Tag Archive | content area writing

Writing Break

WHAT IS IT?

“Writing breaks are a reminder to me to just shut up every once in a while and let the kids think.” While we often feel pressured to talk till the bell – to pack as much content as we can into a class period – we also know that kids don’t remember as much when they are overwhelmed. as we said in chapter 1, less content can be more, if more is actually retained.” p 31 Content Area Writing – Harvey Daniels, Steven Zemelman, Nancy Steineke

A writing break is a break, at specific points during the class, where students stop and reflect in writing on the class / information so far. Some quick, turn and talk sharing usually follows the writing, then the class resumes.

WHY DO WE USE IT?

These figures will amaze you (well they amazed me). Kids recall between 10 and 30 % of what they read, hear and see.By incorporating writing breaks at regular intervals, about every 10 – 20 minutes, you can really kick the retention up a notch because writing and then talking about it, moves the sticking rate into the 70 – 90 % range.

Cornell notes / double entry journal

Any time you have ruled a line down the middle of a page and compared two things by listing pros and cons, you have used a double entry journal. A version of double entry journals, is CORNELL NOTES.

This structure allows students to record the main ideas / key words on the left hand side, and to reflect, wonder and respond to the information as they go. At the bottom of the page, students can then re read their notes, and make a summary of the information.

“Double entry journals are very flexible. Within a unit, double-entry journals can be used to deepen text understanding, show the thinking behind problem solving, or compare ideas, information, characters and so on.”
p.85 Content-Area Writing – Harvey Daniels, Steven Zemelman and Nancy Steineke