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Writing As Reality: Making Writing Real and Relevant to Students

ENGL 487 Panel Presentation

Emily Surovy

on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Writing As Reality: Making Writing Real and Relevant to Students

Katelin Allison, Becca Knight, Rebecca Pierce, Taylor Pieczynski, Emily Surovy
Writing As Reality:
Making Writing Real & Relevant to Students

Poetry Café
Many students go through a poetry unit at some point in their school career, and some dread this time. Why not close out the unit with some fun?
Collaborative Writing
Bring Real Writers
To Them!
How can students learn about the importance or impact of writing....Give them a real example.

-Bring in a journalist or columnist from the local paper
-Have an author visit the school
-Arrange a "Skype Date" with a professional writer
-Visit a publishing agency

Giving students access to a real writer makes writing more relevant. The idea that people make careers out of writing is a reality that students may not have ever considered.
Research has shown that bringing drama into the classroom has a positive effect on students' physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development.
Letter Writing!
This is a common unit for many English classes.
Students are usually taught the overall format and style of a letter before they are asked to draft a letter to someone who will either never see it or doesn't actually exist.

So how do we change this?

Have students actually send letters to real people!
- Famous people
- Members of the military
- Family members
- Politicians
- Company
Procedural Writing
Class Newspaper
Persuasive Pieces
Collaborative Writing is when students come together to write a single writing piece.
It encourages cooperation, critical thinking, peer learning and active participation.
At one point in a students life a newsletter is sent home, often times written by the teacher. Why not have students write it themselves?
While working collaboratively students are constantly
their own work.
Students learn to express their thoughts and ideas
Students gain an understanding of
Working collaboratively is a form of
for students.
* Good for students at all levels of education.
* Teaches effective writing skills
* Improves writing process
*Students become aware of their audience
*Real world social/professional skills
*Ability to work with others
*Writing seen by teacher and peers
Kids will try to do their very best knowing their writing is headed for publication.
- Helps with public speaking skills
- Students could nominate and share peers poems. Also could be done anonymously if students aren't comfortable sharing their own work
A collaborative
class book
. . .
Each student makes only ONE page of this book . . .
Implement it in the classroom!
Works cited:
Features of procedural writing include:
detailed factual description, a

reader who is referred to in a general way, connecting words related to time, and proper tense.
The purpose is to tell the reader how to do or make something.
- Instructions on how to operate something
- Steps for making & doing
- Sequences of actions
factual descriptions!
- Gives students the chance to share their writing
- Could share work with family, friends, or community at "Poetry Cafe Night"
*Broadens vocabulary through the use of action verbs!
Students learn to follow directions
Gain attention to detail
Will encounter this type of writing not only in books, but also in instruction manuals, recipes, and labels on products we use and buy every day
"how-to writing"
* Trifecta. Reading, Writing, Speaking.
Classroom Activity
Write a detailed procedural piece and swap it with a fellow classmate/class to see if they understand your directions . . .
One of the many tough things writing teachers are asked to do is convey the importance of audience awareness to their students.

But how do we do this?

How do we make an audience real?
Real Story Telling

-These stories can be made real by:
~being read to younger children in a class or at a public library
~being read to a senior citizen community
This makes the writing process real and requires students to consider audience and purpose. It also gives students a motivation to write. Their reputation as a writer is on the line!
- Many Middle School English classes require students to create their own stories...
What will they do?
Imagine walking into your classroom on the last day of your poetry unit. You notice the chairs have moved into little clusters as if they were placed around little tables, the teacher prepares hot chocolate or tea.
You've previously written a few poems, and they've been shared both anonymously and not in class. But now you are given the chance to read your favorites to the class. They can be yours. They can be other classmates, but it's something you liked and want to share.
Now's your time to do that in your little classroom poetry cafe!
How would this benefit students?
*Students would practice writing informative pieces about what was done in class
*Students can write 'letters to the editor'
*Students can include creative pieces
How does this make writing real?
Students can share their writing with their parents, the rest of the school, and their peers.
Multi-genre: They get the experience of writing different types of pieces and get to see how these different genres can works together.
Students get the experience of working with others to create a final project - something that they may encounter often outside of a school setting.
Physical Movement
Give students the opportunity to write and perform for an audience of their choice

Have students write a letter to a local theater company and submit a proposal to gain support for their production

Book a spot at a radio station

Publish students' productions online as podcasts or YouTube videos
An added benefit...grammar! We need to give students a reason to care.
Proposals, Petitions, and Calls for Change
Why do students need to know this?
It prepares them for their future in the workplace and as citizens in today's society
Writing a proposal and presenting it to a teacher, administrator, school board, etc.
Sending persuasive texts to the principal, members of government, major newspapers, or TV and radio stations to fight for change
Letter to the editor
In addition to writing skills, social skills and public speaking skills are practiced
Full transcript