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Re: Writing Instruction

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Middle school language arts teacher Janice Ramsey has hit upon a paradox: Many kids say they hate writing, but, what with e-mail and instant messaging, they’re virtually doing it in their sleep. Building on that opening, Ramsey, who teaches at Booth Middle School in Woodstock, Georgia, has developed a writing curriculum that’s oriented around e-mail composition. Instead of blaming e-mail for the world’s grammatical ills, that is, she uses it to teach kids about structure, style, and voice. “What’s associated with e-mail? Plain old letter-writing,” she reasons. Who knew? Ramsey says working in the electronic medium gives her students a greater sense of engagement, which has shown in their grades. She plans to present her findings this summer as part of a university professional-development program. In the meantime, the idea of adapting student writing to new modes of communication is already being welcomed. “Literacy instruction and written instruction tend to be quite old-fashioned; we’re still working from a 1950s model,” observed Jennifer Stone, a professor at the University of Washington.

2 Comments

This is a great idea! In essence, you begin with what they, the students know or with what interests them. In many cases, "formalized" writing is not
writing for most middle school students; they don't see it as a means for rendering a personal voice or as a means of entertainment.Too often, we, as teachers, edit the joy from their writings.

this is my teacher !

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