Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 21

Is sexist language discriminatory? In the spirit of combating sexism in language, an author named Jones objects to the indiscriminate use of people named “Jones” in examples used by teacher. VH Jones. College Composition and Communication (Oct. 77), 283.

How use the resources of word processing programs to correct mistakes frequently repeated? [B Ross-Larson]: Modify the ‘auto-correct section of your word processor to flag frequent misusages such as ‘media is’ or ‘irregardless.’ CS Stepp in Rev. of B Ross-Larson’s The Web’s Impact on Writing…. American Journalism. Issue 8, 2002, p. 2.

What type of writing is emphasized in college? Most writing at the college level in all academic courses is expository. Not much use of “expressive” or “creative” writing. AR Gere. College Composition and Communication (May 78), 185.

How do faculty outside of English feel about student errors in writing? “But do we have any evidence to support our assertion that faculty outside the English department are upset by English errors in student writing or that they are even capable of detecting such errors when confronted with them?” GC Klinger. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 77), 343.

How do faculty outside of English feel about student writing? Author sampled college content teachers on “major” errors—those that are particularly irritating. Concludes, “English usage may not have a strong direct bearing on grading outside of English courses, but language errors are clearly distracting…to many instructors. On the other hand, undergraduates who have a firm command of proper English usage and who are skillful in written expression are likely to impress instructors favorably.” GC Klinger. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 77), 247.

How teach students to write professional journal articles? Students in the social studies (history, psychology, criminology, geography and urban studies) learn how to write journal articles in their fields by reading them. EM Hoffman. College Composition and Communication (May 77), 195-197.

How do content teachers use writing in their classes? Concludes that most faculty interviewed have not developed a coherent approach to the role of writing in their classes, are not aware of how to deal with problems in students’ writing and do not see possible connections between writing activities and other ways in which students learn. S Zemelman in RL Larson. College Composition and Communication (May 79), 213.

What is the effect of our oral culture on students’ learning to write? [Ray: They write as they speak? Repetition, conversational vocabulary, i.e., “there,” “this,” “get,” “thing,” “it,” etc.?] Running words together (“alot”); confusion of similar-sounding words (“there/their”); misspelled words [tries, receive, existence, experience, persuade, neither, succeed, necessary, leisure, environment, dying, truly, writing, athlete, embarrass, definite, analyze, similar, disastrous]; sentence fragments; comma faults; omission of terminal “—ed”; proliferation of second-person pronoun; size of vocabulary. Compared 70s- and 50s-era papers. [File.] E Sloan. College Composition and Communication (May 79), 156-160.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 20

How deal in public with complex, specialized issues?
The key to participating as a citizen when dealing with complex, technical issues is the ability to formulate the right questions. WM Simmons and JT Grabill. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 07), 440.

How deal in public with complex, specialized issues? In order to participate in the decision-making process, we must learn how as non-experts to get the knowledge we need, usually through cooperation with others. WM Simmons and JT Grabill. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 07), 419-448.

What are some issues in teaching writing? “Disconnect” between how scholars see the teaching of writing and how we are teaching the students in front of us every day.” CR Farris. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 07), 465.

How describe the thesis sentence? B. Ross-Larson writes, "Your main message is the one sentence you’d give to your reader if that’s what you’re limited to." CS Stepp in Rev. of B Ross-Larson’s "The Web’s Impact on Writing…." American Journalism. Issue 8, 2002, p. 1.

What is the relationship between writing and thinking? Peter Elbow attacks the rationalist, two-step model of first thinking, then writing and insists that writing is a way of thinking. J Kinney. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 79), 355-356.

What kinds of titles "grab" the reader? …tags like, “The Story of…”; “The Truth about…”; “The Secret of…”; “Facts You Should Know About…”; “How To…”; and “…Made Plain.” L Conger. The Writer (Sept. 73), 10.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 19

What is an interesting introductory writing assignment? First assignment is to interview a classmate and write it up. Diagnostic writing tool. We need to pay more attention to teaching skillful interviewing in class. Interviewing skills are important in many careers. BA Morris. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Mar. 07), 287-290.

