My research for this project can broken down into two main sections. The first section involves me explaining things such as rules of usage and different writing principles. I needed to actually know what I was talking about if I wanted to help Mr. Power’s students. The second section involves information about the PSSA and how it affects the writing process. During my visits to the middle school I discovered that a deal of time in the curriculum was devoted to preparing for the tests so I knew I wanted to research how the PSSA really affects student writing.
Writing has been an important part of my life since I first began my education.I have always found it easy to express myself through writing. While in elementary school my most memorable experience was winning first place in a writing contest sponsored by the Elmwood park zoo.I had won many minor awards and had been recognized on a smaller scale for my writing prior to this achievement. But when I won this contest I was recognized by not only my school but also the surrounding community. I was asked to read my paper in front of a large group of people and at the time I was only 8 years and very nervous. But I stood alongside the mayor of Norristown and read my essay confidently and without difficulty. I felt like I was on top of the world when I cut the ribbon that opened the new park at the zoo. It was a experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
The first topics I would like to discuss are some of the English language’s most important rules of usage. Usagerules often vary among different authorities. These specific rules were recorded by William Shrunk Jr. and E.B. White in a composition handbook titled “The Elements of Style”. However information found in The Elements of Style may be different, then say, information found in The Chicago Manual of Style. For example, the Associated Press (AP) Stylebookis a guide specific for news media and journalists while The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS)is used by many book publishers and writers. The most imperative and obvious rules are generally the same in every guide but only differ slightly depending on what year the book was published and/or the editor and author’s personal interpretation. Even though Shrunk and White’s first guide was published in 1935 the information its pages held is still relevant today. The research I have gathered comes from the 4th edition which was released in 2000.
Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names ending in –es and –is, such as the possessive Jesus’ The pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours, and ours have no apostrophes. But indefinite pronouns use the apostrophe to show possession. one’s rights somebody else’s backpackA common error is to write it’s for its, or vice versa. The first (it’s) is a contraction, meaning “it is”. The second (its) is a possessive.
The singular personal pronouns relating to the subject include I, you, he, she, it. The singular personal pronouns relating to the object include me, you, him, her, it. The plural personal pronouns relating to the subject include we, you they. The plural personal pronouns include us, you, them.In the second example, whoever is the subject of looks hungry; the object of the preposition to is the entire clause whoever looks hungry. Pronouns used as subjects or predicate nominatives (nominative case): I, you, he, she, it, we, they, whoPronouns used as objects (objective case): me, you, him, her, it, us, them, whomThis is why we would say “I like her” not “me like she”.
Use the period to mark the end of a complete sentence that is neither interrogative nor exclamatory.Use the comma when denoting an appositive,(a break within a sentence that supplements and adds information to the subject),denoting a series, or if your subject has two or more adjectives describing it. In this example the first period should be replaced by a comma and the following word begun with a lower case letter. However an exception to this rule would be the use of an emphatic word or expression such as: Again and again he called out. No reply.
“Itis also equally correct to write such a sentence as two sentences, replacing the semicolons with periods.” (Shrunk and White) Ms. Rieger’s stories are funny. They are full of humorous details.If a conjunction is inserted, the proper mark of punctuation is comma. Mrs. Rieger’s stories are funny, and they are full of humorous details.
All right: properly written as two words, meaning agreed, go ahead, or O.K.Effect: as a noun means “result”; as a verb, means “to bring about”,” to accomplish”. Not to be confused with affect which means “to influence”. Etc.: literally, “and other things” ; sometimes loosely used to mean “and other persons”. The phrase is also equivalent to “and the rest, and so forth”. However: Avoid starting a sentence with however when the meaning is “nevertheless”. When however begins a sentence it means “in whatever way” or “to whatever extent”. One:In the sense of “a person” not to be followed by his or her. “One must watch one’s step”, not “One must watch his step”. Very: Use this word sparingly where emphasis is necessary, but it is better to use words strong in themselves.
Principles of Composition, or in other words rules by which to write. In order to have the most easily comprehensible writing there are certain principles and ideas which one should observe. Shrunk and White discuss how to use the paragraph as the unit of composition, omit needless words, as well as other important information regarding topic sentences, positive form, and needless words. Everything from avoiding foreign languages to writing in a way that comes naturally is covered in The Elements of Style. I selected some of the most important and frequently overlooked principles to elaborate upon.
