If you would like to help students understand more about the concept of writing, maybe a video clip would be appropriate. Download this unit on How-to Write to help your students understand teaching others through writing. Use this comprehensive How-to Writing unit to help your students experience new forms of writing.
If your second-grade students are working on How-To Writing or procedural writing, you might find yourself looking for some tools to start with. Before you start producing amazing content, you are going to want to have at least a moderate level understanding of basic principles of writing. Students need systematic instruction and lots of practice in order to figure out what is required to create great writing. Editing is a difficult skill for beginning writers to master, as they put tremendous value in the time and energy that went into the writing process in the first place.
The best writers are also avid readers, and reading regularly is a simple way to begin building up your skills as a writer. Although writing is generally considered to be a solitary activity, the best writers know when it is time to receive some much-needed feedback about their work. Identify something that you like about a writers writing, and see if you can leverage that to help you improve your own writing skills.
As I read, I started to highlight and introduce different textual characteristics that I wanted my students to utilize in their own writing. Transitions and action words become a board of reference, then I create printable resources for students to put into writing slips. Of course, students saw the transition words when we wrote together, but they need to be taught explicitly too.
For students using notes, we might want to go over the proper structure of sentences before students put ideas in their rough drafts. If your students are up to it, you can write words or shorter sentences underneath their pictures, too.
Use them as mini lessons throughout your class, asking students for their input on telling what is happening in the pictures while you write words or short sentences under the lines. Since this unit may be a students first introduction to writing informational texts, an idea that you may want to pause to implement is showing them how to label their pictures. How to Write With Young Students is typically taught using pictures, in which children practice ordering events.
With this framework, students may be given time to act out steps before beginning writing. Take five to 10 minutes out of the classroom period to allow students to read to one another their writing, either in small groups or pairs. Before the start of class, write two or three short-answer questions on the whiteboard, and have students type in their answers. You will probably have to hold a one-on-one meeting to let students go through this checklist and discuss if every step is included in their writing.
As we begin writing our How-To pieces independently, we will evaluate our writing on our own, using the following checklists (one for individuals, and one for class) to guide our work. Your students might have some good ideas for what they would like to write in their How-To pieces, but others might need your help in narrowing their topics. One way to keep things more manageable is to have students clustered together around a single writing theme when starting work.
Because every students classroom is different, the amount of time I dedicate to how-to writing changes dramatically from year to year. By rotating our writing assignments, we are able to make sure that our students get a chance to write across genres, to a range of audiences, and to develop a deeper mastery of written language. Some mix of writing assignments in class, writing assignments out in the world, and exams with open-ended questions will provide students with the practice needed to enhance their skills.
Reading drafts out loud in the classroom and asking for suggestions, working with a partner to enforce a revised list, or trading papers with a classmate, all of these things may help a student to spot things about their writing that she had not noticed before. Writing down ideas allows students to see and connect ideas, which helps them with their own writing. This type of free writing, according to writing experts, helps students synthesize different ideas and recognize points that may be unclear. By taking the time out, students have the opportunity to build listening, synthesizing, and writing skills.
When we properly scaffold the process of writing, we are again emphasizing that quality matters more than quantity, and teaching students techniques that improve their writing for future pieces.
You will be able to learn about common grammar mistakes, different sentence structures, new words, placement of words — all things that you may not have learned through writing yourself. By reading more, your brain naturally picks up on things like the best word choices, different styles of writing, and the best sentence structures. You definitely need to spend the time writing the best that you can, proofreading and editing your work extensively, and making sure that your work flows logically from one point to another.
Just start writing whenever you feel like it, because the more you do, the more it comes to you naturally. Let students know writing is an intricate, messy, nonlinear process full of false starts. Because I give lots of model writing instruction, students may fall into patterns and more formulaic writing very easily.
How-to-write gives us the opportunity to go over and practice these all-important transitions and time-ordering words (first, second, then, next, even, last, finally, and so on). After you have completed your How-To activity, have your students re-read the papers your class has judged as excellent, and to note down features that made each of them exceptional.