What are some useful tools for editing? In addition to a class handbook for writing and editing, keep a stock of individual handbooks that have special features helpful for different problems in learning to write. SK Miller-Cochran. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Mar. 07), 335.

What are some criticisms of students’ ability to write? “A majority of college students do not speak, write or read their own language well. Graduate instructors who direct master’s essays and doctoral dissertations are shocked at the extent to which they must become teachers of ‘hospital’ English. Yet we are aware that many of the candidates for higher degrees are already engaged in part-time teaching of freshman English. If they cannot recognize and correct their own egregious errors, what is happening to the end-products of their teaching?” Report of the Commission on the Humanities, 1964, p. 138. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 07), 319.

What are some issues in teaching writing? People in the disciplines do not learn to write in their disciplines by any direct instruction, but by accumulating experience within the discipline. People in English writing classes think their writing instruction is generalizable to all disciplines. M Carter. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 07), 385.

How should students learn to write in specialized disciplines? Disciplines have “meta genres,” forms of writing peculiar to the discipline. Professors in the disciplines should define these “meta genres” for their students. M Carter. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 07), 385-418.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 18

How well do computers evaluate student writing? “How can a computer determine accuracy, originality, valuable elaboration, empty language, language maturity, and a long list of similar qualities that are central to assessing writing? Computers can’t. We must ensure that the human element remains the dominant factor in the assessing of student writing.” PL Thomas. English Journal (May 05), 29.

What are the characteristics of effective op-ed columns? Example of an inquiry project into learning how to write by 5th grade students. KW Ray. Language Arts (Jan. 06), 238-247.

What are some interesting writing assignments? Students complete an “Op-ed” piece. Should include a description of the problem and a solution. K Strasma. Teaching English in a Two-Year College (Mar. 07), 261.

What is an interesting writing assignment? Students view film together, then review it. Note on what they agree and what they don’t. K Strasma. Teaching English in a Two-Year College (Mar. 07), 260.

What is an interesting writing assignment? Students write an essay modeled on Newsweek’s “My Turn.” K Strasma. Teaching English in a Two-Year College (Mar. 07), 258.

What is an interesting writing assignment? “Trendsetter’s Composition.” Students report on a trend they have observed, with examples. K Strasma. Teaching English in a Two-Year College (Mar. 07), 259.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 17

How teach children to write poetry? Introduce children to writing poetry by using patterns, including free verse, Haiku, cinquain, the diamante, septolet, quinzaine, quintain. IM Tiedt. “Exploring Poetry Patterns,” Elementary English. 1082-1084.

How teach children to write stories? Before writing stories, children should tell them orally. MJ Tingle. Elementary English (Jan. 70), 73.

How teach creative writing? After reading a particular work in a genre, students formulate the “rules” for writing in this genre. TF Haffner. Notes Plus (Oct. 04), 3-4.

How teach students to create character? Exercises in creating character. 300-word sketch involving character’s thoughts who cares passionately about something and then 300-word sketch involving character’s thoughts who feels the opposite. Write letter in which writer describes meeting you—and does not like you—and then letter from someone who likes you. G Godwin. The Writer (Dec. 04), 8. [originally, Dec. 1979.]

How teach argumentative writing? “Kaspar asked her students to write a letter to the person with whom they most disagreed on an issue and to present their arguments against his or her position….” LF Kaspar and ST Weiss. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Mar. 05), 286.

