The Writing Teacher's ABCs (ABCs book plus tools)
This book is 100% complete
Completed on 2015-02-20
About the Book
Writing is hard.
Teaching writing is even harder.
The Writing Teacher's ABCs sets out to simplify the task of teaching teens or adults to write nonfiction. It breaks the big, frightening process into 26 short, practical chapters.
Everything you need to get started teaching teens or adults to write nonfiction is laid out from A to Z. So
even if you're not a great writer
even if you never taught nonfiction writing before, and
even if you have no clue where to begin
The Writing Teacher's ABCs will give you enough to get started and keep ahead of your students until you get the hang of it.
ABCs book plus tools
Teachers can try out ideas from The Writing Teacher's ABCs without adopting an entirely new program with just these simple tools for teaching writing and improving students' writing mechanics.
A is for All.
- Teach all students, not just good ones.
- All students are different.
- All students must write nonfiction.
- All instruction begins with students.
- All students need adequate practice.
- All students need to experience success.
- All students need to be challenged.
B is for Basics.
- Identify basic nonfiction patterns.
- Pick a basic nonfiction pattern to teach.
- Select basic writing terms to use.
- Identify basic strategies to teach.
- Identify basic output standards.
- Identify basic auxiliary skills.
- Identify other basic course information.
C is for Competence.
- Competence should be the goal.
- Describe competence clearly.
- Right practice builds competence.
- Competent writing is nearly good.
- Competence is far below excellence.
D is for Difficulties.
- Writing difficulties may be age-related.
- Writing difficulties may be physical.
- Writing difficulties may be emotional.
- Difficulties may be learning disabilities.
- Difficulties may be output problems.
- Difficulties may be in auxiliary skills.
- Poor teaching can cause difficulties.
- Solutions begin with seeing difficulties.
E is for Editing.
- Editing begins with correcting errors.
- Editing should be last step, every step.
- Include editing in informal writing.
- Editing has its own set of symbols.
- Editing is more than correcting.
- Advanced editing requires ear training.
F is for Fluency.
- Fluency requires automaticity.
- Fluency is not speed.
- Fluency comes late in learning process.
- Fluency is individual.
G is for Grades.
- Benchmark incoming writers’ levels.
- Grades are not writing feedback.
- Grade writing performance yes/no.
- Sample performance multiple times.
- Grade writing skill fairly.
- Set grade-level exit outcomes.
- Describe excellent (A-level) writing.
H is for Higher Learning.
- Higher level is taxonomy-linked.
- Learning need not start low.
- High level learning may not be hard.
- Writing won’t assure high cognition.
- Higher level may not mean longer.
- Assessments can boost learning level.
I is for Informal Writing.
- Stay content-focused.
- Bundle for learning.
- Time informal writing.
- Keep informal writing short.
- Informal writing’s only practice.
- Informal writing is change-producing.
- Informal writing can form good habits.
J is for Just-in-Time Teaching.
- JiTT is utilitarian.
- JiTT isn’t for every writing topic.
- Teach just-in-time for learners.
- Sequence essentials for JiTT
- Do JiTT for novice writers.
- Find the best learning curve location.
- Repeat information to save time.
- Deliver less learning more often.
- Be careful with JiTT for grammar.
K is for Know-how.
- Know how to tell what’s difficult.
- Know how to probe for problems.
- Know how to use student teams.
- Know how to use technology,
- Know how to iterate without boring.
- Know how to identify grammar traps.
- Know how to use exercises.
- Know how to define by operations.
- Know how to make grammar visible.
- Know where to get help quickly.
L is for Learning.
- Learning happens apart from teaching.
- Teaching requires learning.
- Learned attitudes trump information.
- Teachers need to be skilled learners.
- Teachers need to be selective learners.
- Teachers should be serial learners.
- Learning should be self-directed.
M is for Mechanical Mastery.
- Benchmark mechanical mastery.
- Mechanical mastery can be avoided.
- Define mechanical mastery clearly.
- Set repetition aids mastery.
- Mechanical mastery is personal.
- Mechanical mastery isn’t writing.
- Writing leads to mechanical mastery.
- Edit one error at a time for mastery.
- Assess mechanics of final drafts.
- Mechanics build feeling of mastery.
N is for Nonfiction.
- Nonfiction prose is not fiction.
- Nonfiction always informs/exposes.
- Nonfiction writing is always persuasive.
- Informing and persuading look alike.
- Arguments appear distinctive.
- Narrative appears distinctive.
- Limit nonfiction to 3 patterns.
- Nonfiction does not exclude creativity.
O is for Outcomes.
- Outcomes aim at competence.
- Outcomes require annual plans.
- Outcomes require objectives.
- Objectives may not be sequential.
- Outcomes determine final assessments.
- Outcomes may be too much to handle.
- Objectives indicate progress.
- Learning doesn’t end at a test.
P is for Patterns.
- Patterns are observable.
- Patterns are systems.
- Patterns are not kits.
- Patterns are recurring.
- Patterns are limited.
Q is for Qualifications.
- Writing competence is required.
- Metacognitive skill is needed.
- Goal-oriention is needed.
- Giving priority to writing is needed.
- Confidence in students is needed.
- Risk acceptance is a qualification.
- Persistence is a qualification.
- Preference for coaching is needed.
- Tolerance for boredom is needed.
R is for Reading.
- Reading and writing help each other.
- Reading is source of writing ideas.
- Writing gives reasons to read.
- Reading and writing share language.
S is for Strategies.
- Students need planning strategies.
- Students need composing strategies.
- Students need editing strategies.
- Strategies must be automatic.
- Teachers need strategies, too.
T is for Time.
- Craft clear writing objectives.
- Anticipate a long learning curve.
- Teach from broad to narrow.
- Use class time for learning.
- Help students save time.
- Keep collecting teaching tools.
- Enlist students’ help.
- Hold students accountable.
- Collaborate with peers.
U is for Useful.
- Use writing to get ready to teach it.
- Use writing to teach other topics.
- Use writing to assess progress.
- Use writing to assess outcomes.
- Make students use writing from day 1.
- Make writing useful this year.
- Show writing’s later uses.
V is for Vocabulary.
- Make vocabulary relevant.
- Teach vocabulary thoroughly.
- Practice vocabulary realistically.
- Practice vocabulary multimodally.
- Teach homophones as vocabulary.
W is for Writing Prompts.
- Writing prompts should multi-task.
- Writing should be course-focused.
- Prompts should be accessible.
- Let prompts show starting line.
- Indicate what is appropriate.
- Suggest resources in prompts.
- Put instruction into formal prompts.
- Repeat essential information.
X is for eXtras.
- Offer extra planning options.
- Suggest extra evidence sources.
- Allow non-text evidence types.
- Offer extra publishing media.
- Extra audiences provide realism.
Y is for Yuletide.
- Before: Just one pattern
- Before: Class-specific topics
- Before Yule: Memorize strategies.
- Before Yule: Limited grammar
- Before Yule: No creativity
- Before: One paper a week
- After: Class-specific topics
- After: Slowly remove scaffolds.
- After: Pattern alteration is OK.
- After: Formal grammar is OK.
- After: Other applications are OK.
- After: One paper a week
Z is for Zest.
- Zest is different from zeal.
- Zest is contagious.
- Zestful teachers focus.
- Zestful teachers show respect.
- Zestful teachers are patient.
- Zestful teachers find fun in work.
- Zestful teachers love learning.
- Zestful teachers have a life.
- Zestful teachers collaborate.
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