Get a writing assignment. Look at a blank piece of paper for hours. Cry.
Is this what happens with your students?
No need for weeping. In this week’s Intro to Writing, your students will learn what ingredients to put into their introductions and conclusions. In addition, they will grade other students’ work and then write their own credible introduction and conclusion.
If you have been following along with the Intro to Writing tutorials on Writing with Sharon Watson, you likely have noticed something weird.
A guy walks in to your living room and blurts out, “Pizza.”
You look at him and wonder what he means. Well, you know the subject matter—pizza—but you don’t know where he’s going with this. He could take it in any of these directions:
“I want pizza.”
“Pizza is bad for you and here’s why.”
“Eat more pizza; it contains all the food groups.”
“I know how to get bigger tips working as a pizza delivery person.”
“This is how to build the perfect pizza.”
“The pizza you buy here is very different from the pizza you can get in Italy.”
“With six hundred dollars borrowed from their mother, two brothers began one humble Pizza Hut, now an international chain.”
Or, of course, he could mean, “Here’s the pizza you ordered. Now give me a tip so I can get out of here.”
When you write an essay, writing about the subject matter is only the beginning. Readers need to know what direction you are taking your subject. That way, they will keep reading and will understand what you are doing. For instance, if your introduction looks like you are going to write about the founder of Amazon but you end up writing about all the cool stuff you can find there, your readers will be confused.
What’s your main idea? What’s the one thought you want to convey to your readers? Everything you write about your subject matter is going to be gathered around one statement, one main idea, so that people reading your essay know what direction you are taking your subject.
This main idea is called a thesis statement.
Problems with Point Orders?
One of my students handed in an interesting essay on volcanic activity. She included lots of facts, dates, and anecdotes, but there was one big problem.
There was no rhyme or reason for the order in which she put her facts. Each major or historic volcanic eruption was in its own paragraph, but the paragraphs were in no particular order. It felt jumbled and incoherent.
How could she have arranged her paragraphs to have the most impact on her reader? Check below for two possible answers to this conundrum.
Can a chart rescue poorly written paragraphs?
Do your students have trouble coming up with ideas to put in their paragraphs? Are their paragraphs only one or two sentences long?
Are they a jumbled mess of ideas?
A paragraph is all about one idea. In it, your student will teach something about that idea, explain it, or prove why it is the right one.
In Intro to Writing, Part 4, you’ll find a practical chart to help your student formulate ideas and put them into a credible paragraph.
Did I lose you already?
What if we could make organizing material a little easier for our writers? What if they practiced on something they are already familiar with, things like restaurant categories and the way grocery stores are organized?
Intro to Writing, Part 3 takes some of the pain out of outlines by using material your students are already very familiar with: restaurant categories and the way grocery stores are organized.
Intro to Writing
Do your students get stuck when they have to write a paragraph or an essay?
Then don’t do it. Don’t have them write.
I have a secret I’d like to share with you.
Your students do not have to write a paragraph or a whole essay every time they put pencil to paper. One of the best ways to unplug the fear of writing is to do some of the prepare-for-writing tasks but never write the whole paragraph or essay.
It’s called practice, as when members of a basketball team practice dribbling or passing. The team does not play a game every time they get together. They practice pieces of the game.
So let’s practice brainstorming and organizing ideas together.
Are you worried that your students won’t be able to take notes in classes? Would you like to sharpen their listening skills?
Teach Your Students How to Take Notes, our most popular eBook, provides you with easy-to-use lessons for seven weeks, incrementally teaching your students how to take notes from auditory sources. Students will also learn to recognize important concepts and draw conclusions from oral and written sources.
Includes ALL the paragraphs, essays, and colorful note-taking pages you need.
“A writer is simply a photographer of thoughts.” -Brandon A. Trean
Oftentimes our writing spills forth from an experience we’ve had or memory we’ve made. We keep a picture or image in our mind’s eye about that event, and it becomes the inspiration that prompts our writing. Have you experienced that?
Using someone else’s image or photo as a writing prompt can develop empathy and enable you to imagine the world from their perspective. That’s a valuable skill for a writer.
Grab these five fun photos here!
Summer is almost here, and that means picnics! When you think of picnics, what comes to mind? It might be fried chicken, sweet tea, or potato salad. You might think of your mom, siblings, or other family members at a park. Maybe you think of Frisbees, Nerf balls, or a blanket to sit on.
But you and your family aren’t the only ones at the picnic! You might see
Are you a homebody or do you love to gallivant? To gallivant is to travel, wander, or globetrot. Does that sound like you?
Whatever you happen to be, you can use these 16 writing prompts to become an armchair traveler and see the world right from where you are. You might even be inspired to plan a real-life trip!
Suitable for 5th – 12th graders.