What is wrong with teaching the five-paragraph essay? The belief that asking students to write within a prescribed form (the 5-paragraph essay) suffocates their creativity. Assumes that students will write what is safe and correct at the expense of writing what they really want to express. That never happened in my experience. The students began with their self-selected topics, used their personal experiences and shaped their personal messages in the format of “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them.” In addition, students often expanded the parts of the 5-paragraph essay to go well beyond 5 paragraphs. The introduction could go on for several paragraphs. The thesis sentence could be expanded into several sentences or even a paragraph as happens in many published writings. Details were expanded into several paragraphs albeit with a single topic sentence or a topic paragraph. The summary paragraph was usually just that—a single paragraph. Ray 11/04.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 16

What are some effective methods for helping students improve their writing? Finds that both teacher correction and simple underlining of errors are superior to labeling the type of error, even with underlining, for reducing long-term error. Teacher correction results in the most accurate revisions and is preferred by students for its efficiency, but students indicate that they learn more from self-correction based on teacher underlining of errors, which also requires less teacher time. Chandler. Research in the Teaching of English (Nov. 04), 205. (abs.) Students make fewer errors if they learn to find their own errors and make their own corrections rather than having their errors corrected by the teacher. [How help students to “find” their own errors? Ray. ] DR Ferris. Research in the Teaching of English (Nov. 04), 204. (abs.)

How do students’ timed essays differ from their untimed essays? Compare timed essays with students’ untimed essays. Y Cho. Research in the Teaching of English (Nov. 04), 205. (abs.) [RayS: Many years ago, a father told me that when his son went through all the steps in the writing process, his grade was lower than when he dashed off his essay five minutes before catching the school bus.]

What are some challenges in teaching writing? Identify and describe a level of competence expected of students completing our writing courses. JF Kobler. College Composition and Communication (Oct. 78), 264-266.

How help students identify and solve problems in writing? Give students a monthly calendar. Each day of the calendar has a problem in sentence structure, usage or punctuation. Mathematics Teacher (March 05), 480-481. [Reaction: Take the problems from grammar texts or SAT prep materials. Put them in the form of the SAT objective writing questions. You could use the same problem for a week, maybe for the entire month, like passive/active voice. A way of highlighting the kinds of problems that will appear on the SAT writing section.]

Are grammar and composition the same? “For years we have taught grammar and usage, thinking that we were teaching composition, but the kind of mental activity required for grammatical analysis is not the same as that required for composing….” RL Graves. College Composition and Communication (Oct. 78), 227.

How give effective writing assignments? Students need to understand clearly the purpose of a writing assignment. A Beaufort. Research in the Teaching of English (Nov. 04), 162. (abs.)

How distinguish between an amateur and a professional writer? “The amateur wants to be a writer. The professional wants to write.” BJ Chute. The Writer (May 1950). [Wrt (May 05), 8.]

What are ideal conditions in which to write? “Don’t look for ideal writing conditions. They don’t exist. Work where you are and with what you have.” BJ Chute. The Writer (May 1950). [The Writer (May 05), 8.]

Friday, November 16, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 15

How effective are student comments on peers’ papers? Author finds that student comments on their peers’ papers are superficial, that the student writers do not revise along the lines suggested by their peers and that student comments are not as valuable as the teacher’s. The students say they like peer response groups but she, the teacher, is skeptical. ME Casey. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Mar. 05), 278.

What are some techniques for teaching students how to write poetry? Students underline words and phrases on a page torn out of an old book; or in books they are reading. Arrange the words and phrases into a poem. I tried it. Here’s mine, taken from several pages in Schlesinger’s Robert Kennedy and His Times: “A profound emotion—the dread of war;/ Unrelenting antagonisms lead to the end of everything;/ The only victor—compulsive gloom.” L Gajdostik. Classroom Notes Plus (Apr. 05), 7-8.

