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Real-World Writing and Classroom Application From Kelly Gallagher Write Like This
Write Like This: Real-World Writing Purposes In the real world, people write. Helping students learn the different purposes for writing is essential for their success.
Why? The ability to communicate in writing is an essential life skill. At some point in everyone’s life, people must write to notify someone, to ask a question, to clarify a response, to give an explanation, to request additional information, to complain or ask for further review.
Your Turn Make a quick list of the writing you’ve done this year (email counts)
My List Reflective entries on teaching for my National Board renewal Request additional information about a Core facilitation request Complaint letter about poor customer service Posted opinions on Facebook Thank you letter for superb customer service Model answers to teach students how to answer questions Create presentations for Utah Core Clarification emails to colleagues and parents
Utah Core Standards 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content 3. Write narratives to develop real experiences using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and wellstructured event sequences. 7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
Express and Reflect Expresses or reflects on own life and experiences Often looks backward in order to look forward Examples: Journals, autobiographical narratives, blogs, Twitter, Facebook
Inform and Explain States a main point and purpose Tries to present the information in a surprising way Examples: Answers to questions, essays, brochures, reports
Lesson Idea Do I Have to Write the Question? This is one of the easiest ways to teach students how to write to inform and explain. When they ask, “Do we have to write the question? ” tell them the question should be included in the answer. The reader should know what the question was by the way you wrote your answer.
Improves Sentence Fluency This also eliminates the irritating and grammatically incorrect way of answering questions when students begin their answers with “That they…” or “So they…”.
To Model This Strategy For minimal preparation, use the questions at the end of chapters as your model. Sample Question: How do I get my students to answer questions in complete sentences?
Model Answer Students need to answer questions in complete sentences and the easiest way to teach them to do this is to show them how to use the language of the question in their answer. By teaching them to incorporate the question into the answer AND to use the names of persons, places, or things as they answer, the students are demonstrating content knowledge and understanding.
Beyond the PB & J Writing to inform means more than simply explaining a process WHY is this important? WHAT did I learn?
Inquire and Explore • Wrestles with a question or problem • Hooks with the problem and lets the reader watch them wrestle with it Examples: Reports, research projects, inquiry lessons, labs
Lesson Idea Use David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work as the anchor/mentor text Students pick an interesting question and go find the answer, citing at least two sources and including at least one visual Extension: How did what they investigate lead to something else?
Evaluate and Judge Focuses on the worth of person, object, idea, or other phenomenon Usually specifies the criteria to the object being seen as “good” or “bad” Examples: Reviews, Critiques, Top Ten Lists
Lesson Idea Students write advice about situations in their lives and how to survive them Determining criteria for the perfect ______ helps students understand what these lists are all about, especially when they have to explain their selection
Analyze and Interpret • Seeks to analyze and interpret phenomena that are difficult to understand or explain Examples: Reviews, critiques, lab reports, literary interpretation
Lesson Idea Make a list of everything you see in the picture. You have five seconds. Look again for ten seconds. Look again and make a list with the people around you.
Take a Stand/Propose a Solution • Seeks to persuade audiences to accept a particular position on a controversial issue • Describes the problem, proposes a solution, and provides justification Examples: Research projects, essays, letters to the editor, problem/solution papers
Lesson Idea Would You Rather? is a game that offers choices that seem impossible. Would you rather be able to fast forward life or to rewind it? Would you rather be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound or run faster than the speed of sound?
Purpose Express and Reflect Inform and Explain One Topic: Evaluate and Judge = Inquire and Explore Analyze and Interpret Take a Stand/Propose a Solution Possible Writing Topics