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State Support Team, Region 16

Is there a writing revolution in your classroom?

Kimberly Miller - 10/17/2018 10:57:00 AM

Is there a need for a Writing Revolution in your Classroom?

 

When I think back to when I was in elementary school I realized that I never learned how to write. Additionally, when I was a new teacher, I never learned how to teach writing.  So when it came to writing my dissertation, I thought to myself I will never be able to write it without some serious help. 

After reading The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (TWR) by Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler (2017), I realized that writing is a fundamental skill that we need to teach all children.  There are many reasons that writing is so important, but three reasons come to mind when we discuss the necessity of good writing instruction.  Writing is essential to academic learning, social communication, and employment in modern society.  With that in mind, I recommend this book about the teaching of writing.

The Writing Revolution is an easy read packed with specific techniques to turn weak writers into strong communicators.  I found the six basic principles of TWR to be crucial.  Those 6 principles are:

1. Explicit instruction in writing, beginning in primary grades.

2. Sentences are the building blocks of all writing.

3, Embed writing within content area instruction.

4. Content of the curriculum drives the rigor of the writing activities.

5. Grammar is taught in the context of student writing.

6. Planning and revising are the two most important phases of the writing process.

Let me share about Chapter 1.  Chapter 1 deals with principle 2 the building blocks of all writing - sentences.  This chapter provides teachers with techniques to help students write coherent sentences.   Learning how to write a sentence encompasses all of the other principles.  For example, teaching children how to compose four basic types of sentence allows them to write about the content they are currently studying.   When students learn how to write a declarative (statement), imperative (command), Interrogative (question) and exclamatory (exclamation) sentence about content, they can form those sentences into paragraphs, essays, stories, and even dissertations.

While the book is called the Writing Revolution, it helps students improve reading comprehension, organizational and study skills.  Additionally, students enhance their speaking abilities and develop analytical capabilities.  Check out the testimonials on the Writing Revolution website - https://www.thewritingrevolution.org/

After reading this text and seeing some of the techniques in action, it has changed my thoughts about writing.  Oh what I wouldn’t have given to have had instruction by a transformative teacher who created a writing revolution in his or her classroom.