How prepare students for writing? One way of preparing to write an essay: Summarize what happens in the beginning, in the middle and end of your essay. List 3 words or phrases that summarize the contents of your essay. HE Ollmann. Notes Plus (Oct. 04), 8-10. Begin by outlining your article or book. C Willis. The Writer (Nov. 04), 27. How to get ideas for stories. Look for things that leave you with lingering questions. Write the story to answer those questions. T Bailey. The Writer (May 05), 13. Read the obituaries and find stories in the gaps—what’s missing from the person’s life record. L Batt. The Writer (Jan. 05), 29. Tell the story behind a photograph. L Batt. The Writer (Jan. 05), 29. Listen to stories friends, relatives and strangers tell you. L Batt. The Writer (Jan. 05), 29. With a few minutes to go in class, someone said, “Red” and everyone began to write. L Batt. The Writer (Jan. 05), 29. Start with a setting with enough detail that it can’t be mistaken for someplace else. Then let people loose in that place. L Bat. The Writer (Jan. 05), 29. Write regularly, but not always for publication. P Campbell. The Writer (Jan. 05), 34. Write something different from your preferred, habitual genre. P Campbell. The Writer (Jan. 05), 35. In ten words write the purpose of your piece. Begin with, “The purpose of this is….” P Campbell. The Writer (Jan. 05), 36. Develop a specialty. P Campbell. The Writer . (Jan. 05), 36. Write for increasing amounts of time, 5, 10, 15 minutes, using a timer. Introduce the topic and write. BD Barrett. The Writer (Jan. 050, 39-40. In the first draft write what you know and what you need to know about the topic. M Anderson. The Writer (Nov. 04), 22-23. Begin article with a single sentence that summarizes the article succinctly. Suggested by AV Manzo.How help students gain insight into how writers write? Share with students quotes, articles, etc. that reveal how professional writers write. Also, survey the faculty and community to learn how people who write prepare for, organize and revise their writing. Suggested by JS Damico. Reading Teacher (Apr. 05), 644-652.

When is conscious use of “mistakes” effective in writing? Author points out that many common “errors” [sentence fragments; “they” instead of “he,” and beginning sentences with coordinating conjunctions] when used purposely can be very effective stylistically and are so used in published materials. [The problem is to make sure the students are using them stylistically, not making mistakes they don’t recognize.] D Gorrell. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (May 05), 393-402.

How can teachers of writing improve their teaching? Teachers meet to evaluate their students’ writing samples together. Enables them to identify problems that need to be addressed. D Fisher, et al. Reading Teacher (Apr. 05), 656-666.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 14

How do teachers learn to teach writing? “Teachers become effective mentors of writing when they live through the process themselves, reflect on their experiences and explore instructional implications.” P Whitin. English Education (Jan 06), 128.

How can young students learn to spell when they write? Word wall. Young students search the “word wall” for words spelled similarly to the word the children want to spell: “could,” “should,” etc. C Williams and RP Lundstrom. Reading Teacher (Nov. 07), 204-212.

How can students learn to expand their vocabulary of verbs? Give students sentences without verbs. They supply the verb based on the context. Compare to the actual verb used. A way to expand the vocabulary of verbs. SC Greenwood and K Flanigan. Reading Teacher (Nov. 07), 249-254.

What is the politics of college writing courses? Why do college teachers teach writing? “So it’s become clear that several of the graduate students placed under your charge are either unready to teach writing or cynically indifferent to the work? Too bad, you’re struck with them for the remaining years of their fellowships. Those part-timers still Xeroxing course materials composed on manual typewriters? Or the perpetual ABD’s? Well, they’ve all been around so long they’ve accrued a kind of de facto tenure, so there’s not much you can do about them either. And the same goes for the spouse of that powerful faculty member, and the really good local poet who needs health insurance, and the technical writer who’s an awfully nice person and really not such a bad teacher, and of course all those recent PhD’s produced by the graduate program who didn’t find jobs in their fields but who are willing to take on a couple of sections of comp while they work on their manuscripts and look for something better. Any time a writing director is asked to hire someone for such reasons—that is, for any reason other than that she or he is a good teacher—then she or he is being urged to set some other set of interests above those of undergraduates.” J Harris. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 06), 541. Never hire any teachers of writing for any reason than that they are very good at teaching writing. J Harris. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 06), 535-541.

