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.

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