No matter what kind of writing it may be, every form of composition has a basic underlying structure. Different writers with different ideas and styles will stick to or deviate from this design as they see fit. To be effective, writing must follow the thoughts of the writer closely but not necessarily in the same order these thoughts occur. There are an infinite amount of designs and different strategies that work better with different kinds of writing. For example a love letter may have no design at all but simply be an outpouring, a flood of emotion. While a doctoral thesis may have a very constrictive design determined by a professor or university. Most forms of composition are somewhat vague and flexible but all have skeletons with which the writer can build upon. The more clearly the writer understands the specific skeleton the greater chances of success.
“The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive” (Shrunk and White pg.18) The first example, which uses the passive voice, is neither bold nor concise. The second example is much more forceful, direct, and easier to comprehend. We cannot discard passive voice altogether for it can be useful and is sometimes necessary. The passive voice can be useful when writing in a scientific manor such as in lab reports, or when composing political speeches. But the active voice is immediate and engaging. It can draw the reader in and involve them more with the content. This also relates to “to be” verbs. You guys might remember from middle school that the English teachers always told students to avoid to be verbs at all costs.
It is the general consensus of those who study writing that the best way to capture and hold a readers attention is to use definite, specific, concrete language. It is a basic strategy and may not apply in every situation, but as a general rule of thumb using concrete language can effectively improve one’s writing. Tame, colorless, hesitant language can distract and sometimes confuse the reader leaving him or her disinterested. Some of history’s greatest authors, a few of which include Shakespeare, Dante, and Homer, have been successful in part due to their focus on particulars and only the important details. Their concrete language painted vibrant pictures that stuck with audiences and still inspire readers to this day.
In other words express ideas that are alike in content and function in an outwardly similar, easily recognizable way. In the English language this principle is referred to as parallel construction. Parallel construction, also called parallelism, can be defined as the balance of two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses. Parallelism is essential to readability. Many unskilled writers often violate this principle when they decide to constantly vary their forms of expression. When a writer repeats a statement for emphasis there is sometimes a need to vary his or her form. But other than that exception a writer should attempt to follow the principle of parallel form.
There are countless problems that the young writers of today face. These writers are still developing conceptual and processing skills and these students find it difficult to wrap their mind around some of the abstract ideas that they may be asked to consider. Many students at this age can only write in a very structured, very linear fashion. This form of writing is comfortable to them because they have used it since the elementary school level when they first were instructed on how to write. But after asking a great number of teachers what the most common problem a young writer might face I often received the same quote; “I know what I want to say, but when I write it down it doesn’t come out that way”. Both Mrs. Williams and Mr. Darnel stressed that concept when I interviewed them.
Even the best of writers can lose focus and stray off topic. It takes a level of intellectual discipline to make sure that what you are saying is relevant to your topic. In other words for one’s writing to be effective one must have a clear focus. Focus in writing means, among other things, maintaining a central idea throughout one’s composition piece. Without a clear focus whatever you write doesn’t have a clear meaning. A critical factor in establishing a focus is setting a goal. Studies by writing researchers show that goal-setting is an important element of planning for anywriter. There is no point in writing something if it does not convey an effective message. If a writer learns to state his or her focus early on in any piece of writing, the reader has a much easier time following the progression of that writer’s ideas.
Revising is a part of writing, plain and simple. The best writers in the whole world revise their compositions. There are very few writers that can produce exactly what it is they want to say on their very first try. Quite often when a writer examines their completed work they realize that there are serious flaws in the arrangement of the material called transpositions. Mr. Power’s class had a particularly difficulty comprehending verb tenses. But more often that not a word processor (Microsoft Word) should pick up on such mistakes. However some students prefer to proofread their essays in print from as oppose to on a computer screen. English teachers everywhere agree that students who do not proofread their work generally receive lower grades. If a student simply reads over his or her paper one time they can often correct awkward, run-on, and grammatically incorrect sentences. It is a good idea to save both the original and revised copies so that you can revert back to the original if need be.
Improving Student Attitudes and Writing Abilities through Increased Writing Time and Opportunities. Authors: Gau, Elisabeth; Hermanson, Jennifer; Logar, Michele; Smerek, ChristineStudents may exhibit a reluctance to write due to a lack of teacher training, poor teacher attitude, students' poor writing skills, students' low self-esteem, structure of the school day, gender biases, and students' learning disabilities. This information comes from a study conducted by the US Department of Education published on the Education Resources Information Center’s (ERIC) website. In this study the targeted population consisted of fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighthgrade students at the middle-school level in a growing middle class community located in the northwest suburban area of Chicago, Illinois. Findings suggested that when students are given routine journal writing opportunities, as well as frequent opportunities to write throughout the content areas, their attitudes towards writing will improve and the amount they write will increase.
