Welcome to our discussion with Susan Pittman about writing effective claims for high school equivalency argument essays! Since the high school equivalency landscape drastically changed back in 2014, teaching argument writing has been an ongoing challenge for adult educators. We are thrilled to have Susan with us today who has done professional development on this topic for many years. Please feel free to ask Susan any questions you have about this important topic.
By way of introduction, Susan Pittman is an experienced adult educator and nationally recognized trainer. She specializes in providing professional development for teachers who work with Adult Basic Education and Adult Secondary level students. Susan is the CEO of E-Learning Connections, Inc, an educational consulting firm that she started in 2001. In addition to professional development, she develops materials for the classroom, including lesson plans, curriculum frameworks, and resources guides. Susan works with programs at the local, state, and national level to address the instructional needs of both adult basic and adult secondary teachers. Susan has a passion for working with adult learners and is committed to providing local programs and educators with the resources that support student success. Susan lives and works in Brevard, NC.
Susan, many thanks for being here and sharing your expertise with us! I will start the discussion with these two questions:
- Why is the claim so important in argument writing?
- Please explain how we can help students write an effective claim.
Thanks again so much for your help!
Moderator, LINCS Reading and Writing CoP
Why is the claim so important in argument writing?
Steve, thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of this discussion on argumentative writing.
I am so glad that you focused on the claim and its importance in writing an extended response. To understand the importance of the claim, we need to understand argumentative writing. For high school equivalency extended responses, students are presented with two sides of an issue. They may be asked to determine which is better supported or with which side they agree. The argument that a student puts forward must be supported by evidence from the text they have analyzed. That argument begins with a claim or thesis statement.
The claim sets the stage for the rest of the response. The claim provides the position taken as well as reasons for that position. Those reasons are based on evidence. They provide both the writer and the reader an understanding of what is to come. A well-written claim provides direction and focus for the response, thus helping students organize their writing.
A question for the discussion group members: How do you introduce the importance of writing effective claims to your students?
Please explain how we can help students write an effective claim.
Writing an effective claim is the result of the pre-writing that a student does. In July, Dr. Mary Ann Corley, in a discussion on teaching writing, addressed the importance of pre-writing within the writing process. Pre-writing is essential in any writing, but especially important in argument writing. However, students will need to do more than just generate ideas and organize thoughts. Pre-writing, in argument writing, includes understanding the prompt, reading the source text(s), analyzing the positions presented in the texts, and identifying and evaluating the evidence that supports those positions. These are all essential elements for developing an effective claim.
Developing an effective claim begins with pre-writing. The information gained from this phase enables students to develop their claims. Students need to first understand what they are supposed to do. Are they expected to form an opinion based on the texts they read? Are they supposed to determine which position is better supported by the evidence presented? Are they expected to determine their own position on an issue based on what they have read? Knowing what is expected puts students on the right track and prevents them from writing off topic. Remember, a well written response is not going to earn points, if it doesn’t respond to the prompt.
Students also need to spend time reading and analyzing source texts. Model for students how to closely read a text and to find evidence. On a high stakes test, students cannot just skim the text and identify evidence. They need to know how to closely read the text, understand the position taken by the author, and then identify the evidence that supports that position. A strong and effective claim rests on how well they can accomplish these tasks.
A question for discussion members: How do you approach pre-writing when preparing students for writing an extended response?
Thanks for sharing your considerable expertise with us on writing persuasive argument essays.
You wrote, "Students also need to spend time reading and analyzing source texts. Model for students how to closely read a text and to find evidence." Modelling writing skills for students is important. I wonder if you have thoughts about how teachers can improve their skills in modelling writing skills needed for effective argument writing. For example, are there online courses that you think would be particularly helpful to help high school equivalency (HSE) writing teachers improve these teaching skills? Are their particular videos you would recommend that HSE writing teachers might use, especially now during the pandemic when remote/online teaching may be the only choice?
There is an emerging teaching and learning approach, model or structure in adult education that you may have heard of called a learning circle. In case not, it is a blended learning model that includes an online course or other organized set of online learning resources and, as it was originally developed, a weekly in-person meeting of typically 90 minutes to two hours. Learning circles now are also offered entirely online and the in-person part is a typically offered through a videoconference platform such as Zoom. A learning circle is not a formal class but rather a non-formal, facilitated peer study group, led by a trained facilitator. I am interested in the use of online/remote learning circles for HSE test preparation. Although typically learning circles range from three to 15 weeks they can also be longer. I am wondering if you might know of an excellent online course or set of free or inexpensive video lessons led by (a) skilled teacher(s) of argument writing that might be suitable for use in an HSE preparation learning circle.
