I love teaching Language Arts, but one of the greatest challenges I face is helping students learn how to become good writers. A great resource to help you teach students how to write effectively is “Teaching Adolescent Writers” (2006) by Kelly Gallagher. I absolutely love this book and will be providing a resource review soon, but until then, I’ll just be going over a tiny portion of what is covered in this fantastic resource.
Gallagher recounts that when he was a basketball coach, he would take his players through a variety of defensive and offensive drills in order to be ready for the big Friday night game. Just as coaches take their players through a variety of training practices to build up their skills, so too should teachers provide students with a variety of practice runs to help them become more effective writers. Before producing well-written formal pieces of writing, students must be given opportunities to explore and develop their skills as writers.
When planning my Language Arts units, I have tried to incorporate as many opportunities as possible to have my students write, write, write! One area we spend considerable time focusing on is the development of a first draft into a polished and formal final copy. Sometimes it is very difficult to convince students that their work is only a first draft and it has to go through revisions (possibly several revisions) before it is ready to be evaluated. A way that I have explained this to students is by using these posters to differentiate between first draft and final copy writing. These posters are based on the First- vs. Second-Draft Comparison Chart in Gallagher’s “Teaching Adolescent Writers” (p. 51) from Mary K. Healy in Bay Area Writing Project. I’ve changed the language a bit to make it more accessible for my students.
I’ll be posting on the following strategies to help you get your students writing, revising, and polishing their drafts soon:
- STAR (Substitute, Take things out, Add, Rearrange) from Richard Cornwell, South Basin Writing Project
- Surface vs. Deep Revision from Kelly Gallagher in “Teaching Adolescent Writers”
- Hot Writing from Teresa Totten (I heard her speak at Reading for the Love of It and she was phenomenal!)
Just click on the image below for the posters!