In eighth grade most students have not developed their own personal sense of style yet. These students are more used to writing in a structured 5 paragraph manor then taking the creative liberties we would consider to be ones style. Composition is often awkward and unnatural to students at this age for they have not yet learned to write mainly with strong nouns and verbs as opposed to adjectives an adverbs. And the students who do believe they have style often overwrite and overstate. The majority of students today use a word processor to type up their assignments which increases the possibility of wordiness. The click and flow of Microsoft Word can often be too tempting for some students and they may end up adding unnecessary words, sentences, or even passages. Students also forget that writing is communication so that makes clarity a virtue.
Or in other words how to go from being a good writer to being an excellent writer. The writing strategies taught at the elementary level are intended to make sure the student understands how to spell everyday words, construct simple sentences, and build the basic paragraph (using something like the “Paragraph Sandwich” which I will touch upon a little later). The strategies taught at the middle school level are a little more complicated with the teaching on an expanded vocabulary, more complex sentence structure, stricter grammar rules, as well introductions to the concepts of peer-editing and style. But if a student wishes to reach the next stage of higher-level composition there are some more ideas they should take into consideration.
The ability to know one’s audience and to be able to clearly communicate what you would like to say to that audience is a very valuable skill. Barrack Obama, or at least the presidential speech writer, has proven time and time again that he has mastered this skill. Knowing your audience enables you to select or reject details for that specific audience. In addition, different audiences expect different types or formats for texts. Scientists reading Environmental Impact Statements don't want to read rhyming poetry admiring nature. Mothers of children in pre-school don't want to read a laboratory report about the events of the past school week. Knowing the knowledge level of your audience will also help you determine how to write, how much information to include, how long to make your text, how subjective or objective you should be, and how formal or informal your text should be. To be sure that you communicate clearly in yourwriting, you need to adjust your message--how to say what you want to say and what information to include--by recognizing that different readers can best understand different messages.
Knowing what a truly well-written paper is composed off is an completely necessary skill when it comes to being a great writer. Somewhere along the line, whether it be in ones academic or work-related career, every person needs to write some sort of essay, dissertation, thesis, proposal etc. And I show the “paragraph sandwich” because this is what came to a lot of the middle school student’s heads when I asked them what a good essay consisted of. Arguably the most important component of a well written paper is responsiveness = A paper needs to respond appropriately to whatever the assignment is. Ask yourself: Is my response to the topic insightful and original? Is the intelligent information that I have discovered while working with these texts clearly visible?Another very important component of the writing process is development = the ideas presented in any paper ought to be well-developed with significant and persuasive evidence. Ask yourself: Have I established my argument fully in my introduction? Is that first paragraph a solid basis for the ideas I present in the rest of the paper?
Withoutthe proper grammar and mechanics any piece of writing can appear uninformed or dull. Any audience may pay you less attention and give your argument less respect if your paper is riddled with improper grammar, misspelled words, awkward tenses, incorrect punctuation etc. etc. Grammar is the science of language. As every field of study depends on its own rules to evolve, language has its own rules that are known as ”grammar”. With the explosion of text messaging and social networking sites grammar has lost some of it’s importance in day to day communication. But with any writing submission that will be considered in a education or professional setting, proper grammar is vitally important.
But probablythe most important characteristic of an outstanding writer is their great appreciation for reading. Every great writer who has ever lived has loved reading. By reading good writing, no matter if it’s a news article, a novel, or even reference material, your own writing is sure to improve. But in order for reading to truly help improve someone's writingtheyneed to realize that reading is more than justseeing the words on the page. It's full comprehension—getting a sense of the words, thinking about the writer's motivation and intention.”
But I was not only helping my students learn these writing techniques for their academic future, they are now currently applying the strategies we’ve discussed to the PSSA. 8th graders all over Pennsylvania began testing in mid April and they will continue testing into the month of May. By assigning practice PSSA prompts I have been able to examine these student’s writing as if I were grading actual tests in Harrisburg. I was not only trying to help the students develop improved writing habits but also prepare them for a very important test which not only affects them, but the entire school district.