I have a question about helping students practice argument writing. My experience is that while modelling skills is important, that practice is also required to make those skills one's own. Do you have advice about how to help students overcome fear that may block their practicing or other writing obstacles such as organizing and sticking to writing practice time outside of class? Any other thoughts about how to help students practice these skills would also be of interest.
What do you recommend to teachers on providing feedback, assessment or critiques of students' argument writing? How might a teacher provide effective writing assessment? How can teachers (or learning circle facilitators) train their learners to be effective reviewers of arguments that other learners have written?
I realize that these questions cover a lot of ground, so feel free to answer each in separate replies if you wish.
David J. Rosen
Thank you so much for your question on modeling writing for students. Many students do not have an understanding of what good writing looks like or how to create it. They may have instructions that outline what to do or not do, but they do not understand the thinking behind the writing process. They often see teachers write and feel that it is just "magic." Teachers may share examples of effective writing, but that does not really help students know how to replicate it. Students need to hear what the writer is thinking and how those thoughts become an essay or extended response.
We often use the think aloud strategy when teaching students how to solve a math problem or to determine the main idea of a reading passage. That strategy is easily adapted to a write aloud strategy. In this strategy, teachers demonstrate how to write a paragraph or passage and verbalize what they are thinking as they write. Students need to see the thinking process. The following is just a brief introduction to the process.
- The demonstration may start with questions such as: "How should I put this introduction together?" Can I just write the claim, or do I need to include more information? If I state my position, is that enough? What should I include in my claim?
- After I write the claim, I may ask questions such as: "Did I include everything that was needed?" Did I include the reason for my claim?" "Did I include a subject and verb in my sentence, or did I write a sentence fragment."
- At that point, I can take a look at the entire introduction and ask questions such as: "Would a reader understand what I am trying to say?" "Did I use parallel structure?" "Did I use correct punctuation?"
One thing to keep in mind is that modeling writing for students takes time and patience. However, the payoff is worth the effort.
There are a number of videos available at the elementary level. However, I have not yet located any that would be appropriate for adult learners. The content is usually very simplistic as expected at that level and does not address the complex nature at the HSE level.
It would be great to hear from other teachers. Have you found any videos or resources that would be appropriate for adult learners.
Ray Bradbury said, "If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice." This is so important for adult learners. The problem as you stated is in getting students to remain motivated and practice outside of the classroom. We are in a unique position at this moment in adult education. Many of our students are parents of school-aged children. One way to increase practice at home would be to have parents model what they have learned in class (online or face-to-face) with their own children.
Another way to increase writing outside the classroom is to provide students with practice activities that are relevant to their everyday lives. Set up a scenario where students have to model how they would write an email to a supervisor urging a change in policy in the workplace. Students would need to develop a claim and provide evidence to back up that claim. Try another scenario where they have to convince a friend or relative to take a stance on a specific issue. One such situation that students could address in this scenario would be whether or not social media should be regulated.
The key to maintaining motivation is to have students write about things that are relevant in their lives, not just some abstract topic of no concern to them.
I would really like to hear from discussion members their ideas on possible scenarios to use for at-home writing practice.
Hi Susan! Thanks for this important discussion topic and your expertise! I have relied on your knowledge and tools many times in the past, including the use of the Do/What approach for breaking down a writing prompt. I find that in the planning stage, helping students clearly understand their task is vital. The Do/What approach leads students to ask, "What is the prompt telling me to do?" and they identify that they are to analyze, or summarize, or describe...and then they ask, "What am I going to analyze/summarize/describe?" This simple concept has helped my students a lot.
I also find think alouds and modeling very useful, and I often model the argumentative claim/support concept using movies, instead of texts at first. We settle on 2 movies we've all seen (Disney movies work well) and then we make a 'claim' that one movie is better than the other. Each statement from students saying why that movie is better must be backed up with 'support' about character, plot, theme, etc. While the class holds this lively discussion, I take notes on the board. When we're done, I refer them to the notes and explain that we just had a 'verbal argument' - we can then organize those notes into a quick outline and there's the model for our writing!
