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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in essay writing

Posted by on in General

My seventh graders were in the process of researching information about Jackie Robinson in order to create an expository essay.  Together, we were reading the book, 42 is Not Just a Number, by Doreen Rappaport. 

In the first chapter, the author writes of how Robinson's family did not have much money when he was a child. Some nights they had bread soaked in milk or water with sugar. I explained to my class that my family had often eaten some very limited meals as well, but as kids, we didn't know that we lacked money.

I have always believed in the power of storytelling in a classroom.  Equally important to me is sharing about my own life so that my students can see that I am indeed a “real” person and not just a teacher who gives them writing prompts each week. They know that I haven’t always been Mr. Ramsey, that I was once “Little Timmy” who drove his parents crazy on a daily basis.

I don’t believe that teachers need to “bare their souls” and share every detail of their lives.  But I do know that there is great value and relationship building when students can relate to their teacher as another living, feeling human being. My students alternate between narrative essays, expository essays, and persuasive essays roughly every two weeks.  By the end of the year, they have written several of each genre.

During those weeks, we also focus on several mini-lessons revolving around language, vocabulary, and technique.  For this time around, I wanted the kids to start thinking about how to infuse their voice into their work.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

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To Consider During Your End of Holiday Grading

As the holiday break dwindles to a final few days, you may finally be thinking about grading all those papers you brought home. With a resolution to be a better teacher, I thought I would share one small way to help students improve their work, and perhaps instill some self-efficacy and a growth mindset.

Before you start marking up papers, consider the following: students who receive “wise” feedback, particularly African American students with low trust of their teachers, are more likely to edit drafts and work towards improving their work. (You can read the academic paper to learn more.) 

How to Give Wise Feedback

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Posted by on in Blended Learning

Have you ever made your best efforts to write a brilliant paper according to your professor’s instructions? That didn’t result well, did it? Don’t worry; all students have been in your shoes in one point or another. The difference between successful students and below-average achievers is that people of the first category never give up.

Are you ready to start writing better papers? The solutions are simpler than you ever anticipated. Start exploring the following 10 tools and you’ll surprise yourself with the results you accomplish!

1. Guide to Writing a Basic Essay

You have to start somewhere, don’t you? The best way to improve your essay writing skills is by covering the basics. This guide will help you choose a topic, construct an outline, come up with a strong thesis statement, write the actual essay, and add the finishing touches. The website is not that appealing, but it does provide all information you could possibly need.

Take the time to read the instructions, and you’ll be able to approach your next assignment as an essay writing master.

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Posted by on in Blended Learning


Are you trying to teach your students or children how to write essays? Today’s educators can explore different approaches, but they have one thing in common: they need to rely on technology in order to bring the knowledge closer to the understandings of the current generation of learners. If you ignore the beneficial effects of educational technology, you’re limited to abstract explanations that would bore the students. That’s not the effect you want to achieve. 

Of course, you cannot start using the first online tool you come across to. You need carefully-chosen apps and websites that will fit into your overall teaching strategy. Explore the following options; they are perfect for teachers and parents who want to help students boost their writing skills.
1. Storyometer: Don’t limit the writing process to the old-school pen-and-paper method. Storyometer is a great iPad/iPhone app that offers thousands of ideas and hundreds of prompts that help young students to create their own stories. They can develop characters with unique features, inspired by the ideas provided by the app. The best thing about this app is that it provides writing tips that help its users write better.
2. Write My Essay: When you lack the necessary knowledge, you cannot expect to develop a great writer out of your child or student. Sometimes the help of a professional writer is necessary. This website can facilitate your work; it will connect the learner with a writer from the suitable area of study. The writers of this service are able to complete any type of essay. The process is collaborative; they are always available to answer questions and explain the research and writing process to the customers. In addition, this company offers great editing services that can improve the quality of any academic paper.
3. SparkNotes Test Prep: This section of the SparkNotes website is dedicated to SAT preparations. Students can find tips on everything related to this standardized test. The chapter that elaborates the Writing Section offers simple explanations and strategies that make these essays less intimidating for students.
4. ScribophileThere are several online communities for writers, but not all of them are constructive. Scribophile is a great choice! This is an online writing group that inspires writers to critique and improve each other’s work. In addition, they can share their experience with the writing process and tell how they managed to surpass the obstacles they faced. When teachers or parents become part of this community, they receive invaluable tips that will help them present the writing process in details.
5. Education Writers AssociationThe members of this association are teachers, researchers, policymakers, journalists, and people from other professions. Their main interest is to improve the public discourse surrounding education. You don’t need to become a member to explore the resources offered at the website. You can access reporting tips, story idea list, research reports, and an archive of sample projects that will be useful for the students.
6. Atavist: This platform makes the process of composing papers much more enjoyable. The tool enables its users to add appeal to their content by uploading a cover image, choosing a theme, and adding sound, images, videos, and interactive chart. When the work is ready, the users can publish it and make it shareable.
7. OmmWriter: Microsoft Word is not the most distraction-free writing environment for students. It features confusing icons and tools that attract more attention than they are supposed to. OmmWriter, on the other hand, helps the user focus on the peace by promoting a minimalistic writing platform. In addition, you can encourage the creative thinking process of the student thanks to the audio tracks this tool supports.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that students can boost their writing skills only if they practice regularly. Thanks to the 7 tools listed above, the practice will be more inspiring than ever.

Image Source: Farouq Taj

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