Three forms of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are those activities which focus only from the CONTENT, such as lectures and discussions of texts. Second are activities related solely to WRITING as separate from the content concerns of the course. Grammar drills or sentence combining exercises fall into this category, but so would lecturing on writing in general or examining different types of good writing without reference to the information. Third are activities which teach BOTH WRITING AND CONTENT. Peer critiquing, journal writing, and group brainstorming teach both writing and content as does examining model essays that are chosen for both the quality of the writing and also the value of this content. The following advice are designed to show how writing may be taught not merely as a mechanical skill (through sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely whilst the display of data (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity in its own right. They truly are based on three premises:
that students can learn a deal that is great themselves as writers by getting more careful readers;
that astute readers attend to the dwelling associated with the text and locate that analyzing the writer’s choices at specific junctures provides them with a surer, more grasp that is detailed of;
that students can give their writing more focus and direction by thinking about details as elements of a whole, whether that whole be a sentence, paragraph, or chapter.
Thus, attention to a discipline’s language, methodology, formal conventions, and methods of creating context–as these are illustrated in texts, lectures, and student papers–is an way that is effective of writing.
Summary and Analysis Exercises
A) Have students write a 500-word summary of about 2000 words of text; then a 50-word summary; then a sentence summary that is single. Compare results for inclusivity, accuracy, emphasis, and nuance.
B) Analyze a text section or chapter. How could it be constructed? What has got the author done to make the Parts add up to a quarrel?
C) Analyze a particularly complex paragraph from a text. How is it come up with? What gives it unity? What role does it play in the chapter that is entire element of text?
Organizational Pattern Work
A) Scramble a paragraph and have students: 1) to put it together; 2) to touch upon the mental processes involved into the restoration, the decisions about continuity that they had to produce centered on their feeling of the writer’s thinking.
B) Have students find several types of sentences in a text, and explain exactly, when you look at the terms and spirit of the text, what these sentences are meant to do: juxtapose, equate, polarize, rank, distinguish, make exceptions, concede, contrast. Often, of course, sentences will do a couple of of the things at a time.
C) Have students examine an author’s punctuation and explain, again in terms of the argument, why, say, a semicolon was used.
D) Have students outline as a way of analyzing structure and discuss the choices a writer makes and exactly how these choices donate to reaching the writer’s purpose.
Formulation of Questions and Acceptability of Evidence
A) What can be treated as known? What exactly is acceptable procedure for ruling cases in or out?
B) Discuss how evidence is tested against an hypothesis, and exactly how hypotheses are modified. (How models are built and applied to data; how observations develop into claims, etc.)
C) Examine cause and effect; condition and result; argumentative strategies, such as comparison-contrast, and agency (especially the application of custom writing verbs), as basic building blocks in definition and explanation.
Peer critiquing and discussion of student writing may be handled in a number of different ways. The purpose of such activities is to have students read each other’s writing and develop their particular faculties that are critical with them to aid one another improve their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students know how their own writing compares with this of their peers and helps them uncover the characteristics that distinguish successful writing. You will need to understand that a teacher criticizing a text for a class is certainly not peer critiquing; for this will likely not supply the students practice in exercising their very own critical skills. Here are a few models of other ways this could be handled, and we also encourage one to modify these to match your purposes that are own.
A) The Small Groups Model–The class is divided in to three categories of five students each. Each week the student submits six copies of his / her paper, one when it comes to instructor and something for every member of her group. 60 minutes per week is devoted to group meetings in which some or most of the papers within the group are discussed. Before this combined group meeting, students must read all of the papers from their group and must write comments to be shared with the other writers. Thus, weekly writing, reading and critiquing are part of the program, and students develop skills through repeated practice that they would be struggling to develop if only asked to critique on three to four occasions. Because the teacher is present with every group, they might lead the discussion to assist students improve these skills that are critical.
B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to see and touch upon one another’s writing such that each learning student will receive written comments from one other student plus the teacher. The teacher can, needless to say, check out the critical comments along with the paper to greatly help students develop both writing and critical skills. This method requires no special copying and need take very little classroom time. The teacher might wish to allow some time when it comes to pairs to talk about one another’s work, or this might be done not in the class. The disadvantage of the method is the fact that the teacher cannot guide the discussions and students are limited by comments from just one of these peers.
C) Small Groups within Class–Many teachers break their classes into small groups (from 3 to 7 students) and invite class time for the combined groups to critique. The teacher can circulate among groups or sit in on an entire session with one group.
D) Critiques and Revision–Many teachers combine peer critiquing with required revisions to instruct students how to improve not only their mechanical skills, but also their thinking skills. Students may have comments that are critical their-teachers as well as from their peers to do business with. Some teachers choose to have students revise a first draft with only comments from their peers and then revise an extra time based on the teacher’s comments.
E) Student Critiques–Students must certanly be taught how to critique the other person’s work. Though some teachers may leave the character associated with the response up to the students, most make an effort to give their students some direction.
1) Standard Critique Form–This is a collection of questions or guidelines general enough to be applicable to any writing a learning student might do. The questions concentrate on such staples of rhetoric as audience, voice and purpose; in philosophy, they might guide the student to examine the logic or structure of an argument in English classes.
2) Assignment Critique Form–This is a couple of questions designed especially for a writing task that is particular. Such a form has the advantage of making students attend to the special aspects peculiar into the given task. If students make use of them repeatedly, however, they might become dependent they critique on them, never asking their own critical questions of the texts.
3) Descriptive Outline–Instead of providing questions to direct students, some teachers would rather teach their students to write a “descriptive outline.” The student reads the paper and stops to write after every section or paragraph, recording what he or she thought the section said and his or her responses or questions concerning it. The student writes his or her “summary comments” describing his or her reaction to the piece as a whole, raising questions about the writing, and perhaps making suggestions for further writing at the end.
Since writing by itself is of value, teachers need not grade all writing assignments–for instance journals, exploratory writing, and early drafts of more formal pieces. Teachers can make many comments on such writing to help students further their thinking but may wait for a far more finished, formal product before assigning grades.