Thank you so much for your response and your use of the Do/What approach to understanding prompts. Sometimes, it is the simple thing that makes such a difference. I am so glad that approach has been useful in your classroom. For those of you not familiar with Do/What, it is very simple. As the teacher, you ask students to identify and underline each of the verbs in the prompt. Then you ask students to tell you the first verb and what action is required. Continue the process until you have covered all of the verbs. With a little practice, students quickly learn to watch for the verbs and pay close attention to what those verbs are telling them to do. This activity helps students pay attention to the details of a prompt and builds the habit of analyzing the prompt before moving forward on an extended response.
Anita, what a great idea to start think alouds and modeling to build a claim by using movies before moving to texts. That hits on all levels for engaging students in the process. Some many times, students think of the entire argument writing process as something that is alien to them and their lives. When you put that process into watching a movie and gathering evidence, it becomes something real. I believe deeply in the importance of using activities to which students can relate.
I am definitely going to use your process in the future. Thank you so much for sharing.
Susan, you have provided some excellent thoughts here, thanks so much!
I recently saw someone who suggested using Google Reviews to teach argument writing. When we leave a review, we say, 'This restaurant is fantastic because . . . and then give several reasons why. We may also say, 'The world's largest ball of twine attraction was terrible because . . . and then give several reasons why we feel this way. This helps students see that an effective claim makes a definite statement and gives reasons why the author thinks the way they do.
To keep our discussion going, I have a few more questions:
You have compared the claim to a road map or GPS. Would you please explain what you mean by this?
Why is it so important that students have a process while writing their argument essay? Please explain what process students should be using.
We appreciate all your help Susan!
Moderator, LINCS Reading and Writing CoP
Yes, I do believe that a well-written claim is a road map. Look at the following claims. Which of these claims provides you with an idea about what the student will be writing in his/her response?
- The argument presented by Dr. Francis is much stronger than that of Mr. Sanford because it is supported by the research and logical reasoning.
- Mr. Sanford has convinced me that he has best position on the issue of regulating social media.
The first response includes the position taken and the reasons for that position. The reader has provided a road map as to what can be expected within the response. The writer through the claim guides the reader through the argument. The reader can expect to see references to the research cited within Dr. Francis’ position. The reader can also expect to see evidence that allows the reader to draw a conclusion or make sense of facts or examples. The combination of a position and reasons for that position provides the student a focal point and the beginning of the organizational structure of the response.
The second claim leaves the reader asking “why” Mr. Sanford has the best position. The student states a position, but there is no reason given for that position. The reader has no clear road map and will just have to read the response to see if a reason can be found. The lack of a reason for taking a position often leads to the writer floundering as well, moving from one disjointed point to another. Ultimately that lack of a road map leads to a lack of organization within the response.
Over the past few years, teachers have forwarded sample extended responses to me and asked for my feedback. Invariably, the students who write effective claims go on to write effective extended responses. They develop a road map and follow it.
A question for group discussion members: What is the greatest difficulty you encounter when helping students learn how to write claims or thesis statements?
Adult learners need consistency and structure when writing. The prompts and texts that students encounter on extended responses vary from test to test, so they need something on which they can depend. Having a process and consistently using that process builds confidence. Students have enough to stress over when they take a high stakes test. Having a process lessens that stress and allows them to focus on the task at hand.
When writing an extended response, students should:
- Familiarize themselves with the prompt. Read it carefully and determine exactly what is being asked of them.
- Read the source text(s). Highlight the evidence within the text.
- Evaluate the evidence, decide the position that will be taken, and reason(s) for that position.
- Develop the claim.
- Determine the specific evidence that will be used to support that claim.
- Write the introduction. Include the claim within the introduction.
- Use the next two or three paragraphs to explain how the evidence supports the claim.
- Write the conclusion.
- Go back and read the response.
- Make necessary revisions and edits.
It looks like a lot for students to remember, and it is. However, Rome wasn't built in a day. Scaffold the process over a period of time. Make sure that students are comfortable with each step before trying to add another. Explain to students that practicing this process will increase their comfort level and build confidence. When they have to produce an extended response for a high school equivalency test, they will be able to do so because they have the skills they have honed over time.
Thank you for the suggestion to use Google Reviews to teach argument writing. A good or bad review makes a claim and provides evidence that supports that claim. This would serve as a great "hook" to get students started in the writing process. Students can relate to restaurant reviews. They may not always read them, but they discuss whether or not a restaurant is good with their friends. However, students don't always see a restaurant review is an example of argument writing.
