Three forms of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are those activities which focus only on the CONTENT, such as for instance lectures and discussions of texts. Second are activities related solely to WRITING as separate from the content concerns of the course. Grammar drills or sentence combining exercises fall into this category, but so would lecturing on writing in general or examining types of good writing without reference to the information. Third are activities which teach BOTH WRITING AND CONTENT. Peer critiquing, journal writing, and group brainstorming teach both writing and content as does examining model essays which are chosen for both the quality associated with writing in addition to worth pay for essay of the content. The following suggestions are intended to show how writing could be taught not only as a skill that is mechanicalthrough sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely once the display of data (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity in its own right. These are generally predicated on three premises:
that students can learn a deal that is great themselves as writers by getting more careful readers;
that astute readers attend to the structure of this text and discover that analyzing the writer’s choices at specific junctures gives them a surer, more detailed grasp of content;
That students can give their writing more direction and focus by thinking about details as elements of a whole, whether that whole be a sentence, paragraph, or chapter.
Thus, awareness of a discipline’s language, methodology, formal conventions, and methods of creating context–as these are illustrated in texts, lectures, and student papers–is an effective method of teaching writing.
Summary and Analysis Exercises
A) Have students write a 500-word summary of about 2000 words of text; then a 50-word summary; then a single sentence summary. Compare results for inclusivity, accuracy, emphasis, and nuance.
B) Analyze a text section or chapter. How is it constructed? What has got the author done to make the right parts soon add up to a disagreement?
C) Analyze a paragraph that is particularly complex a text. How is it come up with? What gives it unity? What role does it play into the entire chapter or part of text?
Organizational Pattern Work
A) Scramble a paragraph and inquire students: 1) to place it together; 2) to comment on the mental processes involved in the restoration, the decisions about continuity they had which will make according to their feeling of the writer’s thinking.
B) Have students find various kinds sentences in a text, and explain exactly, in the terms and spirit for the text, what these sentences are intended to do: juxtapose, equate, polarize, rank, distinguish, make exceptions, concede, contrast. Often, of course, sentences is going to do a couple of of these plain things at once.
C) Have students examine an author’s punctuation and explain, again in terms of the argument, why, say, a semicolon was used.
D) Have students outline as a way of analyzing structure and talk about the choices a writer makes and exactly how these choices contribute to reaching the writer’s purpose.
Formulation of Questions and Acceptability of Evidence
A) What can be treated as known? What exactly is acceptable means of ruling cases in or out?
B) Discuss how evidence is tested against an hypothesis, and how hypotheses are modified. (How models are formulated and put on data; how observations turn into claims, etc.)
C) Examine cause and effect; condition and result; argumentative strategies, such as comparison-contrast, and agency (especially the utilization of verbs), as basic building blocks in definition and explanation.
Peer critiquing and discussion of student writing can be handled in a true number of different ways. The goal of such activities is to have students read the other person’s writing and develop their own faculties that are critical with them to help one another boost their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students know how their very own writing compares with that of the peers and helps them discover the characteristics that distinguish writing that is successful. You should keep in mind that a teacher criticizing a text for a course is certainly not peer critiquing; for this will likely not supply the students practice in exercising their own critical skills. Here are a few models of different ways this is often handled, and we encourage one to modify these to fit your purposes that are own.
A) The Small Groups Model–The class is divided into three categories of five students each. Each the student submits six copies of his or her paper, one for the instructor and one for each member of her group week. One hour per is devoted to group meetings in which some or all of the papers in the group are discussed week. Before this combined group meeting, students must read all of the papers from their group and must write comments to be distributed to one other writers. Thus, weekly writing, reading and critiquing are part of this course, and students develop skills through repeated practice which they could be struggling to develop if only asked to critique on three or four occasions. Because the teacher is present with every group, they are able to lead the discussion to assist students improve these skills that are critical.
B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to read and touch upon each other’s writing such that each learning student will get written comments in one other student along with the teacher. The teacher can, needless to say, check out the critical comments as well as the paper to help students develop both writing and critical skills. This technique requires no special copying and need take very classroom time that is little. The teacher might wish to allow some time for the pairs to go over each other’s work, or this might be done not in the class. The disadvantage of the method is that the teacher cannot guide the discussions and students are limited by comments from only one of their peers.
C) Small Groups within Class–Many teachers break their classes into small groups (from 3 to 7 students) and allow class time for the combined groups to critique. The teacher can circulate among groups or sit in on an entire session with one group.
D) Critiques and Revision–Many teachers combine peer critiquing with required revisions to teach students how to improve not only their mechanical skills, but also their thinking skills. Students could have critical comments from their-teachers as well as from their peers to work with. Some teachers choose to have students revise a first draft with only comments from their peers and then revise a second time in line with the teacher’s comments.
E) Student Critiques–Students should be taught how to critique one another’s work. Though some teachers may leave the nature for the response as much as the students, most try to give their students some direction.
۱) Standard Critique Form–This is a collection of questions or guidelines general enough to be applicable to any writing a student might do. The questions concentrate on such staples of rhetoric as audience, voice and purpose; in philosophy, they might guide the student to examine the logic or structure of an argument in English classes.
۲) Assignment Critique Form–This is a collection of questions designed designed for a particular writing task. Such an application gets the advantageous asset of making students focus on the special aspects peculiar towards the given task. If students utilize them repeatedly, however, they could become dependent they critique on them, never asking their own critical questions of the texts.
۳) Descriptive Outline–Instead of providing questions to direct students, some teachers like to teach their students to publish a “descriptive outline.” The student reads the paper and stops to write after each and every paragraph or section, recording what she or he thought the section said and his or her responses or questions concerning it. At the end, the student writes his / her “summary comments” describing his / her response to the piece as a whole, raising questions about the writing, as well as perhaps making suggestions for further writing.
Since writing in itself is of value, teachers do not need to grade all writing assignments–for instance journals, exploratory writing, and early drafts of more formal pieces. Teachers will make many comments on such writing to help students further their thinking but may wait for a more finished, formal product before assigning grades.