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In the beginning of my teaching career, I had a lot of ambition. I always dreamed about being an excellent writing teacher. However, to tell the truth, teaching writing had not been fun until I discovered these 3 simple secrets of becoming a successful one. Today, I can sincerely say that I love my job thanks to these three secrets.
Secret #1: Mentor Texts
A good writer is, first of all, a good reader. That’s why even before they begin to write, I like giving my students mentor texts as a nice example of writing. I always collect memorable masterpieces and give them out for next class during the first days of their studying. Then we read different books, ask and answer questions about them. Finally, we end up with conclusions and a huge list of critical characteristics concerning the book. It provides a strong basis for students’ own writing in future.
Sometimes, I write my own mentor texts. For this reason, I go through the unit myself at first and then, write a sample with everything I want my students to have in their own texts. Also, I include my pieces into their writing packets so that they can easily compare texts as they are writing.
Secret #2 – Plan
When students have a solid topic and a blueprint, writing becomes much easier and enjoyable. That’s why, before my students start writing a draft, I like to give them an possibility to develop a strong topic by using different brainstorm techniques. To involve them into a learning process, I ask them to:
Meet with each other and discuss potential topics
Play scenes from their past
Develop mini-research projects
Interview their family members
Write down their significant life events
Only after my students have a reasonable topic, I ask them to PLAN more. They need to plan a chronological order of all events, plot and main theme. After that, we spend a whole class to gather and collect more details about their topic ideas.
Recently I’ve discovered that planning is an extremely efficient tool for becoming an excellent writer. When students have a strong topic, a solid plan and a list of ideas, rough drafts quickly come out of their heads. No more, “I don’t know what to write.” Now, it’s a lot of “This is so fun!”
Secret #3 – Mini-Lessons
Another secret of becoming a significant writer teacher is providing mini-lessons. It’s an exercise during the revising stage of writing where students are taught particular writing skills. Anything from transitions to a word choice. Afterwards, they practice with their own writings by using recently acquired knowledge. Not all students like to revise and rewrite their own texts because they think they are perfect, but it literally takes their writings to a whole new level.
Here we go, these are three key secrets of becoming a fantastic writing teacher. Two more essential things are to make writing fun and set students up for success. Also, they have to understand the genre, in which they’re writing. Be helpful and guide them through the process and you will be amazed with the result.