Bernadette's first lesson
The following lesson plan is designed to introduce students to the concept of writing as a process, rather than writing as a product. It also emphasizes prewriting strategies.
Subject: Language Arts
Duration: block of time 9.00 - 10.30
Topic: Writing as a process
Unit title: Elections in Grenada.
- Newspaper- Editor's story on Grenada's election.
- Pre-writing activities
- Writing as a process
- Students writing.
Teacher leads brainstorm session for ideas that come to mind when you think about the word 'election'.
Ideas are recorded on chart, teacher looks for preconceived notions, attitudes etc. Discuss.
Blend into discussions, newspaper articles, ˜Elections in Grenada", teacher will ask, ˜what does the title imply?
Teacher reinforces the idea that she/he doesn't necessarily have a preconceived idea of what these readings mean. Teacher tells students that we want to hear other readings on election in Grenada; that's why we will use this newspaper article as a model.
Read article with class and use questions to get at meaning, e.g.
- Who is the sender?
- Who is the receiver/audience?
- What is it for (purpose) why am I reading it? What do I hope to get out of it?
- What kind of text is this?
- What are the text features?
Writing as a process
- Teacher asks: How do we write? Share ideas and discuss as a class.
- Explain: When you think about writing, think about the process of writing[web.mit.edu/writing/writing_Process/writingprocess.html]. This is more important than the end product. An effective process yields an effective product.
- Elicit steps in the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing) and write them on the board.
- Discuss briefly the difference between editing and revising.
- Teacher emphasizes the recursive quality of writing, letting students know that there are multiple ways to do this. What's important is the most effective way that yields the best product.
- Zoom in for a moment on strategies for prewriting:
- free writing
- talking with others; bouncing ideas around
- Jointly plan a story on elections- using story map
Modes vs. Aims
- On one side of the board write the five common modes: narration, definition, description, comparison/contrast, and argumentation; on the other side write aim/purpose and audience
- Tell students that the five modes can be strategies to be used in writing but seldom if ever are they used alone; rather they are combined with other strategies to achieve the aim of the piece of writing.
- All writing is guided by its aim or purpose and its audience: these are absolutely key.
Reading as an Active Process
- Ask: Where does reading fit in? Elicit what people wrote in their brainstorm on reading
- How do you read? (scanning, skimming, detailed etc)
- What's the connection between reading and writing? (Discuss)
- Possible ideas:
- reading/writing are inextricably intertwined in the making of meaning
- we learn about writing by reading
- we participate in a conversation by reading and writing (use metaphor of a party where reading is like listening in to the conversation before chiming in, i.e. before writing)
- they are reciprocal acts of communication; we write to be read
- Other ideas?
- Is reading a passive act? Answer: No, reading should be active. What does active reading mean?
- Elicit/offer strategies for active (Draw from past experiences)
- Remind students to read as writers-with an eye toward craft
Wrap-up and Assessment
- In small groups, students write story on 'Grenada elections'. Teacher scaffolds as she/he moves among groups, conferencing or collaborating with students (teacher is guided by check list). Please note that groups are at different stages in the writing process.
Follow up lessons:-
- Students write first draft.
- Revision- mini-lessons- (attention will be drawn to punctuation and grammatical instructions. Students will refer to model). A revision check list will be used.
- Editing- practice and restructuring. Errors will be worked on in mini-lessons.
- Final draft- students share stories.
- Students post or e-mail stories to pen-pals friends in Wales.
- Groups will take turn to read stories to school assemblies.