For discussion group members, this is one suggestion that needs to be added to your writing resources.
Hello Susan and colleagues, Thank you for this valuable discussion. I love your idea of discussing movies as a class, Anita. I think comparing restaurant reviews could also work well to introduce the concept of argument writing.
I've drawn from the pro/con website, which I'm sure many members are familiar with, for argument writing topics. I agree that choosing topics that are relevant to learners is essential. The pro/con site offers a wide range of topics from the value of assigning children homework to prescription drug ads to student loan debt, and many more.
One issue I've been struggling with is related to providing support to English learners who are writing for an HSE. One thing that I have found to be helpful is to provide paragraph frames, so students can learn the language that is typically used when writing arguments.
Of course, one of the major challenges for English learners is the limited amount of time allowed to fully comprehend and analyze the texts before they even start to write. In my view, it would be fairer if test guidelines would allow more time for English learners as an approved accommodation. I have observed that timing is a real barrier for many English learners.
I'm grateful for the ideas that have been shared here!
Take care, Susan Finn Miller
Moderator, English Language Acquisition and Teaching & Learning CoPs
Susan, thank you so much for reminding us of the pro/con website. You are absolutely correct. It is a great site that provides relevant topics for our adult learners.
Paragraph frames are great for English learners and work very well for ABE students who are just beginning to develop their writing skills. I have used claim frames as well. Claim frames allow students to fill-in-the-blanks as they begin learning how to write effective claims. Here are just a few claim frames that I have used with students.
- Looking at the arguments regarding ____________, it is clear that _________________________________ has provided the better argument because_________________________________.
- When comparing the two positions in this article, ____________ provides the clearest evidence that ___________________________ because ________________________.
- Although _____________________ (believes, demonstrates, argues) that ____________________________________, _________________ supports/provides the clearest evidence _________________________ because ________________.
For those of you who have not used writing frames, this is a great recommedation from Susan.
Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts on helping students develop and express good arguments in a coherent fashion.
I so often hear that our students often don't write well not because they can't but because they are not familiar with the topics they are given. Of course, among our adult populations, students tend to be all too familiar with arguing: yelling and fighting to get your way! :) Same term, different experiences.
Maybe we could change the name for the type of writing to something like Views Discovery, or Defending an Opinion, or Telescoping, or something less threatening.
I wonder if in reading about different opinions, student might benefit from developing Venn Diagrams to show how views are similar and different in some cases.
More and more, I also find that students benefit from reading easy/simple models that weigh opinions in different ways, especially if those models relate to issues that are commonly discussed in their lives. We are living in prime times for having students not only state views but support them, which they so often fail to do.
Could we add humor to that preparation? Cartoons are filled with opinions, and the Web is full of sites that we can use to create comics and cartoons. Political cartoons are wonderful in that regard, and our students often struggle to understand them.
I recently saw a cute map illustration to help students visualize the Inquiry Process in science. What if students could illustrate fun maps showing the argument-writing process that you described earlier today?
Thanks for getting us started! Leecy
Leecy, thank you so much for getting right down to the nitty-gritty. Yes, our students do in fact now how to "argue". They just don't know how to transition all that knowledge they already have into writing an argument. Sometimes, we do need a different name that is less threatening.
Using Venn Diagrams is a great way to start the process for identifying evidence. If two source texts are presented, then students could show all of the differences and then come back and focuson the similarities. That would be a great way to work in some practice on developing counterclaims.
I am all in for humor in the classroom. Just think of how much students could learn from two cartoons each presenting a different point of view on the same topic. The Cagle Post is a great source for political cartoons. It includes cartoons from more than sixty cartoonist. Word to the wise! Do not start browsing through The Cagle Post late in the evening. You will be up all night viewing cartoons.
Leecy, incorporating visual arts into the process would be great. Our adult learners have such creativity and being able to share their illustrations with others in the class could be such a confidence builder.
Thanks so much for the claim frames Susan! These can really help students as they begin learning a new skill. They are like training wheels for new learning.
I have two more questions please:
What are some simple techniques to help students improve their scores on the high school equivalency argumentative essay?
What are some resources you would recommend that can help us better serve our students?
This has been a great day, and we really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise!
Moderator, LINCS Reading and Writing Community
Everyone is always looking for resources the classroom especially now in the wake of more remote or blended learning. Here are just a few of my favorites - new and old!
