Would you like your students to refer to lists of transition words and phrases for the introduction, body and conclusion of their opinion/persuasive writing essays? Then you will definitely find this free reference poster set that features a variety of signal words for each stage of the writing process useful.
But before you scroll down to the end to download this freebie, let me give you a brief overview of my experience with teaching writing in the elementary classroom.
One of the most challenging tasks of teaching students to write a particular genre is instilling a passion for it. A majority of students find writing tedious, time-consuming, and just plain old boring.
Teachers too often dread marking work of these ‘reluctant’ writers. We often go on about drilling students on the different stages of the writing process, adhering to the structure of the required genre, and stressing on the importance of using figurative language devices in a piece of writing, but how often do we actually painstakingly model each phase or each device that intricately makes up the coherent whole?
When I started designing my units on the Narrative, Opinion, and Non-fiction (Biography) genre, I envisioned the entire process from start to finish, and being an avid advocate of interpreting the abstract, set about designing lessons accordingly. I designed from a student writer’s perspective, how would I begin? where would I start? And so I decided to write mentor texts and have most of my lessons revolve around them.
This also involved lessons that featured the use of Cornell-style guided notes that students wrote as they viewed PowerPoint presentations. This mode of lesson delivery, I found was effective because it resulted in students being alert and actively engaged as they followed along while I presented the writing lesson.
I also found that anchor charts displayed in the classroom to be an invaluable point of reference for students as they wrote and these were displayed for the genre in question we were focussing on.
Moreover the combination of interactive notebook templates and plain old-fashioned sheets also sought to motivate the most reluctant of writers.
I also found that focus on one writing skill at a time was extremely beneficial for all students to really get comfortable with the writing process and polish their writing technique at the same time.
Below are the snapshots of a lesson we did solely on sizzling starts in a narrative. Students learned all the different interesting ways to start and not stick to the boring opener of ‘one day…’ or ‘once upon a time..’ for that matter.
Needless to say the integration with QR codes made writing all the more fun!
And finally to assess the application of writing skills taught during the year, I like to give my students a writing prompt to write on via a flipbook. This is work in progress and students love seeing how the parts of a flipbook get completed – besides it makes a very eye-catching bulletin board display too.
But for me, the art of teaching writing has still not been mastered – it still remains a very abstract subject, one that still requires much trial and error, much creation and much shaping of teaching techniques. Needless to say, it’s a continuous pursuit of finding the best practice – one that is not mundane, monotonous and boring – but liberating and fun!
Thank you for reading all the way to the end – and here are the free opinion writing posters (click on link) that will help your students write cohesively in all parts of their persuasive essay.
Wish you and your students much creativity and creation!
This post first appeared on teach2tell.blogspot.com.