Although not every student and educator is a fan, tests such as the PSSA have enough ramifications for schools to take them pretty seriously. Although the PSSA Writing Exam might conflict with a teachers individual lesson plans or a districts specified curriculum students need to know how to satisfy the state requirement. The teachers who have been shipped off to Harrisburg to grade these assessments have been instructed to score them on a very specific scale.
The PSSA Writing Rubric is based off of a 1 – 4 scale with 4 being the highest possible score and 4 being the lowest. In order to receive a 4 one must have…As oppose to a 1 which hardly requires…
The PA Department of Education has a very specific set of guidelines by which it assesses school achievement. Although the value of state-mandated standards is debatable public schools have to accept the fact that these scores are a reflection of school quality. Studies have shown that large scale writing assessments can provide an accurate measure of student writing. However, very few studies have been done that examine the influence that these assessments have had on instruction. State mandated writing has been challenged in court several times often times by several different school districts united in their efforts. Educators feel limited with what kind of writing strategies they can teach in the classroom for fear of interfering with the writing strategies desired by the state. Higher scores means more funding and the school district would not approve of any teacher getting between them and more funding.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a major reason why there has been an increase in the amount and importance of state-wide standards. The goal of No Child Left Behind is to create an education reform designed to improve student achievement and change the culture of America's schools. The Act requires states to develop their own assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding. If it were not the No Child left behind act their would be no Pennsylvania System of School Assessment.
For my application I decided to create an instructional Ning that showcased writing from Mr. Power’s 8th Grade English Class that I helped revise. At first I planned to construct a fully functioning Ning network similar to the one that Ms. Rieger uses in our English class. But once I had sat in on a few of Mr. Powers classes I realized that the Middle School’s technology had not yet caught up to ours here in the High School. There was no way that these students would be able to consistently log into a Ning and check what was happening with their assignments. So I decided to assume the role of a theme reader who brought different ideas and suggestions to the table when reviewing and revising their assignments. I posted every submission onto “Mr. Power’s Class Ning” but every conference happened face to face during my bi-weekly trips to the middle school.
Before I began visiting Mr. Powers class I asked him a few preliminary questions:Do your students type the majority of their writing assignments?Is there a way I can get electric copies of these assignments so that I submit them to a Ning?After Mr. Powers told me that the answer to both those questions was yes, I proceeded to start assigning and reviewing essays
This activity was the first writing exercise I took a look at. The students had just began preparing for their PSSA testing and they were not 100% sure how they should tackle a PSSA practice prompt. Mr. Powers and I made sure we reviewed the PSSA Writing Rubric extensively with the students and made it perfectly clear what the state expected of them. I repeatedly questioned the students as to what the question was asking until I was sure they could thoroughly comprehend and then address the prompt. After receiving the student’s papers I reviewed each response checking to make sure each student utilized thorough control of sentence formation, had few errors (none of which interfered with the meaning of the response), and thoughtfully answered the question. One of my students, Mike O., wrote a very focused and relevant response to this prompt.
I asked my students to participate in a peer review activity using the next small writing assignment given to them by Mr. Powers. I personally reviewed the students’ previous prompts and held individual conferences with the majority of them. I touched upon the fact that although it is vital that they re-read any work that they plan on submitting it is often important to have a second pair of eyes take a look. A students peer’s might have been paying attention when they were not and might be able to suggest something that they would never think of. Over the past couple weeks I have been that second set of eyes pointing out the student’s imperfections as well as applauding them for what they do correctly. I hope that by showing them how valuable a resource a peer editor can be they will choose to take advantage of the opportunity later in their writing careers. The most impressive essay I came across was written by a student name Brittany with help from her friend Alyssa.
Differentiated Instructionis the process of matching instruction to meet the diverse needs of learners in a given classroom.The first step in creating a differentiated learning lesson is determining the ability level of your students. There is a vast array of pre-test options that can be used to find out what knowledge your students have. But as this was an secondary writing task assigned for no grade I decided that a simple K-W-L chart would suffice. The students had just finished their Holocaust Unit (which includes the eighth grades largest project) and I wanted to examine the scope of knowledge the class had. Mr. Powers 5th Mod English class has a wide spectrum of abilities ranging from sub-par to talented so differentiated instruction is ideal for these students. By comparing Sarah and Brandon’s responses you can get an idea of the differing levels of knowledge within one classroom.
