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ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS RESOURCES

LANGUAGE ARTS :: SECONDARY RESOURCES :: WRITING HANDBOOK :: TEACHER TOOLBOX

TEACHER TOOLBOX

Exercising language is the work of a lifetime - a cradle-to-grave adventure in which we extend and refine our oral and written skills - and the coaching of writing may usefully be considered a lifetime sport, one that causes suffering to teach us humility and then offers unexpected moments of joy to teach us hope and commitment and professional perseverance.

- William Strong, teacher and author

Overview

The "Teachers Toolbox" is designed to offer concrete ways that teachers can support writers during all stages of the writing process. It is organized in a question-answer format with questions grouped under the following headings:

  • Incorporating Writing into the Content Area Classroom
  • Supporting Student Writers Through Conferencing
  • Developing Focus and Purpose in Writing
  • Organizing Writing
  • Using Support and Elaboration Effectively
  • Dealing with Issues of Style and Audience
  • Focusing on Language Conventions.

As Olson (2003) points out, "… one of the key differences between experienced and inexperienced readers and writers is that experienced readers and writers are strategic: They purposefully select and implement strategies in order to construct meaning. In order to become strategic, inexperienced readers and writers need both the knowledge and the motivation to select, apply, and monitor their use of strategies" (p. 101). The suggestions that follow build upon the idea that teachers can combine direct instruction, modeling, practice, and coaching to support student writers of all ability levels.