Memoir Writing and Goal Setting

by Mrs. Nilsen on November 21st, 2013

Weekly ELA News 11/18-11/22

Every 6 weeks, students must bring two pieces of writing through the entire writing process to publication.  The last writing cycle students worked on Professional Business Letters to Outdoor School for one of their main pieces.  

This 6 week cycle we are working on memoir writing.  As that is our main focus in class, one of the two pieces of writing must be a memoir.  I am teaching lessons specific to memoir writing throughout the months of November and December as well as other mini lessons about good writing in general.  The second piece can be whatever the student chooses.  It can be another memoir or any other type of writing.  We will be drafting, editing, peer revising, meeting with the teacher for at least one conference, and more surrounding both pieces of writing long before the publication date (12/12/13).  

I'm amazed at the progress of student memoirs already in just this past week or so.  We started with bland, boring, simple writing and with just a little bit of guidance and the permission to experiment, students are producing incredible work.  

The other main focus in writing lately has been on goal setting.  I've noticed that students have really no idea how to set a reasonable, appropriate goal for themselves in many areas, let alone in writing.  We've been using a writing continuum school wide to gauge where students are and how to move them forward.  Instead of keeping this hidden from students as something only the teacher sees, my approach has been to give bits of the information directly to our students.  I've been telling them what I'm seeing, where they are, and exactly what I need to see for them to move forward.  Letting students know exactly what I expect of them, we're setting individual goals for each and every student.   It's incredible to watch their progress when they know exactly what they need to work on.  I'm tired of writing be a secret language that only the teacher knows how to move forward on.  

I look forward to reading the rest of their memoirs and other writings.  This class makes teaching writing fun.

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