Informal Writing


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Presentation for 2007 JALT CUE Conference in Nagoya

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Dear Mary,

    It's a very nice slide show. I find it very helpful for students and teachers to learn about Informal Writing. I wish I was at your presentation at the conference.


    Nina<br /><br/>
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  • Hi Illya,
    Thank you! This was a teaching demonstration presentation given at a conference for college and university educators. I'm glad that you enjoyed it!
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  • Hi Mary
    I like the slideshow. It's clear and I also think the tasks you've integrated are useful ones. The examples are clear and yet short enough to be able to follow this way.
    This looks like a teacher training presentation rather than one for the students themselves. Am I correct? Will you also be doing one on formal letters?
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  • Informal Writing

    1. 1. Informal Writing for Critical Thinking Mary E. Hillis Kansai Gaidai University
    2. 2. “ Writing is both a process of doing critical thinking and a product communicating the results of critical thinking.” Bean (2001)
    3. 3. What is informal writing? <ul><li>Write for 1 minute </li></ul>
    4. 4. Exchange papers <ul><li>Read and respond to your partners writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you agree, disagree, or have something to add? </li></ul>
    5. 5. Characteristics of Informal Writing <ul><li>Used to develop critical thinking skills </li></ul><ul><li>Used to actively involve students with the material and to personalize the learning process </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated into the lesson and linked to other informal or formal assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Ungraded, or minimally marked writing </li></ul>
    6. 6. Why use Informal Writing Assignments? <ul><li>Develop critical thinking skills </li></ul><ul><li>Involve students in the lesson </li></ul><ul><li>Offer students more opportunities to use and improve their language skills </li></ul><ul><li>Give students freedom to explore thoughts, ideas, and reactions to course material </li></ul>
    7. 7. Assignment Types <ul><li>Journals </li></ul><ul><li>Summary and Response </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Letters </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogues </li></ul>
    8. 8. Journals <ul><li>Students find and develop personal connections to course </li></ul><ul><li>Students can explore ideas that may not emerge in class discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Use of journals can be time consuming </li></ul>
    9. 9. Summary and Response <ul><li>Students select main points and identify overall themes </li></ul><ul><li>Students write about their ideas and reaction to course material </li></ul><ul><li>Use to encourage critical thinking, deepen understanding of course material, and “prime the pump” for further course work </li></ul>
    10. 10. Questions <ul><li>Students write their own discussion questions </li></ul><ul><li>Students write sample quiz questions </li></ul><ul><li>Students write questions for further research or to ask an expert </li></ul><ul><li>Use to encourage critical thinking and inquiry </li></ul>
    11. 11. Letters <ul><li>Students write letters to the author </li></ul><ul><li>Students write letters to an expert </li></ul><ul><li>Use to give students the chance to “try on” the language of the author or subject </li></ul>
    12. 12. Dialogues <ul><li>Students explore issues from different points of view </li></ul><ul><li>Students can use a variety of communication styles </li></ul><ul><li>Use to develop critical and creative thinking skills </li></ul>
    13. 13. Other informal writing assignments <ul><li>Freewrites </li></ul><ul><li>Connections </li></ul><ul><li>Quick writes </li></ul><ul><li>Frame sentences or paragraphs </li></ul>
    14. 14. Discussion <ul><li>What informal writing assignment(s) would you design for “Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners”? </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Anderson, N. (2007). Active Skills for Reading, Book 1. (2nd ed.) Boston: Thomson. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Lessons using Informal Writing Assignments and Student Examples
    16. 16. The Little Prince Book by St.-Exupery A Literature-based lesson
    17. 17. Students read assigned pages Students prepare summaries Students write discussion questions
    18. 18. Summary … The seventh planet is the Earth. At first, the Little Prince thought the Earth is peculiar. He met a fox and he started to think about his rose. The Fox made the Little Prince aware of his important things. He said, “Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”… (by Mina IES-F)