Wide Open School is a free collection of best online experiences (k-12) developed as a collaborative effort by 25 organizations. While this is a site designed for k-12, there are so many resources that can be used in the HSE classroom. https://wideopenschool.org/programs/educator/6-12/
Screencastify is an easy screen-recording tool that can be used to create short videos for students. It is free. Create 5-minute videos that focus on a single skills, such as subject-verb agreement, writing a claim, proofreading, etc. Archive the videos in Canvas, Google Classroom or other course management software for students to easily access. This is a great way to provide information in small bites that students can come back to as needed. https://www.screencastify.com/education
Breaking News English uses the same concept as Newsela and CommonLit and adds audio at a variety of speeds for each leveled text. Fair warning: This side does have numerous ads, but the content complete with audio is great for English learners as well as ABE/HSE students. https://breakingnewsenglish.com/
Common Sense Education has numerous technology resources to build your digital classroom. It is designed for k-12, but many of the 6-12 resources can be used for adult learners. https://www.commonsense.org/education/
Last, but not least, please don't forget to use the resources provide by each of the high school equivalency test publishers. Each publisher includes explanations of requirements for extended responses. In addition, they provide sample extended responses. Use those responses so you can better understand the scoring rubrics and focus in on what your students need to learn. Each publisher also includes a practice extended response on their respective websites. Use those practice items to model the writing process. Rather than have students complete the response independently, use the practice prompt and source texts to take students through the writing process. This is something that you will want to schedule over a period of time, so students are not overwhelmed with the process. When the response is finished, provide each student with the final product to use as a resource as they grow their own writing skills.
Thank you so much for joining us today. Your replies and ideas are greatly appreciated.
Susan, thanks for sharing https://www.cagle.com/! What a great resource for students to learn a variety of skills, not the least of which is writing, on their way to academic performance! Leecy
Steve, thank you so much for these two questions. Let's dive into some techniques for improving scores on high school equivalency argumentative essays.
All of us are guilty of failing to read directions. Our students are no exception. All HSE tests provide directions and/or expectations for the extended response. Make sure your students don't skip over the directions.
Anita referenced one technique in which I am a firm believer - Do/What. If students want to improve their scores, they need to make sure that they know what they are expected to write. Arguing that they approve of a position, when they are supposed to be arguing about which position is better supported will not earn points. In essence the student is writing off-prompt. Do/What helps students focus on what the prompt is asking them to do and how they are expected to do it. Whatever the technique used, make sure that students always, always read and analyze the prompt before going any further in the writing.
Next, argument writing is not structured to be written off the cuff. Argument writing requires a students to read and anlayze the source text, identify the evidence presented, and then evaluate that evidence. Teach students that each source text presents its own argument backed by evidence. Have students draw a "t-chart" on the scrap paper or dry-erase board. They can label the top of the t-chart with pro or con, article 1 or 2, whatever is appropriate based on the prompt. Have students highlight evidence as they read the source texts. Have students list the evidence they highlighted on the t-chart. Students may not realize it, but they have now successfully analyzed the text. Now, it is time to evaluate that evidence. Students can easily read the evidence and decide which was most persuasive or which side was better supported. Now, they are ready to write the claim and select the evidence they want to use in the response. The hard work is done.
HSE extended responses require that students support their claim with evidence. This does not give students license to make a list of evidence. Rather, students are expected to explain how the evidence is linked to the claim. We often talk of students "developing their ideas". The link between evidence and claim is part of the development of ideas. Have students spend time making those connections.
Teach students the difference between revisions and edits. Too many times, students skip over this part of the writing process, but it can make a big difference in the final product. If students do not understand the difference between revisions and edits, use this simple acronym to help them remember what to do when revising their responses.
- Add - include additional material to strengthen their ideas
- Remove - take out non-essential words or sentences
- Move - check to see if everything is where it should be
- Substitute - eliminate repetitions, rewrite/rephrase the text to prevent saying the same thing over and over
Hopefully these techniques, while not always simple, can go a long way to improving students' scores on HSE extended responses.
First, wonderful topic! Thank you, Susan, and all who have posted such useful suggestions and comments here today!
One of the most powerful questions I've been asked about teaching argument writing in the last couple years is "When is the last time you, the teacher, wrote an argument essay?" This was at a PD event, and I think it threw many of us in the room. The presenter added "And this means RECENTLY." This question sparked so much in me that I sat down with some PRO/CON arguments that I've given my students and wrote a couple argument essays. I didn't use any supports other than the texts and my computer screen.
