Yes, I was certified to teach the full spectrum of English language arts—literature, grammar and usage, speech, drama, and so on—but my absolute favorite, the thing I loved doing the most, was teaching students how to write.Most of the material on this site is directed at all teachers.Unlike the mentor texts we read on day 1, this sample would be something teacher-created (or an excellent student model from a previous year) to fit the parameters of the assignment.
Then again, I’m always interested in how other people do the things I can already do; maybe you’re curious like that, too.
Before I start, I should note that what I describe in this post is a fairly formulaic style of essay writing.
I look for and put together resources that would appeal to any teacher who teaches any subject.
That practice will continue for as long as I keep this up.
I would devote at least one more class period to having students consider their topic for the essay, drafting a thesis statement, and planning the main points of their essay in a graphic organizer.
I would also begin writing my own essay on a different topic.Then they take turns explaining why they are standing in that position.This ultimately looks a little bit like a debate, as students from either side tend to defend their position to those on the other side.Ideally, this writing would come from real publications and not be fabricated by me in order to embody the form I’m looking for.(Although most experts on writing instruction employ some kind of mentor text study, the person I learned it from best was Katie Wood Ray in her book Study Driven).Before leaving this step, I would have students transfer their thoughts from the discussion they just had into something that looks like the opening paragraph of a written argument: A statement of their point of view, plus three reasons to support that point of view. Next I would show students their major assignment, the performance assessment that they will work on for the next few weeks. It’s generally a written prompt that describes the task, plus the rubric I will use to score their final product.Anytime I give students a major writing assignment, I let them see these documents very early on.I don’t claim to have the definitive answer on how to do this, but the method I share here worked pretty well for me, and it might do the same for you.If you are an experienced English language arts teacher, you probably already have a system for teaching this skill that you like.So let’s begin with argumentative writing, or persuasive writing, as many of us used to call it.This overview will be most helpful to those who are new to teaching writing, or teachers who have not gotten good results with the approach you have taken up to now.