Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Teaching Tip #115

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #115
Regardless of what subject you teach, writing is essential.  Keep in mind the three levels of writing as you construct your lessons.
Level #1 - this is just for the student themselves.  It doesn’t have to be edited or revised.  The only eyes that will see this writing will be those of the writer.  Examples - notes, lists, and reminders.
Level #2 - this level is not just for the student but a few others as well.  It should go through a round of revision.  The only eyes that will see this writing will be the students a select few (maybe friends or a few teachers or family members).  This writing doesn’t need to be flawless as it’s not meant for a wide audience.  Those of use reading it can assume that you know which “There/their/they’re” to use, but we also know that you were focused more on accomplish the writing task as opposed to being grammatically correct.  Examples - emails, rough drafts, short answers on tests and worksheets.
Level #3 - this level is for the entire world.  Therefore, the writing should pass the W.O.W (Worthy of the World) test.  It should be thoroughly revised, not only by the writer but also by someone else.  If you cannot find anyone to read it, then read the piece out loud to spot any potential errors or clunky parts.  This level of writing is for anyone and everyone, so make it as flawless as you can.  I always tell my students that level #3 writing is if your Tweet or Instagram or comment goes viral.  You don’t want millions of people reading your writing and seeing a stupid error, such as the incorrect “your/you’re.”  This is meant for a wider audience, so be damn sure to catch those basic errors (this is where having someone else proof your writing will help).  Examples - emails that will go across the district or building or company, letters to the editor, blog posts, final drafts)
When I was part of the Red River Valley Writing Project they said that level #1 writing should occur daily.  Level #2 should occur at least once a week, but it could occur daily as well.  Level #3 writing should be once every few weeks.
So see if you can find ways to build in these types of writing.  By the way, level #3 writing is the only level that needs to be actually graded, so take a sigh of relief.  And I can help you develop a rubric to make even that grading relatively painless for you non-English folks!

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