What should the introduction of a composition do? “A properly constructed introduction provides a general context that either implies a thesis for the essay or leads to an explicit declaration of it.” J T Crow. English Journal (Mar. 05), 48.

What are some alternative methods for writing in journals? Write a journal, using the form of letters to someone. "Letter Journaling." K Campbell. The Writer (May 05), 15.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 13

How write vivid descriptions? Using smells in describing: “Smell is our most primal sense and is easily overlooked in writing; smell can take us back to our early memories or evoke strong feelings and associations…. Remember the way the house smells on a holiday when someone’s been cooking all day or the smell of the school cafeteria in the ninth grade when it was spaghetti day.” E DeMarco-Barrett. The Writer (Mar. 06), 12.

How deal with rejection? Author kept getting the same rejection notes when sending poems to Southern Poetry Review. Finally, sent a collage of these rejection notes. Received a different rejection note. Advice: concentrate on your writing, not on being successful.” J Goldman. The Writer. (Mar. 06), 14. [RayS: I’ve often seen similar advice. Don’t write to publish everything. Just write for the sake of writing. When it’s good enough, try to publish.]

How will you know that you used the right punctuation? “You will know you are using the best possible punctuation when, ironically, you don’t even know it is there.” N Lukeman. The Writer. (Mar. 06), 26. [RayS: Once again, I have seen similar advice and it makes sense. The problem with mistakes is that they distract readers from your meaning. When punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, etc., are correct, readers concentrate on meaning because they are not distracted by mistakes.]

What is the most important part of your writing? Writing and reading begin with the first paragraph. Make it good. S Breen. The Writer. (Mar. 06), 41.

How can writers deal with rejection? Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before finding a publisher. J Reich. The Writer (Dec. 07), 6.

How keep track of your novel as you write it? Keep an idea book. Keep a daily log to track your progress. Make scene cards. Use chapter file folders. Use a loose-leaf binder. Use character lists. Keep a running synopsis. K Davis. The Writer (Dec. 07), 26-27.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 12

How prepare students for writing a research paper? Author suggests substituting the familiar FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) format--questions followed by answers--for the traditional research paper. Suggests FAQ format also as a method for introducing students to the research process with students' questions anticipated and then answered in writing. J Strickland. English Journal (Sept. 04), 23-28.

How construct a book proposal? Elements of a book proposal: title; content; rationale; competition; format (# of words, charts, illustrations, appendices, glossary, sidebars); how market; chapter-by-chapter summary; credentials; sample chapters. M Allen. The Writer (Sept. 04), 34-37.

How construct a book proposal? A good book proposal tells publishers the things they most need to know: what your book is about, why it's important, and to whom it's important. Perhaps the best way to approach your proposal is to ask those questions of yourself--not as a writer, but as a reader. What would persuade you to pick this book from the shelf? What would make you want to buy it? The answers just might be the arguments you need to make a sale. M Allen. The Writer (Sept. 04), 34-37.

How teach persuasion and argumentation?
George Pierce Baker emphasized varied audiences when writing argumentation and persuasion. S Borderlon. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 06), 416-441.

Why make use of writing as the writer speaks? I assume that “diversity writing” allows students to write as they naturally speak. To what purpose? To focus on content as opposed to skills without content? PP Marzluf. College Composition and Communication (Feb. 06), 503-522.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 11

How improve your teaching of writing? Keep a journal describing and reflecting on the process of teaching, noting problems, questions, possible answers, etc. D Gorman. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (Mar. 98), 434-442.

How demonstrate long-term planning to students? “The best way to demonstrate the value of long-term planning is to plan all the work which the class will do, to explain the plan to them, to make sure that they keep it in mind, and after the work has been completed to look back over it and sum it up; the young have very little ability to make long-term plans; they live from day to day, or at least from one Saturday to another.” Highet, The Art of Teaching, p. 69.

