Writing Instruction can be extremely difficult to teach, but as future educators it is crucial to learn how to do this now. Writing is a skill that takes practice and skill development. You should keep in mind that to teach writing you must address audience, purpose, brainstorming, application, reflection, and revision, to name a few. Before anything else, we need to provide various opportunities for our students to choose what they want to write about, as well as pieces that will relate in real world instances for them. When we let students choose they have agency and enjoy the process more. Once they discover what they like writing about they will learn to consider purpose and audience. From there, they will plan and begin to write. Students will use what they know or will research to apply it to their writing. Revision is a major aspect in writing instruction because that is how students primarily learn and grow. Ownership is another characteristic that students need to understand. Taking pride in what they write will only make them stronger writers. This process is ongoing and still as educators we are learning. Let us continue to learn with our students.
I have used this image as an example of how students could get started on the writing process. First, students can pick a person in history, investigate them, and then compose a story about their life by using a graphic organizer like this one to the right. Here you will see a flower diagram that shows the main idea in the middle, then examples of five details students could use in their story. Down below you will see how this relates to the Wax Museum assignment I will further explain.
Here is one I made:
Your students could make their own as well.
As an alternative project instead of a research paper, you could have students do a Wax Museum assignment that incorporates good writing instruction. Have the students pick a famous person and then research that said person. Students will form their thoughts and ideas through a graphic organizer like the one above or by using this comic strip below. Students will use these tools to plan and begin writing. They will make it their own story and then act like that person. The students will perform this for their peers and parents. They will also help one another by listening to them as they present and giving constructive feedback before they present it in front of their parents or anyone else. Digital media can be implemented in this project by having pictures, videos, voice recordings, etc. of the famous person they have chosen. They could even record themselves talking and acting out important parts of history. Digital media can be audio sounds, images, videos, gifs, memes, sound effects, and more. Even the cartoon below could be turned into digital pictures using a program on the computer. Students can definitely use resources their teachers give them and one that I highly recommend is Audacity. With this students can record their voices for a comic strip they make. Students should always have the option to practice reading and hearing what they sound like because it can help with not only reading but writing as well. Having students see a visual and listen will only help them grow as writers.
As a digital writer, I think I have grown a lot throughout the years. I have tried using different platforms to help strengthen my writing like Audacity and memes for example. I want my students to do the same. It is exciting to try experimenting with all different types of visual and audio platforms. I have loved getting to use QuickTime Player especially because you can voice record and screen record. I am a very visual person so by seeing how others work and practice writing instruction it has helped me a lot as an individual. I would describe myself as very empathetic and supportive. I want my students to know I am there for them always and provide them with as many opportunities as possible. I have actually written a letter to my future self that will be a good reminder to me when I am teaching.
Letter to future self:
I know starting out as a brand new teacher in a brand new school system can be difficult and challenges are bound to arise, but by remembering these few things about writing instruction you WILL be successful in the classroom. First, don’t be afraid to give your students options, not everything you teach has to be the same! Second, notice I said teach instead of assign because that word is a bit derogatory to me. We should be teaching our students to write instead of assigning what we think is required of us. Third, teach students how to dig deep and look beyond the surface level of what they write about. Quality is way more important than quantity. Four, encourage students to think outside the box and come up with creative alternatives for assignments. And lastly five, don’t be afraid to challenge those teachers who have been there for years doing the same boring research paper year after year. Good luck this year and remember I am always here if you need anything.
I think this quote goes great with what I am discussing because I want to instill in all of my students how important it is to learn how to effectively write and learn from all the experiences and opportunities they encounter in and outside of the classroom. Remember, you can plant that seed in them to make them grow.