Winning the Academic Writing Game

I have asked the students in my hybrid literature and literacy classes to re-imagine the writing mini-lesson. Students in my graduate classes may also choose to develop a digital text and tool learning activity.

Many may, and should, post a recording of a lecture that goes through the steps: explicitly define, model, guided practice and independent practice. Some students wanted to play more with technology. They wanted to create texts to use in the classroom.

So I decided to play as well. I created four short tutorials on winning at academic writing.I focused on the secondary and college level. Elementary and middle school teachers, however, can get the general idea.

Tutorial One: Defining the Game

In this video I introduce the idea that academic writing is its own genre with specific discourse practices.

Tutorial Two: Do not be Wishy Washy

In this video I discuss strategies for framing the problem and taking a position.

Tutorial Three: Play with Words

In this third video I discuss the importance of defining key words and concepts. I had this idea I used to improve my writing from high school through my doctorate. Good writers define key words great writers make up their own words.

Tutorial Four: The Idea Pocket

In the last tutorial I describe the importance of pre-writing and using evidence from your sources. Throughout the series writing success is defined as a grade not as the piece itself. This is the antithesis of what I believe as a teacher of writing.

The snark just provides a gateway into writing and discussing academic writing as a genre is beneficial to developing writers.

Next Steps

These mini-lessons and others like it can teach students some of the basics of the genre. They would never be enough. I would need to also include mentor texts and exemplars of student work. These works could then be annotated using a variety of tools such as a pencil, subtext, or poetry genius.

I could also create a bank of more minilessons using Plotagon. Technology now allows on demand direct instruction. So I hope over time to have a bank of these short video tutorials.

If you want to contribute to the effort please feel free. I am trying to highlight my efforts to support open learning. I find the writing community (looking at you NWP and #FYCchat) to be open to open learning. So if you want to help curate, critique, and create great digital texts and tools to support writing contact me. Lets learn, fail, and reflect together.


slider image credit: Writing on Windows. everRiviere.

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