IN a sentence or two, The first site deals with punctuation and sentence structure The Second is a list of “Common Errors in English Usage”
Writing is an essential skill that everyone will need at some point in their lives. Writing can communicate descriptions, information, evaluations, persuade readers, and present solutions to problems. Writing fosters your ability to explain a complex position to readers, and to yourself. Writing out your ideas alsoallowsyou to evaluate the competence of your argument. Being able to express your thoughts and ideas successfully through writing is an invaluable skill not only in the classroom but more importantly the workplace. Providing these young students with the tools needed to further develop their writing will no doubt benefit them in their futures.
John Panaccio Ms. Rieger Period 3 05/06/2010
Thesis Statement The information regarding grammar, style, organization, and other writing skills I collect during my research will be incorporated into a workshop created to improve the overall writing of Mr. Power’s eighth grade English class.
Elementary Rules of Usage I Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s Do not break sentences in two Use the proper case of Pronoun Do not join independent clauses with a comma Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. For example, Lewis’s car Ryan’s sweater Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Use the proper case of pronoun The personal pronouns, as well as the pronoun who, change forms as they function as subject or object. Who calls? Give this cookie to whoever looks hungry. Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Do not break sentences in two In other words do not use periods as commas. He was an amazing player. A man who had played soccer all over the world. Do not break sentences in two In other words do not use periods as commas. He was an amazing player. A man who had played soccer all over the world. He was an amazing player, a man who had played soccer all over the world. Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Do not join independent clauses with a comma If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semi-colon. (Shrunk & White pg.5) Ms. Rieger’s stories are funny, they are full of humorous details. Ms. Rieger’s stories are funny; they are full of humorous details. Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Adams, Elizabeth Kemper. “Some Fundamentals in the Teaching of Written Composition.” The Elementary School Teacher. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1904. 391-406. JSTOR. Web. 30 Nov. 2009. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/993023>.
Principles of Composition II Choose a suitable design and hold to it Use the active voice Use definite specific, concrete, language Express coordinate ideas in similar form Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Choose a suitable design and hold to it Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Use the active voice My first concert will always be remembered by me. I shall always remember my first concert. Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Use definite, specific, concrete language Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, and the concrete to the abstract. (Shrunk and White pg.21) Ohmann, Richard. "Use Definite, Specific, Concrete Language." College English 41.4 (1979): 390-97. JSTOR. National Council of Teachers of English. Web. 2 Mar. 2010.
Express coordinate ideas in similar form Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Unclear focus and relevance Insufficient proofreading and revision Poor attitude towards writing Lack of style III Common Problems a Young Writer Might Face
Unclear focus and relevance Freedman, Sarah Warshauer. “Student Characteristics and Essay Test Writing Performance.” Research in the Teaching of English 17.4 (1983): 313-325. JSTOR. Web. 1 Dec. 2009.
Insufficient proofreading and revision Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Poor attitude towards writing Gau, Elisabeth, Jennifer Hermanson, Michele Logar, and Christine Smerek. "Improving Student Attitudes and Writing Abilities through Increased Writing Time and Opportunities." Diss. Saint Xavier University, 2003. Education Resource Information Center. Web.
Lack of style Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Write to Your Audience Strange, Rebecca L. An Investigation of the Ability of Sixth Grade Students to Write According to Sense of Audience. Diss. Indiana University, 1986. Print.
Components of a Well Written Paper Adams, Elizabeth Kemper. “Some Fundamentals in the Teaching of Written Composition.” The Elementary School Teacher. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1904. 391-406. JSTOR. Web. 30 Nov. 2009. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/993023>.
Proper Grammar And Mechanics Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.
Read Hauser, Jane, and The Acess Center. “Differentiated Instruction.” The Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All Students K-8. Dept. of Education, 22 Feb. 2007. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. <http://www.k8accesscenter.org/training_resources/writingdifferentation.asp>.
Pennsylvania. Dept. of Education. The Impact of State Mandated, Large-Scale Writing Assessment Policies in Pennsylvania. By Dale R Lumley and Wenfan Yan. Seattle: American Educational Research Association, 2001. Education Resources Information Center. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. <http://www.eric.ed.gov>.
PSSA Writing Rubric Data Recognition Corporation. Technical Report for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. [ Harrisburg ]: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, February 2009. Pennsylvania Department of Education. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. <http://www.statelibrary.state.pa.us>.
Data Recognition Corporation. Technical Report for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. [ Harrisburg ]: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, February 2009. Pennsylvania Department of Education. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. <http://www.statelibrary.state.pa.us>.
