Monday, February 23, 2009

Unit: I Hate Writing

My students literally hate to write. Whenever I ask them to write for anything in class the usual response is "I hate writing". Some of them physically have difficulty making their letters. There is so much thought and effort in forming the letters that the content gets lost. I have some exceptionally smart students who cannot put their thoughts on paper. They are motivated to work on the computer so I am hoping to merge this desire with the writing process to get them comfortable with content writing. The keyboard will become their pencil and the monitor their paper.

Why is writing important?

Who is my target audience?
What am I trying to communicate?

What do I need to make a complete sentence?
What are four types of sentences?
How do I use correct punctuation in a sentence?
How do I develop a complex sentence?
How do I develop a paragraph with a beginning, middle and end?
How do I utilize graphic organizers?
How can I check for errors in my own writing?
What are the five types of writing?


  1. I love the name of the unit. When I was younger, I didn't like writing either. The content questions are very easy to follow and the unit questions seem appropriate. The only suggestion I have relates to the essential question. Try making it more open ended and encompassing.

  2. Thank you for sticking with trying to get your blog entries completed. Sorry that it was so stressful. I think based on what you are teaching and your students that this should be an acceptable unit. You might consider additional content to give your writing focus. The essential question is designed to focus on big ideas that might be taught in various subjects. Without knowing what additional content you might use, the big idea you seem to be emphasizing so far is communication and maybe accuracy. A couple of suggested essential question ideas are:
    Can you tell me what you really mean?
    Why is it important to be accurate?
    Why do I like what I like?

  3. Well, I have to admit that I would probably be one of those kids who would say that writing is not my favorite thing to do, either. But, I guess you would expect that from a math teacher!!!

    I love the title of your unit! I certainly catches my attention! I am sure it will catch your students' eye, too.

    Your essential question is certainly one that will get your students talking - and you may have a few that will tell you that they never will use "all this stuff" (just like I hear in math). But, I am sure that when they are finished with the unit, they will be able to answer this question.

    The unit questions that you have included are clear and to the point. Getting students to understand how to effectively communicate with a given audience is huge - and so important as they transition from school to the work force.

    I learned this personally when I worked in the banking industry. Although you wouldn't think a great deal of writing would be required in that particular field, it was very important (depending on the role you played). Being able to communicate with co-workers and clients was essential!

    So, perhaps you could let your kids use the computer as a research tool, as well. And, in the process, they could use that research to formulate situations that a particular kind of writing would be effective, based on audience, etc. Then, they could summarize findings through a presentation, brochure, flyer, etc. Just a thought . . .

    And, hopefully, you'll change the "I hate writing" to "this isn't so bad . . . I am actually pretty good at this!"

  4. Your essential question is right on. My students also have strong reservations when it comes to writing. They just want to race through the assignment and give it very little thought. I think your unit questions will certainly focus the students and encourage them to write for a reason. Another tool you may want to get with a grant is a Writer. It is a keyboard with a small screen that the students use and you zip their writing to your computer to print out. We have them in our 2nd grade elementary classroom for the students to practice typing.

  5. I taught 7th grade ELA before dance. I understand all too well the lack of interest in writing, especially for the writers who really struggle with the physical act of writing. The questions you have seem to be are right on target. They are clear. What will the final product be?

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. I like the way yours is set up as well. The colors are nice. I appreciate your interest in dance :-) 3 kitties? That's exciting!! Aren't they fun?