Presentation on theme: "Shooting for the StAArs: Launching Persuasive and Expository Writing Dr. L. Lennie Irvin San Antonio College | Co-Director San Antonio Writing Project."— Presentation transcript:
Shooting for the StAArs: Launching Persuasive and Expository Writing Dr. L. Lennie Irvin San Antonio College | Co-Director San Antonio Writing Project | lirvin.net
Starter Write down some key subjects/topics you teach in your classroom. A topic could be a work of literature, an area of content in another subject, concepts, or it could be a skill or strategy you are teaching. For example, I teach Hamlet, Gilgamesh, punctuation, essay form, how to integrate quotations effectively, documentation…. Pick one of these topic you teach and think about QUESTIONS related to this topic—aspects that are problematic or ambiguous or interesting. List a few questions. The problem of dropping quotes into a text. Really, the whole issue of setting up a quote so it flows into a sentence. Is Hamlet crazy? What is the theme of honesty really all about? Why does Hamlet treat Ophelia so badly?
Principles to Teach By
Principles to Teach Writing By #1: Effective instruction begins with the design of the writing task. The task sets clear goals that are “standards in action.”
Principles to Teach Writing By #2: The strategies and skills of writing are best taught in the context of expressing a whole utterance, rather than in isolated particles (drills, worksheets, grammar in isolation).
Principles to Teach Writing By #3: Students find meaning and motivation as they engage in genuine communication with real audiences for authentic purposes. (#2 & #3 from --James Moffett, Teaching the Universe of Discourse)
Principles to Teach Writing By #4: Students’ performance and learning as they engage in writing tasks involves more than just the assignment: they also depend on the interactive components of the reading-writing process as well as clear explanations of writing goals and criteria.
Having students write compositions ONLY in 26 lines will not prepare them for college (…you can tell your Principal I said that!)
The Three Features of Effective Writing Assignments Interactive Components Interactive components situate writing as a process of inquiry and discovery, promote productive talk about the writer’s emerging ideas, and encourage multiple drafts and global revision. A Meaning-Construction Task A “meaning-construction” task asks students to bring their own thinking to bear on subjects that matter to both the writer and the intended audience. [It] typically presents students with a disciplinary problem. Clear Explanation of Writing Expectations Effective assignments clearly present the instructor’s expectations for a successful performance. Ideally the assignment prompt also explains the purpose of the assignment in terms of the course’s learning goals and presents the instructor’s grading criteria, often in the form of a rubric.
Approach #1: Kernel Sentences as Seeds for Writing structures to help writers define and develop their thinking a strong, simple frame to sustain an idea so writers can see it as a whole and see how the parts fit prompt students to make moves in their writing they might not otherwise make text structures foster and track movements of the mind
Kernel Sentences and Text Structures from Ponsot and Dean Once I was _____; Now I am ______. That ______ is the way it was, and it made this difference. They say _____, but my experience tells me ______. from Bernabei Some people think -> And other people think -> but I think -> What that tells me. What I used to think -> but this happened -> so now I think. Some people think -> Other people think -> I think -> So now…
Template Tasks from The Literacy Design Collaborative Template tasks are flexible shells that are open to content from any discipline. When filled with teacher-defined content, they are called “teaching tasks” and fit within an entire Assignment Module which fosters all three components of effective writing assignments. Literacy Design Collaborative
Example of a Template Task: [Insert question] After reading ______ (literature or informational texts), write _______ (essay or substitute) that addresses the question and support your position with evidence from the text(s). L2 Be sure to acknowledge competing views. L3 Give examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position.
Examples of three “Teaching Tasks” built from the above template task ELA teaching task: Would you recommend A Wrinkle in Time to a middle school reader? After reading this science fiction novel, write a review that addresses the question and support your position with evidence from the text. Social studies teaching task: How did the political views of the signers of the Constitution impact the American political system? After reading Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, write a report that addresses the question and support your position with evidence from the text. Science teaching task: Does genetic testing have the potential to significantly impact how we treat disease? After reading scientific sources, write a report that addresses the question and support your position with evidence from the texts. L2 Be sure to acknowledge competing views. L3 Give examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position.
Approach #2: RAFTS with a TIP Role Audience Format Topic Strong Verb Topic as Intriguing Problem
Example RAFTS: As a student council representative for the ninth grade (Role), you have been asked to write a letter (Format) to a group of eighth graders (Audience) who have recently registered for their first high school schedules. This particular group of students has high rates of absenteeism, poor grades, and low self-esteem. In your letter, advise (Strong verb) students on how to succeed in high school (Topic). ***RAFTS work best when writers are positioned into playing the role of an “expert”--or person with more knowledge--writing toward a less expert or knowledgeable audience.
Example RAFTS Science Writing Assignment You are a meteorologist who has been invited to speak at a Clark Elementary 4 th grade class. Write a 3-minute speech explaining how heat affects the water cycle. L2 Provide some examples of how rising temperatures have influenced our water cycle recently. L3 Present some predictions for how increasing temperatures might influence the water cycle and our weather in the future. Role: Meteorologist Audience – 4 th graders Format – 3 minute speech Topic – the influence of heat on the water cycle Strong Verb – explain
More Examples What are the issues that matter most to voters in 2012? You are a reporter and contributing writer for our class Election information website, You will write a profile of a voter, describing him or her and the subject or issue that matters most to him or her. The topic for this paper will be the individual you choose and the specific issue or thing that matters most to this person and will influence how he or she votes. Your audience will be other voters. Our local audience will be the SAC community of students and faculty. Our direct audience will be our classmates in English 1301, but as a website our online election information site is accessible by anyone.
Example RAFT Should the City of San Antonio approve a proposed Obesity Prevention Ordinance? (Imagine) You are a lawyer who will be presenting an argument before the City of San Antonio’s City Council regarding a proposed Obesity Prevention City Ordinance to ban the sale of sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces and require all restaurants to publish calorie counts on menu items. From the articles we have read, you are to build an argumentative essay in support of or in opposition to this ordinance. This essay will be presented to the City Council at their next meeting where they will be debating the ordinance. Support your position on this issue with logical arguments and appropriate evidence from the readings.
Writing Your Own Go back to your list of subjects you are teaching and the questions you have about one subject. Design one to three writing prompts that either fit as template tasks or as RAFT + TIP topics. (Try, if you can, to create a writing task that uses “persuade” or “convince” as a “strong verb.”) You can even combine the two different approaches. Use a kernel sentence or LDC template task and “RAFT” it.)
Discussion How might you use these kinds of assignments in your classroom?
Resources for Designing Writing Assignments Bean, John C. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. 2 nd ed. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Bernabie, Gretchen. “Text Structures: Alternatives to the Schoolified Essay.” Web. Bernabie, Gretchen and Dottie Hall. The Story of My Thinking. Portsmouth: Heinemann, Daretodifferentiate: Gardner, Traci. Designing Writing Assignments. Urbana, Ill: National Council of Teachers of English, Available at The Literacy Design Collaborative: Moffat, James. Teaching the Universe of Discourse. Boynton/Cook, NCTE Beliefs About the Teaching of Writing: Ponsot, Marie and Rosemary Dean. Beat Not the Poor Desk. Writing: What to teach, How to teach it and Why. Upper Montclair, New Jersey: Boynton/Cook, Writing Prompts