Later, in the s and s, this movement took on the language of civil rights, with teachers striving to empower nonwhite and poor children by encouraging them to narrate their own lived experiences. Calkins, founding director of the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, a leading center for training teachers in process-oriented literacy strategies.
One of the largest efforts is the National Writing Project, whose nearly branches train more than , teachers each summer. The organization was founded in , at the height of the process-oriented era. As part of its program at Nassau Community College, in a classroom not far from the one where the teenagers were working on their college essays, a group of teachers — of fifth grade and high school, of English, social studies and science — were honing their own writing skills. Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth, and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered, and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
A major goal of this workshop — the teacher-training component of the Long Island Writing Project — was to get teachers writing and revising their own work over the summer so that in the fall they would be more enthusiastic and comfortable teaching the subject to children. She found it stultifying and believes she developed her writing skill in spite of such lessons, not because of them.
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Sometimes, she said, she will reinforce grammar by asking students to copy down a sentence from a favorite book and then discuss how the author uses a tool like commas. In fact, research finds that students exposed to a glut of such instruction perform worse on writing assessments. But what about those students, typically low income, with few books at home, who struggle to move from reading a gorgeous sentence to knowing how to write one? Could there be a better, less soul-crushing way to enforce the basics? In her teacher training sessions, Dr. Hochman of the Writing Revolution shows a slide of a cute little girl, lying contentedly on her stomach as she scrawls on a piece of composition paper.
Hochman exclaimed. Small children should write at desks, she believes. Students are given the root clause, and must complete the sentence with a new clause following each conjunction:. Fractions are like decimals because they are all parts of wholes. Fractions are like decimals, but they are written differently.
Fractions are like decimals, so they can be used interchangeably. Along the way, students are learning to recall meaningful content from math, social studies, science and literature. Hochman told the teachers, many of whom work in low-income neighborhoods. Her training session lacks the fun and interactivity of the Long Island Writing Project, because it is less about prompting teachers to write and chat with colleagues and more about the sometimes dry work of preparing worksheets and writing assignments that reinforce basic concepts. Nevertheless, many teachers who learn Dr.
Molly Cudahy, who teaches fifth-grade special education at the Truesdell Education Campus, a public school in Washington, D. At her school, percent of students come from low-income families. There is a notable shortage of high-quality research on the teaching of writing, but studies that do exist point toward a few concrete strategies that help students perform better on writing tests. First, children need to learn how to transcribe both by hand and through typing on a computer.
Quick communication on a smartphone almost requires writers to eschew rules of grammar and punctuation, exactly the opposite of what is wanted on the page. Before writing paragraphs — which is often now part of the kindergarten curriculum — children do need to practice writing great sentences. At every level, students benefit from clear feedback on their writing, and from seeing and trying to imitate what successful writing looks like, the so-called text models.
Some of the touchy-feel stuff matters, too. Students with higher confidence in their writing ability perform better. All of this points toward a synthesis of the two approaches. Troia, the Michigan State professor, said. Admission Essay. Analytical Essay. Descriptive Essay. Write My Paper.
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