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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Reminder to Parents: Online Writing Portfolio!

Dear Parents,

Students have now completed three major writing assignments. Each assignment built on the last, with the techniques and form growing more specific. Each writing assignment came with very specific expectations outlined. These clear criteria were always handed out to students and posted within the classroom.

Assignment #1 -- a game review
Assignment #2 -- a movie review (Romeo & Juliet related)
Assignment #3 -- a review of a game, movie or book of student choice

These assignments incorporated the full writing process: brainstorming with graphic organizers, drafting a first copy submitted for teacher feedback, and then creating a final draft based on feedback.

The first two assignments are on line. The third has been recently marked...and will be coming soon!

Many students showed progress over time.  Looking these samples over, you will likely note growth in the use of transition words (ie: using lead ins like 'first, next, then' (and others) to organize points for the reader), specific details, diverse word choice, sentence variety, and clear(er) explanations/reasoning.

These particular writing skills (transition words to organize, being specific, choosing 'wow' words, not being repetitive, editing for clarity, etc) are adaptable to many different writing forms, not just the review. This process is also adaptable to reading...in the sense that you would apply the same skills to answering reading comprehension questions...

I chose to focus specifically on the review, however, because I like how reviews include an expository section (summary/explanation) and also persuasive paragraphs (opinion section supported by proof)--both expository and persuasive writing are very common in high school--and real life.

A review makes a comfortable arena for practising these skills because it is very familiar to us as a 'real world' writing genre...we read reviews all the time in real life.

These final reviews needed to include a clear, detailed summary section, an opinion section with three clear criteria, and a personal connection section (the three beef patties, to use my hamburger analogy). They needed an intriguing introduction at the top (top bun) and a short conclusion recapping main points and rating at the bottom (bottom bun). The opinion section needed to have three, clear criteria, well reasoned and supported by specific examples.

If you would like to see these writing samples, please click HERE. And remember, there are more to come as the third sample gets added soon! So remember to check back!


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