The Impact of State Mandated Testing on Writing Pennsylvania. Dept. of Education. The Impact of State Mandated, Large-Scale Writing Assessment Policies in Pennsylvania. By Dale R Lumley and Wenfan Yan. Seattle: American Educational Research Association, 2001. Education Resources Information Center. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. <http://www.eric.ed.gov>.
Dworkin, A. Gary. “The No Child Left Behind Act: Accountability, High-Stakes Testing, and Roles for Sociologists.” Sociology of Education 78.2 (2005): 170-174 . JSTOR. Web. 1 Dec. 2009.
“To supplement the English/writing curriculum of Mr. Powers 8th grade English class with the research I conducted regarding various writing topics and techniques”
Class List Alex Alyssa Brandon Brian Briana Brittany Janice Mike O. Mike M. Sarah Taleeyk Tori Zach
Breakdown of the Ning 1.) Students completed assignments given to them by either me or Mr. Powers. 2.) Students submit their final word document, with only their first name included, to me so that I can review and ultimately upload their writing to “Mr. Power’s 8th Grade Class” Ning 3.) After revising each individual submission I print out the essays I feel I can improve with my feedback and personally conference with those student’s when I visited the Middle School.
Assignment #1 – Practice PSSA Prompt “Many people like to borrow clothes, shoes, iPods, and other items. However, if borrowed items get lost or damaged, people can end up having arguments. Write an essay explaining how to resolve this problem”
Assignment #2 – Peer Review Activity “Everyone has an activity that they enjoy doing. It might be playing an instrument, or a sport. Think about what you like to do the most. Write an expository piece telling what you most enjoy doing and at least three reasons why you like this activity. Remember to use specific details to support and explain your reasons. Use interesting adjectives and descriptions to make your paper interesting to read.”
Assignment #3 – Differentiated Instruction “How did the Holocaust affect the Jewish people? ” “What made it so easy for Hitler to rise to power in pre-WWII Germany?” “Do you believe that the verdicts reached in the Nuremberg trials provided appropriate punishment for Nazis? ” “After completing the K-W-L chart, using your knowledge of the Holocaust, please choose the question you feel as though you can answer most completely. Be sure to incorporate plenty of supporting details and thoughtful insight into your response.” 1-2 paragraphs.
Class Activity Describe the person next to you, making sure to include some sort of error (grammatical, usage, spelling, etc.) that needs to be corrected. Exchange papers and try to revise the mistake http://www.towson.edu/ows/sentencestruct.htm http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/
Works Cited Adams, Elizabeth Kemper. “Some Fundamentals in the Teaching of Written Composition.” The Elementary School Teacher. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1904. 391-406. JSTOR. Web. 30 Nov. 2009. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/993023>. Data Recognition Corporation. Technical Report for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. [ Harrisburg ]: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, February 2009. Pennsylvania Department of Education. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. <http://www.statelibrary.state.pa.us>. Dworkin, A. Gary. “The No Child Left Behind Act: Accountability, High-Stakes Testing, and Roles for Sociologists.” Sociology of Education 78.2 (2005): 170-174 . JSTOR. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. Freedman, Sarah Warshauer. “Student Characteristics and Essay Test Writing Performance.” Research in the Teaching of English 17.4 (1983): 313-325. JSTOR. Web. 1 Dec. 2009.
Works Cited/ Works Consulted Gau, Elisabeth, Jennifer Hermanson, Michele Logar, and Christine Smerek. "Improving Student Attitudes and Writing Abilities through Increased Writing Time and Opportunities." Diss. Saint Xavier University, 2003. Education Resource Information Center. Web. Hauser, Jane, and The Acess Center. “Differentiated Instruction.” The Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All Students K-8. Dept. of Education, 22 Feb. 2007. Web. 2 Dec. 2009. <http://www.k8accesscenter.org/training_resources/writingdifferentation.asp>. Pennsylvania. Dept. of Education. The Impact of State Mandated, Large-Scale Writing Assessment Policies in Pennsylvania. By Dale R Lumley and Wenfan Yan. Seattle: American Educational Research Association, 2001. Education Resources Information Center. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. <http://www.eric.ed.gov>. Strange, Rebecca L. An Investigation of the Ability of Sixth Grade Students to Write According to Sense of Audience. Diss. Indiana University, 1986. Print. Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. Ed. Edward A Tenney. 4th ed. 1919. New York: Pearson Education Company, 1959. Print.