Take Two: Putting Writing First in the New Year
The new semester stands before us (insert your favorite clean slate metaphor here); the first semester of 1:1, in my case at least, behind. Like bloggers everywhere, I was tempted to do a year-end round up, but in the flurry of getting up to snuff, tech-wise, I still decidedly feel that the big insights are just around the corner. But 2014 brings with it the allure of starting fresh, and my hopes for my classroom are as follows:
- Give students the opportunity to write every day. My plan is to start with a 5-10 minute writing task daily. These may ask students to reflect on their reading, to creatively incorporate our vocabulary words, to respond to a short passage, or to ask and answer a question of their choosing. Additionally, thanks to Kelly Gallagher’s suggestion in Teaching Adolescent Writers, I intend to ask students to write (and will myself keep) a writing notebook, in which they will be asked to write at least three pages a week for the first quarter, and five pages a week for the second quarter. You can find my Google Doc Writing Notebook template here.
- Give students writing instruction at least twice a week. These mini-lessons will focus on craft, editing and grammar; hopefully, foiling our opening activities, so students will be able to directly apply these skills to their work in their writing notebooks.
- Actually use exit tickets: They are so easy! Just check out Catlin Tucker’s Google Form or Socrative’s exit ticket option. Also, exit tickets provide another opportunity to seamlessly incorporate more writing for my students. I just need to be disciplined about creating the time.
Certainly, these goals are not tech-centered. And I think that is with good reason: the tools we have for students shouldn’t be at the center of our instructional design, nor should they overshadow the skills that we’re asking students to acquire. Instead, the tool should support the instructional goal. What these goals do suggest about technology is what is at the center of our digital revolution: the written word.
I look forward to posting about our successes and failures in the coming months. Here’s to a new year!