Bringing students on board with writing is not an easy task. Finding ways for them to see that they’re improving as writers is equally challenging. I love Larry Ferlazzo’s method for students to track their growth. In his post My Revised Final Exam (And an Important Lesson), Larry shares a simple but powerful 3-step strategy:
- Using an Improvement Rubric, have students compare an essay they wrote at the beginning of the year to an end-of-the-year essay
- Ask them to reflect on and complete a 4-question handout
- And now for the best part: have them choose one of the essays to do as a re-write.
I recommend reading the entire post, in which Larry walks you through the process and concludes about the assignment, “This impresses on me the importance of looking for more regular opportunities for students to identify for themselves the growth they are gaining.”
Scholastic, always one of my favorite publishers and sites, has some wonderful resources for helping students become writers. Check out their Writing With Writers site. Students who are Jane Yolen fans, for instance, can learn to write a myth with a little guidance from Jane.
Scholastic also features a great resource for writing teachers: Resources for Every Teachers to Reach Every Child. I think you will like the selection of authors and their topics, such as one of my favorite writing mentors, Linda Reif, sharing What gets kids motivated to write?
And one last thought and resource…Still thinking about Larry’s final writing assignment. Need a new twist for your GATE or advanced writers? How about getting them to think comparatively about writing, specifically how their style compares to that of a well-known writer. Also gleaned from one of Larry’s many, many posts, the I Write Like site:
Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers. Any text in English will do: your latest blog post, journal entry, comment, chapter of your unfinished book, etc. For reliable results paste at least a few paragraphs (not tweets).”
I’m not normally drawn to gimmicky approaches to teaching writing, but I suspect I Write Like could add a challenge and a whole new layer to students’ revising and editing talents.
I’m planning to add to this list, with a goal of “100 Great Resources for Student Writers.” Please jump in if you have resources to add!
July 22, 2010 at 11:00 am
Thanks for your kind words. Glad you found the info useful!
July 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm
You’re very welcome, Larry. I really appreciate and look forward to your reviews, resouces, and strategies! I’m seriously hoping int the fall to start a year-long series of posts titled and tagged as “Best of Larry Ferlazzo’s Best of Lists”;-)
July 25, 2010 at 5:27 am
Fun new book for eager writers is SPILLING INK by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter http://www.spillinginkthebook.com/
July 25, 2010 at 6:37 am
Thank you the recommendation, Monica. I’m ordering the book today and plan to become a regular visitor to the Spilling Ink website.
The other site I’m adding to my reader – also gleaned from your blog – is the http://www.storysleuths.com/ blog. Taking time to “read like writers” is a piece of the literacy puzzle missing from too many of the scripted, mandated reading programs that many districts have adopted.
July 25, 2010 at 7:14 am
Yay! Storysleuths is(are?) wonderful!