    19. 19. Discussion Questions Written by Students <ul><li>Questions about The Little Prince: </li></ul><ul><li>The Fox said, “Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” What does he mean? Do you agree with him? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your essential thing? </li></ul>
    20. 20. The Environment A News-based lesson
    21. 21. Students read a newspaper article Students do a quick write Students discuss Students write response to group discussion
    22. 22. Quick Write <ul><li>Agree: Many developed countries have failed to prevent environmental degradation. </li></ul><ul><li>Disagree: Richer countries have to take charge of saving the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>My Idea: This problem can’t be solved with money, but with people’s minds. Money will only work to a certain degree. </li></ul><ul><li>(by Masaru ESL 1) </li></ul>
    23. 23. Responses to Small Group Discussion We talked about what we can do for the environment. We can reduce using electricity. Japan is wasting trees for making waribashi, I think. Governments have to take steps. The Japanese government is leading the Kyoto Protocol and their idea is being taken. I’m proud of that. (by Eri ESL1)
    24. 24. School Violence A Listening-based lesson Adapted from Face the Issues
    25. 25. Students listen to part 1 of an interview about school violence Students prepare a dialogue between a teacher and student Students listen to part 2 of the interview Students complete a role play activity Students write a letter based on the role play
    26. 26. <ul><li>Teacher: OK, we’re going to have body checks from now. </li></ul><ul><li>Student: Why? We don’t want to do that. It is an invasion of privacy. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher: But it is good for us to check for weapons. You don’t have anything to be afraid of if you are good students </li></ul><ul><li>Student: Do you suspect us?! We ARE good students! So, we’ll write down our promise on paper. We promise we won’t bring any weapons to school! </li></ul><ul><li>(by Tomoyo, Saya, and Miho IES-F) </li></ul>Student Dialogue
    27. 27. Dear School Board: <ul><li>We want to practice two activities to reduce the crime problem. </li></ul><ul><li>First, we want to have more security measures at school. We can easily find if students have weapons by getting security measures. Please hire more guards and police officers. We know it costs money, so you can hire them only in the morning and after school. </li></ul>
    28. 28. Second, we want to have after school sports activities. What about having “Midnight Basket-ball? It avoids students to spend the entire night on the streets. It’s also good opportunity for the entire community to know each other. We can protect ourselves by ourselves! Then, it is also cheap and good for health, especially over-weight people. Thank you. Sincerely, Teacher, Student, Parent, and Community Member (by Ayaka, Saya, Miho, Syujiro, and Minami IES-F)
    29. 29. Discussion <ul><li>How would you integrate your informal writing assignment(s) for “Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners” into a lesson plan? </li></ul>
    30. 30. Adaptations using Technology
    31. 31. Responding to Literature <ul><li>Based on their reading, students predict what will happen next. </li></ul>From CTJ Online by Carla Arena
    32. 32. Questions for an Expert <ul><li>After completing a series of activities about book covers, students wrote questions for a graphic designer </li></ul>From Get Hip to Learning English IES by Mary Hillis
    33. 33. Conclusion <ul><li>Reasons to use informal writing </li></ul><ul><li>Informal writing assignment types </li></ul><ul><li>Integrating informal writing into lessons </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptations </li></ul>
    34. 34. Thank you for your participation! <ul><li>Informal Writing for Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Presented by </li></ul><ul><li>Mary E. Hillis </li></ul><ul><li>Kansai Gaidai University </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>Class Blog:
    35. 35. References <ul><li>Arena, C. (2006) CTJ Online . Retreived June 10, 2007 from </li></ul><ul><li>Bean, J. C. (2001) Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. </li></ul><ul><li>Hillis, M. (2007) Get Hip to Learning English . Retreived June 10, 2007 from </li></ul>
    36. 36. Lesson Materials Anderson, N. (2007). Active Skills for Reading, Book 1. (2 nd ed.) Boston: Thomson. De Saint-Exupery, A. (1971) The Little Prince (R. Howard, Trans.) San Diego: Harvest. (Original work published 1943). “ Developing countries say rich countries must take responsibility for climate change.” (2007). International Herald Tribune . Retreived June 10, 2007 from -GEN-UN-Climate-Change.php Numrich, C. (1997). Face the Issues: Intermediate Listening and Critical Thinking Skills . (2 nd ed.) White Plains: Longman.