by Constance D. Casserly
With this Trio of Writing Freebies, teachers will just say, “YES!” to reinforcing proper paragraph format, to luring in readers with magnetizing hooks and to reinforcing powerful word choices.
Language Arts Comprehension Check: Ten Sentence Format
This Ten Sentence Format is perfect for clarifying and reinforcing the parts of an essay, for using as an announced or unannounced quiz when teachers of students grades 6-12 wish to check reading and writing comprehension and for general writing practice or warm-ups.
This writing format reviews and reinforces the basic structure of a paragraph: Introduction (Hook, overview, Thesis statement), Body (Main Idea, supporting details), and Conclusion (Concluding statement – thelast thought). I call this final sentence a kicker, as the last statement should end with a bang and not a whimper (thank you T.S. Eliot for this phrase).
Once students master this concept, they can easily be shown how the Main Idea paragraphs can be expanded with details and developed into more paragraphs so they can create a complete essay.
Writing (All Types) Activity: Reel in Readers With Magnetizing Hooks
Readers are more apt to keep reading if the writer grabs their attention. Students are more apt to write with vivid verbs and specific nouns and adjectives that will snag their readers’ attention when we teachers entice them by baiting our lesson plan hooks with a multitude of opportunities for them to own their writing.
When we do this, our students will become emotionally involved with their writing and will understand that the lead sentences act as a fishing hook, and every word that forms them is the bait. They will learn that the hook has one main purpose: luring readers to the writer’s world.
Not only will they hook their readers, but they will also capture the interest of the people who rate their standardized test writing responses. Most importantly, though, they will embrace writing because they are Writing Right.
Writing – “Just Say, ‘NO!’ to Dull Writing”
This year-long activity was always one of my core Middle and High School lesson plans. On the first day of school, I handed it out to my students right after we reviewed the syllabus and classroom rules and expectations.
I explained to my charges that they were required to refer to it for any writing-graded or non-graded – throughout the year. Also, I made a poster of it to hang in the classroom and I taped a copy of the list to each desk for continual writing reinforcement.
Olga, a former student who is now a senior in college, asked me to send it to her because she was tutoring at a Virginia university’s writing center. She said, “I have to do a presentation on making writing concise and precise. Would you send me a copy of your taboo words list please? It has been – and will continue to be – the best advice on writing well that I’ve found.”
When this Taboo Words and Phrases List impacts your students’ thinking and writing, it will become a lifelong tool for them, just as it has been for Olga.
Give yourselves the gift of time and relax, knowing that this triple play of lessons lessons will review and reinforce the effective writing that you have been teaching them all year. If you are asked, “Are your students ready for the standardized tests?” you can smile and say, “They are ready to hit home runs”.
Enjoy a Teach IT Now Day, every day,