a fun way to learn names and practice writing or grammar throughout the year. Ask each student to write their name vertically and then to find a picture of something that begins with that letter and represents themselves. They could also draw if they chose. You can use this same idea, use a name, and then write a color, food, adjective, verb or noun that begins with each letter. Once the activity is mastered the students can focus on the skill of the task. Add a twist, use someone else’s name!
Extend this activity by having the students work with this vocabulary to write a paragraph. This can be done individually, in pairs or small groups.

Tip from Chris Powers

By |September 2nd, 2014|ABE, ESOL, Vocabulary, Writing|Comments Off on Name Writing