Friday, November 1, 2013

My practicum's journey # 4 "writing"

There are several ways that writing happens at The Children’s School. It takes place often, but in different forms. For example, they might write a long formal essay, a topic in their journal, an answer to a grammar question, etc. In this response I will visit these forms of writing in depth and other aspects related to writing in class.

The teacher uses the whiteboard for his mini lessons where he will write, for example, a sentence and ask the students to correct it on the board. I think that this is a good way to refresh previous grammar skills that the students knew before. The teacher also writes a sentence from a student's essay and asked the students to reconstruct it. The teacher also writes the reading options that the students have to choose from. Moreover, he will uses the board to write the responsibilities of the students when they have special events, for example, when organizing the pizza social event

In the 8th grade, students are writing a persuasive essay. I like the process in which the students are going through to write their essays and the time given to them to complete that task. The students are given about four days to write these essays. The students can work on this assignment at home and it has to be typed. They can use the internet to support their point of view and thoughts. The teacher encourages them to do so without plagiarising or copying others work. He made it clear at the begining that he will know if anyone borrowed others ideas. This is because he knows their style of writing and because he has an application that will show him where a text exists if you type five words into the application. I think that by through this writing process the students are being prepared to what we, as graduate students, are experiencing. After the students write their essays, they will switch their papers with another student so the student will edit the paper and give feedback to improve their peer’s essay. After the students submit the papers, the teacher grades them and gives them back to the students with his comments and feedback. He then asks the students if they can do another draft that would improve their grades. The teacher also told the students that they have to be careful to whom they choose as their editor. This way of collaborative writing embraces how professional writers write and publish their work.

Another piece of writing is writing a personal statement. Since that the students in the 8th grade are moving to high school, the teacher wants to teach them how to write a personal statement and be ready to this requirement in some schools. Before asking the students to write the teacher gave the students a handout with good and bad personal statements. They discussed the good and bad characteristics in those personal statements. Then he asked them to write one.

Another type of writing is writing vocabulary flash cards of the words they are being tested in. The teacher told the students to begin writing few words everyday at home. HE also gave them time to write the words for those who did not finish and for the ones who finished they were practicing their words.

Students also write in their journals that they will write in from time to time. For example, one time the teacher asked the students to write a piece of  advice that they value. He suggested that if the advice is so personal that they write it in a third person perspective.

The students that I am focusing on differ in their writing needs, some has punctuation issues, some are redundant, some have organization problems and some does not like to be limited by a prompt. Overall, I think that they are close to the writing expectation. For example M got in his writing score was 4 out of five, which  think is acceptable.

To help students in writing I suggest to to pair students that has less writing ability with experienced students to help them correct their mistakes and know the writing process. I also think that students might discuss what they want to write and talk about t it before writing.

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