Writing

Helping Students Find Their Writing Voice

Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has their own unique writing voice. Storytelling is sometimes what excites students the most; it’s an invitation for them to read, observe, dissect, understand, feel, and write. Through writing stories, we learn about our past, current, and future selves. We get an intimate glimpse of our joy, loneliness, sacrifice, anxiety, heartbreak, anger, fear, guilt, surprise, and all the nuanced emotions that make us human. Storytelling is also…

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6 Dysgraphia Tips to Better Support Students

Dysgraphia is a language-based learning difference that affects a student’s ability to produce written language. In the early grades, students with dysgraphia may have difficulty with consistent letter formation, word spacing, punctuation, and capitalization. In later grades, they may have difficulty with writing fluency, floating margins, and legible writing. Students with dysgraphia are often labeled “sloppy,” “lazy,” or “not detail-oriented” in a classroom setting, but students with dysgraphia are often trying very hard (if not…

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Poetry 180 Brings the Love of Language to High School Classrooms

When the Covid-19 pandemic took off in March, the poet and creator of Poetry 180 Billy Collins started reading a poem every weekday on Facebook Live. The readings—mostly of contemporary poems, peppered with the occasional classic by Shakespeare or John Donne—have been a surprise hit, with 47,000 followers. One woman in Paris left a comment saying that she listens in bed before she goes to sleep, while another in Australia joins with her morning coffee.…

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10 Ways to Use Color-Coding in the Classroom

Color-coding strategies are fun, but they also wield a deeper value–colors can have a positive impact on memory and attention. Using color-coding is a great way to provide scaffolding for students who need it and engage those who don’t. As a bonus, it can be applied to every aspect of ELA! READING 1. Want students to analyze a text? Ask them to read with color. This color-coding strategy helps them to delineate between a main…

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10 Ideas For Using Technology To Teach Writing

There are a variety of tech tools and methods out there to teach writing that can make the process easier and more fun for both teachers and students. While not every high-tech way of teaching writing will work for every class or every student, there’s enough variety that there’s bound to be something for everyone. Here, we offer just a few tech-focused ways to help students learn grammar, essay-writing, and, most importantly, why good writing…

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How Students Can Find Reliable Sources Online Using 3 Simple Steps

In the era of fake news and Internet misinformation, ensuring that students know how to find reliable sources of information online is essential. Thanks to the relative ease of creating and sharing content online, students are confronted with publications created solely to entertain, persuade, and incite via incorrect or incomplete statistics. Students diving into the world of academic and professional-level research often have no awareness of the gaps in their understanding when it comes to performing…

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6 Essential Tips for Improving Your Handwriting

Handwriting is something that many people let fall by the wayside in the digital age, but there is true artistic value and design in something as creative and intricate as handwriting. Even if you aren’t interested in this aspect of handwriting, it’s still of general use to make your writing legible to other people. If even you find it difficult to decipher your own handwriting, it’s time to make a change. Here’s how to do…

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Top 5 Books for Aspiring Writers

If you want to be a writer, chances are you’re also a voracious reader. Many writers have dedicated their time to writing books about writing books, and there is so much to learn from their advice. Here are my top 5 picks for books about writing.  On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft–Stephen King. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this volume is a revealing and practical…

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Using Writing in Other Subject Areas Gives Students a Learning Boost

Writing has significant potential to help students learn other content areas like math, science, social studies, art, physical education, and more. Like speaking and listening, writing isn’t one more thing to teach but rather a tool to help students learn whatever it is you’re teaching. It is critical to use rigorous, evidence-based instructional strategies within your framework. All students can learn at rigorous levels when provided appropriate instruction that incorporates support and scaffolding. Here, let’s…

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Expressive Writing in Science Courses Keeps Students Grounded

Before attacking a problem set or being introduced to a new concept, some students at San Francisco State University will pause during their science class to do something unusual: ponder life, write thoughts into a journal, and share them with classmates. Why am I here? What am I contributing to this class? Who can I go to when times are tough? While it’s not unexpected for humanities classes to incorporate self-reflection, expressive writing in science…

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