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Composition Cautions Overcoming Problems Faced in Writing Susan Roberts Reading Specialist Jefferson County Schools Reference Writing the Four Blocks Way Drs. Pat and James Cunningham, Dr. Dorothy Hall, and Sharon Moore Caution 1: Students Lack Motivation Attempt to avoid writing

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composition cautions

Composition Cautions

Overcoming Problems Faced in Writing

Susan Roberts

Reading Specialist

Jefferson County Schools

reference
Reference
  • Writing the Four Blocks Way

Drs. Pat and James Cunningham, Dr. Dorothy Hall, and Sharon Moore

caution 1 students lack motivation4

Attempt to avoid writing

Don’t know what to write about

Given a topic, don’t know anything to say about it

Can’t write because they can’t spell the words

Write a little, claim they’re finished

Caution 1: Students Lack Motivation

Students with a motivation problem:

caution 1 students lack motivation5

Lack of self-efficacy in writing

Lack of intrinsic motivation to write

Lack of independence in writing

Caution 1: Students Lack Motivation

Three aspects to the motivation problem:

caution 1 students lack motivation6

Encourage self-selected writing frequently

Allow single-draft writing

Share first drafts in a positive atmosphere

Allow phonetic spelling

Caution 1: Students Lack Motivation

What can I do about it?

students need the four square graphic organizer for self selected writing because they need

The sequential steps that they complete with a piece of writing

To repeat the steps with the next piece of writing… and the next

To repeatedly engage in first draft writing with phonetic spelling

To share their writing in a positive environment

To receive feedback from peers and teachers

Students need the four square graphic organizer for self-selected writing because they need:
caution 1 students lack motivation9
Caution 1: Students Lack Motivation

Avoid giving students knowledge about writing when what they need is….

Knowledge – how to write….

SHOW…..DON’T TELL!

this is where the mini lesson comes in
This is where the mini-lesson comes in….

A mini-lesson is:

  • Focused on a particular skill or process
  • Modeled writing by the teacher by the teacher at the overhead while students watch
  • Followed by student independent writing
caution 3 writing is not speaking
Caution 3: “Writing is Not Speaking:”

These students have the problem of writing their speech down when it requires additional skills that speaking does not.

slide13

Five aspects of the “writing is not speaking” problem:

Handwriting

Spelling

Capitalization

Punctuation

Formatting

Capitalization,

punctuation, and

formatting are the

rule-governed

mechanics of writing.

Handwriting

and spelling

comprise basic

writing fluency.

speaking requires none of these
Speaking requires none of these,

but writing requires all five.

  • Handwriting
  • Spelling
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Formatting
caution 3 writing is not speaking15

Teach students the basic rules that govern the mechanics of writing.

Teach writing mini-lessons on topics such as:

  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Format
  • Grammar
  • Steps in the writing process
Caution 3: “Writing is Not Speaking:”

What can I do about it?

caution 3 writing is not speaking16

Teach editing:

  • Teach students to proofread and correct their own first drafts for correct spelling and correct application of the rules.
  • Use mini-lessons to teach editing and revising.
  • Use an editor’s checklist as a list of rules for editing, revising, and publishing
Caution 3: “Writing is Not Speaking:”

What can I do about it?

caution 4 students who lack the ability to juggle all of the components of writing at the same time
Caution 4: Students who lack the ability to “juggle” all of the components of writing at the same time

This lack-of-automaticity problem is a very natural one.

slide18

Teach writing skills often through mini-lessons.

Have students write often to gradually increase in their automaticity with the parts of writing.

What can I do about it?

slide19

With frequent practice, empower students gradually to improve in length, sophistication, and mechanical correctness.

Allow students to self-edit their own first drafts as soon as they are able.

What can I do about it?

slide21

Puts the responsibility for editing on the student rather than on the teacher

Allows you to check their editing and help them fix a few things (conferencing)

Allows for much more learning of writing rules by students

Students should edit their own papers.

caution 6 starting revision too early in the year
Caution 6: Starting revision too early in the year

Do not ask students to revise until most of them have:

  • developed some self-confidence

with writing

  • developed intrinsic motivation and

independence in first-draft writing

  • developed independence in editing
caution 7 allowing students to recopy pieces before they are revised edited and approved

Do not try to achieve perfectly neat handwriting or correct spelling on a draft.

Eliminate all recopying during process writing.

Only recopy or type once during the complete writing process.

Caution 7: Allowing students to recopy pieces before they are revised, edited, and approved.
caution 7 allowing students to recopy pieces before they are revised edited and approved24

Make small revisions in the space above each line. (skip lines)

Make larger revisions by cutting and pasting (literally or on word processor).

Copy first drafts after they have been revised and edited.

Caution 7: Allowing students to recopy pieces before they are revised, edited, and approved.
slide25
Caution 8: Having students revise every first draft seriously erodes the students’ willingness and enthusiasm to revise.
students should write at least three first drafts for every one they revise

Students end up more willing to revise.

That revision does not dampen their interest in writing first drafts

Students work harder on a first draft if they get to choose which of three or more to take through the writing process.

Students should write at least three first drafts for every one they revise.
heed these composition cautions
Heed these composition cautions…

to overcome problems faced in writing.