Monday, July 10, 2017

Three Easy Ways to Develop Focus and Meaning in Writing (Goal 4)

Welcome to our book study of The Writing Strateies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo.  I'm joining forces with some fabulous teacher bloggers, hosted by An Apple for the Teacher, to discuss the writing strategies we come across in this AMAZING professional text!

Because this book isn't your typical professional development book filled with individual "Chapters" of narrative, each teacher blogger will be giving you a glimpse into the 10 goals that are preresented in the text.  Each goal area is filled with many valauable strategies that will help you to support and guide your students as they become better writers.

Keep in mind, we are only highlighting a FEW strategies in each section. There are over 300 strategie in the whole book.

You can find my previous Book Study posts below:
Introduction to 300 Writing Strategies

Goal 1:  Composing With Pictures

Goal 2:  Engagement

Goal 3:  Generating and Collecting Ideas

"Readers usually expect that a piece of writing is about something and that the author communicates a point." states Jennifer Serravallo.  Jennifer provides 25 strategies that teachers can use with students to help them focus their writing.  Here are three of them:
Write a Title
Write a title can be used in any genre or text type and it works well with 2nd to 8th graders.  It also helps students generate, collect, choose and develop their writing.  I choose this strategy because I sometimes have a difficult time with titles.  I usually wait until the end to decide what to title a piece. 

Teaching Tip:  The teaching tip recommends this strategy at the beginning of the writing to help students focus their writing.

Teaching Tip:  Murray (1985) shares qualities of good titles to help them think beyond the obvious.

Prompts:
  • Play with the title
  • Take out some words
  • Use thesaurus to find better words to use
  • Rearrange the words



Write About a Pebble
This strategy is also for 2ne-8th graders in any genre.  This strategy helps students generate and collect ideas as well as revising a piece of writing.

Lesson LanguageDon't write about your trip to the mountains, write about an activity that you did while you were in the mountains. Observe your surroundings and write with details that help the readers feel like they are there with you.

Mentor Text:  Find a mentor text to provide examples.  I am going to use The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  for a fiction source, and Up Close Pirates for non-fiction from Storia.




Ask Questions to Focus

Lesson Language:
If you are trying to cover too much about your topic, you can ask yourself questions to help you focus.
  • What are you really trying to say?
  • What is the most important thing about your topic?
  • What questions can you ask yourself to narrow your topic?
  • What are you going to work on to change, add, or revise your writing after you ask yourself questions?
Mentor Texts:
This is another good area to use mentor texts.  Choose a general topic, and note how the author breaks up his ideas into chapters or sections of the book.  Here is an example from Storia






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