It's time! Many people are going back to school, and Teachers Pay Teachers is running their huge sale! Starting August 2nd, you will have the chance to enter in some amazing prize packs for all different subjects!
Over the past 15 years of teaching English to middle school
students, I have worked diligently and rigorously on alleviating my
frustrations when teaching and reviewing writing.Every year I start out with the same
expectations (alright, maybe a dream) that my students will write an articulate
first essay that is sprinkled with strong verbs and adjectives, constructed
with a solid structure, and speckled with flowing sentences that are craftily
placed. However, my hopes soon become a pipe dream, as my students still
struggle with the same skills-writing a solid introduction, conclusion, and
lengthening their sentences to sound more fluid, refined and sophisticated. I
know they learned these techniques the year prior, and I ask myself, why are these skills not sticking, and what
can I do to fix this…quickly? I thought I would share with you how I have learned
and created successful and fluent writers, as well as the techniques, tricks,
and tips that seem to work.
First, my motto is to engage, simplify and excite.Let me be frank.As much as we want to think so, most middle
school students do not like to write, especially structured essays;
therefore, creating exciting and engaging writing lessons, which simplifies the
process, is always my first task.I have
turned the parts of an introduction into a silly acronym-Give The Toddler The
Cookie (Grabber, Transitional Sentence, TAG, Thesis Statement and Concluding
Sentence). The acronym for the body paragraph is TALES-Topic Sentence, Add an
example/Claim, Lift a line/Cite a line from the text, Elaborate and Sum it up.
I have my students repeat and practice this over and over until it is engrained
in their mind, and crazy enough, they can recall it very easily!
Secondly, scaffolding the writing process is so important,
and as teachers, we can’t always expect them to know everything. One can easily
use the metaphor that writing is a building process.A teacher has to start from the foundation to
build higher-level writing techniques; in other words, a teacher has to start
with the basics, practice the basics, to move to the next step or floor. Therefore,
I start all the way in the basement with more sophisticated words and
sentences. We work on replacing “dead words”, lengthening sentences with
compound and complex sentences and choosing more sophisticated words. In
essence, these small techniques produce better paragraphs.I then move onto technique and
structure.I build the foundation of an
introduction, a body paragraph and a conclusion. This does not happen
overnight.This is a good week and half
process that consists of a lot (A LOT) of practice and mastery.Once we practice this, we move onto the
harder items like citations and elaboration.
Lastly, when I was in elementary school, I distinctly
remember practicing skills repeatedly until I mastered the skill (Do you
remember writing the script “S” over and over?).Unfortunately, because we are short on time
and our curriculums are more complex and riddled with work, we don’t have the
time to spend with our students to teach them how to master a skill.In education today, it is about teaching a
skill, quickly moving onto the next subject and covering the curriculum.I firmly believe in mastering a skill.How can I expect my students to write well if
I only taught and practiced the techniques of writing once? Therefore, when I
teach writing, if I have to quiz my students every day for two weeks on the
acronym “TALES” and what it stands for, this is what I will do until all the
students get it correct and MASTER the skill.
Right from the
beginning of the year, I have my students write out a model-planning page for
themselves, that they can apply to any class.As a “Do Now”, I will have them practice writing their planning page
over and over without any assistance, until they have it completely memorized.
Sometimes I will grade their planning page, and sometimes I will have them just
write it out for practice.All in all,
the repetition is essential to commit these items to memory.
If you notice, there is a common theme here, and that is scaffolding,
practice, and repetition.If you are
constantly and consistently jogging your students’ memory on the same skills,
it will eventually become embedded in their brain bank. It’s easy: build a
writing structure for your students, practice, and repeat the process again
until it is mastered. You will then begin to see the amazing changes in your
If you have a Twitter account, come join us tonight for the 2nd Twitter chat with middle and high school students! #2ndaryELA
Last week, two great bloggers, Literary Maven and 2Peas and a Dog, held our first Twitter chat. I learned so much and met so many great teachers from around the country. We were bouncing ideas around, and I learned some great ideas from some of the other teachers.
If you are on Twitter, you will have to join us for our next middle school/high school ELA chat next Tuesday night at 8:00. #2ndaryELA
Last night we discussed our favorite resources, books, and best practices. It was so nice to speak to other ELA teachers from around the country, and also get some new ideas for the upcoming year! All of the teachers who joined us had awesome ideas, and I look forward to chatting next week. I learned about some new websites that I have to check out and some great new book titles.
on Wednesday, 6pm EST/3pm Pacific Time (Thank you Suzy!)
I wrote a blog post about my successes with writing development, as well as tips, tricks and techniques that really work with writing. Even though I teach middle school, the writing development tricks and tips can apply to any grade!
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer vacation, as I am enjoying my much needed vacation in Virginia Beach. I am still working like a crazy woman in TpT products, and I happy to say that my almost year anniversary has paid for my February Puerto Rico trip! Hard work pays off!
As I sit on my beach chair, I just joined Twitter, though I really don't know what to do with it! @kim_englishohmy
I have not even been selling on Teacher's Pay Teachers for a year yet (September will be a year!), and I hit 200 followers yesterday! This is a great milestone for me!
I have to say, Teacher's Pay Teachers have exceeded so many of my expectations. I never expected to sell as much as I have, and I have collaborated with so many fantastic and creative teachers. I am so proud of my success, and I look forward to what my year two brings.
Since I have hit 200 followers, I thought I would offer one of my usually priced items in my store for FREE for the next 24 hours! Hurry! Come and grab it!
BODY PARAGRAPH MAP
I use this map to teach my 7th and 8th graders how to successfully and thoroughly write a body paragraph. There is an easy acronym to memorize the parts of the paragraph!
CLICK on the PICTURE to link to the free download!
I would greatly appreciate it if you rate the product! Please also look around at my other products!
PARAGRAPH OF THE WEEK GIVE-AWAY!!!
Enter the Giveaway Below!
The purpose of this product is to make your students more proficient writers with weekly assignments, with an end assignment of a full paragraph. Each two-week unit consists of a non-fiction article, a writing prompt, daily assignments, and lessons. Also included in this 130-page bundle is rubrics, step-by-step lessons, and other useful pieces. This is an entire year's worth of writing!!!