Then I spent time reflecting on all of the skills I had to know and use to put together an effective short argument essay. And boy oh boy, there were so many! What was particularly useful about this exercise is that I realized there were parts of conceptualizing, organizing, writing, and revising an argument essay that I was taking for granted the students could already do. For example, I was giving students sentence frames to help them create a claim statement. What I also realized I needed to do was to give students sentence frames to incorporate evidence and connect the evidence to the claim.
In developing a writing workshop last year, a colleague and I talked a lot about this. She had been trying to teach her ESL students how to write a definition paragraph; however, she realized she needed to write one herself to fully realize all that students needed to do to create an effective definition paragraph. It was an eye opener for her just as it has been for me, and we have been giving this advice ever since.
If it has been some time since you've actually done the type of writing you're teaching to students, it's time to do it so it is fresh in your mind. Here were just some of the questions I asked myself after writing my argument essays:
- How did I locate the writer's claim in the text? How did I locate the strongest/weakest evidence the writer uses to support his/her claim? How did I determine that the evidence is strong/weak? How did I determine what kinds of evidence the writers used to support their arguments? How did I determine which argument was better supported and why?
- How did I evaluate any bias of the writer? How is the writer connected to the topic?
- How did I create a claim of which argument is stronger? How did I word that claim to refrain from using any language that could be considered "giving my opinion" only?
- How did I organize each paragraph of my essay? How did I paraphrase or quote evidence and incorporate it smoothly along with making a clear connection of how the evidence supports my claim?
- How did I create a counterargument paragraph? How did I choose evidence that I could create a counterclaim about? How did I identify faulty evidence?
- How did I keep my opinion and bias out of my essay and only focus on the writers' claims and evidence?
The outcome was that I started spending much more time digging deep into the steps of reading and constructing arguments, thinking aloud, showing lots of models, engaging students in creating and supporting claims about all types of topics (whether students developed them into argument essays or not--Should we read another text on this topic? Should we take a longer break between classes? Should we break for lunch early? Sentence stems like "One reason the argument ____ is valid/invalid is because of the evidence ____. This evidence is strong/weak because ____.). I used to think of argument writing as a "unit" I would teach during the school year. Last school year, we focused on 3 or 4 PRO/CON arguments from close reading the texts to constructing the essays and along the way built academic vocabulary, worked on activities with contextualized grammar, studied how to annotate a text, wrote every chance we got with stems and frames, paraphrased everything we could (often with tablemates--"Turn to the person next to you and tell him/her in your own words what the paragraph we just read was about") and did a lot of reflection (such as "At the end of this activity, I am still uncertain about … I get the part about… but need to clarify the part about …") to gauge what was sticking and what wasn't.
I teach GED/diploma/college prep students and some were with me the entire time and some were only around for one of the PRO/CON argument topics (perhaps 4 weeks only), but I believe everyone got something. This year, I'm going to continue to tweak and keep trying. My instruction on how to write effective argument essays is far from perfect, but I know I need to do what I'm asking students to do and give them the time to become comfortable with some or all of the moving parts of this type of writing.
I want to thank Susan Pittman and everyone else who contributed to our discussion about the claim in argument writing. The discussion is still open, so please contribute your thoughts. We are always interested in techniques you have used with your students that have proved helpful.
I invite you to reflect on this discussion using these questions:
What is something in this discussion that:
1. Reinforced something good that I already am doing?
2. Reminded me of something I used to do and will try again?
3. Gave me a new idea that I plan to try?
Please take a few moments and respond to one of the questions here in the community. Also, if you used any of the techniques mentioned with your students, how did it go?
Thanks in advance for your responses, and I appreciate your participation,
Moderator, LINCS Reading and Writing Community of Practice
Kristine, Your post powerfully illustrates how reflection on our practice is THE essential key to improving what we do as teachers. I love hearing stories about how and why teachers reflect and how this leads to more effective practice. Thank you!
I think teaching writing is the most difficult aspect of language arts instruction. You've outlined how valuable it is to engage in the writing tasks that we ask students to complete and while doing so to deeply consider each step in our own thinking. Making our own thinking visible to one's self would seem to be the critical first step.
I've been trying to teach argument writing over the past few months, and I don't think I've done it very well. This thread has given me much to think about.
Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far.
Take care, Susan Finn Miller