Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Transferring Skills Between Units of Writing

The weekly Slice of Life is hosted by the writing teachers at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. Everyone is welcome to participate through posting or commenting!

Studying the writing standards of the Common Core State Standards, I have come to believe that students must be active and engaged in their learning and transfer previously learned skills in order to meet their expectations. Therefore, as we transition from one writing genre to another, students should understand the shift and be able to explain the similarities between one type of writing and another. When I met with one of the district's newer teachers to unpack the personal essay unit that follows the personal narrative one, we envisioned and designed the following chart to be created with students. I think that if I were teaching this lesson, I would complete the left side of the chart as an inquiry lesson, expecting that students could tell me the components of narrative writing, since they have just completed that unit. Then, I would explicitly teach the right side of the chart and have the chart to refer to throughout the personal essay/opinion unit.



I think that it is also important for students to learn and realize that writers don't have to re-invent topics. A good deal of the generating that writers did in a narrative unit is transferable to an opinion unit. To that end, I envision a chart that looks something like this:
As with the other chart, I would develop this chart in front of students and I would use the examples that they'd provide from their own personal narratives. I'm always interested in hearing about how other people are teaching or seeing students transferring their learning, so as always, I invite you to share!
Happy Writing,

8 comments:

  1. This post is very timely for me. We are just getting ready to start our opinion study and I love how you've connected and contrasted narrative and persuasive. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  2. I love the if/then - such clarity for our kids to model after. Are you going to the TC Argument Institute, Melanie? I blew my PD budget with the summer institutes - but this one looks amazing.

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    1. I'm working on having a trip to NCTE in Boston funded and that would blow my budget. I haven't looked at the Argument Institute and I'm going to the website to check it out now. I missed the reunion on Saturday as we have too much going on in our family right now. I was sad, though!

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    2. I'll be at NCTE! Paying for it myself, but the district has signed off on three personal days. The Argument Institute is expensive - AND I missed the reunion for the same reasons you did. Not enough time for all that we'd like to do, right?

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  3. These are great charts, Melanie. (I always loved that nonfat milk, non-smoking lesson from the original units of study to help kids understand the difference between narrative and non-narrative writing.) If these charts are developed by the teacher with the students, then they're sure to have a lasting impact.

    I'm going to pin these to Pinterest!

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    1. Thanks Stacey! I'm brewing a post about the importance of developing charts WITH students.

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  4. Love the charts and the thinking you share! It's a powerful lesson when they see how they can turn a facet of the narrative into an opinion, then later expository.

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