Throughout high school, I realized that writing was going to be a key proponent in my life, but I also realized that I was not taught how to write effectively. The bland, one-sided prompts on Benchmarks and in English classes were far from teaching me how to become an effective writer. Although my teachers corrected my poor grammar and taught me the basic structure of a sentence, I was never given the foundation and fundamental skills for writing.
I came to college only knowing MLA format and that was partially due to OWL Purdue. I had no resume because I had no idea how to construct one. I had no creative thinking when it came to writing because I was forced to write about the same thing everyone else was writing in school. It was hard for me to connect to some of the prompts posed to us as students because it did not reflect who I was as a person.
As a teacher, I want to give students the ability to show their creativity and their experiences. Allowing students to choose what they want to write about can further improve their writing skills because it will be something they are interested in. Some examples of assignments that will engage students in their work are below.
What is it: Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words and phrases that one deems important from other sources and constructing them into a poem. The one above is taken from Hicks’ Crafting digital writing: Composing texts across media and genres. How to do it: Let the students pick a text they enjoy or a text you all have read in class. Instruct them to pick out words or phrases they deem important to the piece. Allow students to construct the words and phrases into a poem.
Social media is…
constructing ur identity
destroying ur relationships
remixing ur life
through a text message, status update, or tweet…
r u even the same person?
Be responsible. (add in audio file here)
Social media campaign research project:
What is it: A technique that allows students to step away from traditional research papers and promotes inclusion and real world issues. How to do it: Allow students to pick a social issue that is important to them or that interests them and let them do research and come up with a social media campaign/hashtag to present information about the topic. It could look something like this:
An Acrostic Poem:
Also, to allow students to try and figure out who they are as a person through writing, they could do an acrostic poem like the one I did for myself below. What is it: An acrostic poem is a type of poetry where the first, last or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. The easiest is using the first letter of each line.
Example using my name:
Immersed in culture
Cool, calm, & collected
Learning to not listen to negativity
Spell your name out and attach phrases or adjectives to each letter describing who YOU are.
What Do Others Think?
video of how people feel about traditional writing prompts and what they think should be done (not done yet)