What is the formula for writing nonfiction? 1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them; 2. Tell them; And 3. Tell them what you told them. D Greenburg. The Writer (June 04), 32.

How can writers get started on a writing career? Become an expert on something and then write about it. K. James-Enger. The Writer (Sept. 04), 18-19.

What do writers need to know about publishing? "Nowadays, writers largely have to edit themselves. The better you can make your manuscript before submitting it to a publisher, the greater your chances of getting published." C Leddy. The Writer (Sept. 04), 41.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 10

How introduce students to writing in the workplace? Devote an entire unit to using models of different kinds of genre that might be used on the job. Bring in people who have to use those genres, lawyer’s briefs, etc. [Source Unknown]

How use stories in writing? “...are woven through my arguments, persuasion and analysis. Stories help me to make abstractions clear, help me explain what I mean, provide...specificity to concepts.” The Writer Qtd. By KR Morgan (Nov. 02), 111.

How can teachers “model” writing? Teachers first have to think of themselves as writers—reflect on their own writing processes—before they can teach writing by modeling their processes. CR Frank. Language Arts (Mar. 03), 185-195.

What are some interesting writing assignments? Students use the New Yorker types of writing as models—”Talk of the Town,” “Profiles,” “Reviews,” “Letter from….” PL Martin. Classroom Notes Plus (Oct. 02), 8-9.

How can you check the organization of your writing? Put your topic sentences individually on separate index cards. Mix them up. Partner tries to put them in order. Check if the partner’s order is your order. J Gritter. Ideas Plus #20. (2002), 11-12.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 09

How emphasize the importance of sentences? Students look for significant sentences in the literature and books they read. When students read their compositions aloud, they listen for and record the significant sentences from their colleagues’ papers. The teacher records the significant sentences in students papers. PM Holloway. Classroom Notes Plus (Jan. 02), 2.

How organize writing? Introduce it, lay it out, sum it up. William Safire in Safire and Safir. Good Advice on Writing, 1992, p. 238.

How organize writing? “I like to get to the point without too much horsing around.” English Journal (Jun. 76), 23-25.

How organize writing? “The basic structure of an article: you must catch the reader’s interest in the introduction; in the next section identify your topic; in the body of the piece, present your material; and close by drawing a conclusion or repeating a key point.” R Berman. The Writer’s Handbook, 2001, 306-311.

What is the purpose of the first sentence in a paragraph? “The first sentence of a paragraph may look backward to the preceding paragraph, but its most important function is to point forward—to begin a kind of mental ‘action,’ to generate in the reader some expectations about what is to follow, and thereby to establish a point of reference that will guide the interpretation of succeeding sentences.” RL Larson, College Composition and Communication (Feb. 67), 21

How long should paragraphs be? “No one can say how long a paragraph should be; subject, purpose, audience, editorial fashion and individual preference all affect the length and complexity of paragraphs; numerous brief paragraphs are likely to be disjointed and underdeveloped; great long ones fatigue readers; an occasional short paragraph of 15 to 20 words may work very well; so may an occasional long one of 300. TS Kane in Safire and Safir, Good Advice on Writing, 1992, 169.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 08

Do students understand teachers’ comments on their writing? Knoblauch and Barnnon: “The depressing trouble is, we have scarcely a shred of empirical evidence to show that students typically even comprehend our responses to their writing, let alone use them purposefully to modify their practice.” RS sprinkle. Teaching English in the Two-Year College(Mar. 04), 273.

How make sure that students understand teachers’ comments on their writing? Ask students as part of turning in the revised paper how helpful your comments on their writing were. A. Edgington. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Mar. 04), 287.

