Updated: Nov 4, 2019
My teaching certification is in secondary English/Language Arts. Reading and writing is my specialty, especially with the 7-12 grade crowd. My favorite resources (for mom and teacher alike) will be offered in today's posts. I'm hopeful you get as much out of them as I do.
I believe that individuals have the responsibility to learn as much as they can in their chosen field. This requires a library card, a budget for the material the library does not have, and time set aside every day to read. Professional development is a key component to greatness. Do not be a stagnant teacher, finding yourself stuck in the same 'ole methods, unable to understand why your students are not learning to their full potential. Saying, I gave them the material! They just didn't listen. doesn't cut it. Learn. Implement changes. Be excited about learning. And do the learning right beside them. Which is why I love the resource, Write Beside Them by Heinemann. The Elements of Style by Pearson is a simple, short, yet very effective approach to teaching and learning great writing. It's a must for the secondary shelf. Content-Area Writing by Daniels, Zemelman and Steineke is another gem for literacy-based learning, where teachers gain a wealth of tools to guide your secondary writer in every subject area.
I love the flipped classroom approach for secondary learners, where students learn the concepts through online lessons and then write alongside their teacher. As they write, they discuss, they edit, they revise, they work alongside one another. Places like Khan Academy offer great online lessons and online learning platforms like Skillshare provide classes and projects for students ready and willing to work at their own pace. I offer classes on specialized writing such as How to Write a Literary Analysis where you take the class at your own pace, post your project and have access to my services as your teacher for the one assignment.
Writing Notebooks are a must-have tool. Let them pick their own and then fill a page with all of their favorite things (i.e. favorite foods, sports, teams, hobbies, etc.). Then fill another page with little reminders of an experience they cannot forget (i.e. deaths in the family, the day they got their drivers license, crossed an item off their bucket list, etc.). Fill another page with words and statements about who they are (i.e. physical characteristics they like/dislike, personality traits, family members, etc.). Let them decorate it. Part of making writing a learning experience is by making it a part of who they are. Give them a voice and listen to what they write. What you'll learn about your writer will astound you. I am continually blown away by what they share here and that they desperately want someone to simply listen to their words.
Rubric. Rubric. Rubric. I cannot say enough about how important this tool is for writers. They need clear and specific criteria that governs what good writing looks like. When they know the criteria and have a visual representation beside their writing they can assess, revise, and edit their own work! Use mine if you wish. It's FREE!
Visit your local library. I believe so much in the value of your local library and the enormous amount of free resources available to you that weekly visits should be part of your routine. Make this part of your week so your reader/writer can pick what they enjoy reading and gather material on whatever they want to learn.
These are the places I would start. Here's the truth about writing: there is no one specific curriculum to follow to create writers. Writing is as unique as the writer who writes. Because of that fact teachers like Nancy Peterson, Ed.D., Vicki Spandel (author of Creating Writers Through 6-Trait Writing Assessment and Instruction), Ruth Culham (author of 6+1 Traits of Writing) say over and over again that there is no one curriculum for success. There are proven strategies to implement, but I agree with Peterson who said in her book Encouraging Your Child's Writing Talent,
"... it is important that you see the development of your child's writing not so much as a curriculum or program, but rather, as a vision - a way of looking at his or her writing that takes both of you right inside the process itself." p.86
They key is knowing your writer. And if this process overwhelms you, contact me. My job is to teacher readers to write and writers to read. I'd love to become your English/Language Arts Teacher or Tutor.
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