How do parents feel about teaching the basics in writing? In an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Monday, May 24, 2004, p. B2, Nick O’Dell says, “I knew we were in trouble some years ago when my 10th-grade son brought home an essay for which he had received an A+, and it contained numerous spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors, none of which had been corrected. At a parent/teacher conference I was told: ‘We don’t want to stifle a child’s creativity by being over (sic) concerned about technicalities.’ I then gave the analogy of an architect designing a beautiful building that fell down because he hadn’t bothered with technicalities like material strengths—and it fell on deaf ears.”

What is one method for avoiding plagiarism in research assignment? Students construct annotated bibliographies on their topics BEFORE writing the research paper. Classroom Notes Plus (Jan. 04), 16.

Why is standard English important? “Children need to perfect or acquire the prestige dialect—not because standard English is correct or superior in itself but because society exacts severe penalties from those who do not speak [or write] it. Unless they can learn to use standard English, many pupils will be denied access to economic opportunities or entrance to social groups. W Loban. Elementary English (May 68), 693.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 07

What is the typical experience of students in completing research papers? If anything characterized my elementary and secondary school years, I suppose, that was it. Go to the library and do a report on Lincoln! Oh, it wasn’t necessarily Lincoln. Sometimes it was Washington. Or Jefferson. Or my favorite, George Washington Carver. Whatever the report, the routine was the same. Go to the library. Find the World Book Encyclopedia. Look for the first letter of the last name of the man (generally it was a man) that you were studying. Grab the volume you need. Thumb through the pages. Find the entry you want. And then—copy. Word for word. Line for line. Period for period. After all, the assignment was to get it done—and quickly. Besides, for your final copy, you could change some words, add a quote or two, slap on a cover and hand it in. Sound familiar? That existed throughout my entire public school career. D Gallo. English Journal (Nov. 03), 91.

How help students understand plagiarism? Encourage students to ask questions about plagiarism. M Price. College Composition and Communication (Sept. 02), 105.

What should a query letter consist of? The purpose of a query letter is to see if editors are interested in publishing an article you have written or are writing. State the basic idea of your book or article in its briefest possible form—preferably in a single sentence. M Gunther. The Writer (Sept. 72, 15.

How write an article on a technique you use in teaching? Submitting techniques for publication in professional journals: Goals? Reason for using the technique? How introduce the technique? How involve students? What is the progression in implementing the technique? How encourage student reflection on the technique? How judge effectiveness of the technique? Changes in using the technique in the future? Classroom Notes Plus (Aug. 99). [RayS: This series of steps makes sense, but better read the journal in which the technique will be published. I have noticed some changes in format for brief articles on techniques, most notably the need to cite prior research related to the technique. To find that research go to ]

What is the meaning of revision? Lovitt (1975) noted that many writers consider revision as simply changing punctuation marks and misspellings. To move beyond this limited concept of proofreading, students must be taught specific steps to follow in revising their own written work. EA Polloway, et al. Focus on Exceptional Children. (Nov. 81), 6.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 06

How long should a letter be?. Never write any letter that is longer than one page. Nobody in the world wants to read a letter from you that is longer than one page, not even your mother. D Greenburg. The Writer (June 04), 32.

How does one learn to spell? Primary grade child: “When I see a word in a book, my brain takes a picture of it and when I need to write it, I know how to spell it.” KL Dahl, et al. The Reading Teacher (Dec. 03/Jan. 04), 319.

How can students practice interviews? Students interview older relatives about their memories of historical events. M Faust. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (Apr. 04), 572.

How prepare students for reading their assignments?. Teacher distributes sentences from text they are about to read. From the single sentences, students in writing try to predict what will happen in the text. RH Yopp & HK Yopp. The Reading Teacher (Nov. 03), 284.

What are “nonstandard quotes”? The author refers to phrases like “personal potential” and “to be all that you can be” as “nonstandard quotes.” Students use them, put them in quotes because they have been used elsewhere, but do not attribute. She cites the “to be all that you can be” as part of a U.S. Army recruiting ad—but fails to note that the coach in the movie Hoosiers uses the same phrase, antedating the Army ad—and the Army ad didn’t attribute either. In addition, I have seen the same phrase in many, many educational journal articles . In the long run, a great many phrases we use tend to be “nonstandard quotes.” Maybe we need to show students how to “write around” nonstandard quotes. Suggested by B Schneider. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 02), 188-207.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 05

What is meant by “correcting” writing? RayS: I think most writing teachers label [“awk.” “Not clear.” “subjunctive,”etc.], rather than actually correcting errors, requiring students themselves to figure out how to correct. Since students don’t understand what the labels mean, they do not know how to begin to correct the problems themselves.

How are the four traditional modes of writing used in the real world? Advertisers use the four traditional modes of discourse: descriptive, narration, exposition and argumentation. FJ D’Angelo. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 78), 356-361.

What is Rogerian argumentation? State the issue objectively; summary of the other people's point of view, showing that you understand their point of view; statement of your point of view with reasons; statement of what the differing opinions have in common; proposal to resolve the differences in a way that injures neither party. AA Lunsford. College Composition and Communication (May 79), 147.

How prepare students to write argumentation? Prepare for writing argumentative papers by writing dialogue. L Rockas in RL Larson. College Composition and Communication (May 79), 209

How approach grammar as science? Another reason for teaching grammar may be that the study of grammar can help students discover how to collect data, formulate and test hypotheses, draw generalizations—in short, it can help students learn to approach grammar as the scientist does. C Weaver. Grammar for Teachers. NCTE/ 1979, 89.

How can students practice writing? Students watch a scene in a movie. They then describe the scene—re-create it in writing. H Hoffner. Reading Teacher (Sept. 03), 788-80.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 04

What are some criticisms of writing in education? Laments a company official in a recent study on education in industry by the Conference Board in New York: “We’re doing what the educators ought to be doing. College graduates can’t write reports; high school graduates can’t read, spell or write…and they all have poor vocabularies. Twelve years is a long time to spend in school and not come away with the basics.” U.S. News and World Report (Jul. 16, 79), 70. Robt. Craig of the American Society for Training and Development: Engineers and managers need to be taught how to write and speak and how to hold meetings. U.S. News and World Report (Jul. 16, 79), 70.

How consistently and accurately do teachers correct students’ papers? Author inherited a collection of papers corrected by different teachers. These corrections showed arbitrary correction of punctuation, involved grammatical mistakes in the teachers’ corrections, unnecessary and stilted rewriting of the student’s expression and revelation of the teachers’ biases in response to student’s thoughts. G Sloan. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 77), 370-373.

What are the characteristics of good and poor writing? Judgments of quality in writing. Identifies sophistication in handling modifiers, particularly final, free modifiers [RayS: which I call “afterthoughts”] as a feature associated with judgments of quality; negatively, the frequent use of modal auxiliaries [“would,” “should,” “could,” “might”] and of “be” and “have” as auxiliaries and a limited range of verbs (possibly signifying a limited vocabulary) as features associated negatively with judgments of quality. EW Nold in RL Larson. College Composition and Communication (May 79), 208.

What are some interesting writing assignments? Students write and illustrate a “How To….” on some topic about which they have knowledge and then on a topic about which they have little knowledge. J Savory. College Composition and Communication (May 78), 197-198. Students engage in an oral history project. LS Ede. CCC (Dec. 77), 380-382. Have students research and try to resolve a community problem. JM Palmer. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Sept. 04), 106-112. Students take photographs and then write about them. JK Ligerman. College Composition and Communication (May 77), 174-178. Try to engage students in real writing assignments for real audiences with real outcomes. K Lindblom. English Journal (Sept. 04), 104-108.

What are some suggestions for effective conferences with student writers? Try to get students to identify problems with their writing. Isolate the most serious problem. Teacher and student agree to work on the problem together. Articulate clearly what the students must do to resolve the problem. R Arbur. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 77), 338-342.