Fundamentals of Writing
I created a sequential series of lessons called The Fundamentals of Writing because I'm finding these skills are needed most. For all students.
As a high school social studies teacher I taught students how to write constructive, well-thought out, cogent essays and research papers. These papers built their critical thinking skills, and helped them express themselves concisely, logically, and compellingly.
We focused on the need to read and address every aspect of the directions, how to form a concise thesis, and how to provide evidence that supports that thesis.
We distinguished between assumptions, opinions and facts. Students learned how to "unpack their thinking" so that they could see how one thought led to another, and the need to make the connections explicitly, so the reader knows why and how the student transitioned from one thought to the next.
I also taught students how to take effective, necessary notes that would add to the content of their paper, and how to differentiate between tangential and relevant material.
I stressed that every additional paragraph should "further" the argument or idea of the essay or paper, and be a necessary contribution. This helped students edit and discern what sentences were relevant, and how to delete that one sentence/idea they loved, but really wasn't necessary. We acknowledged how much that hurt, but how in turn, it made for a better paper.
My students learned about primary and secondary sources, and how to use exact quotes in a way that added to, or provided evidence supporting their thesis. We also worked on formatting, and grammar.
The workshop I've created teaches all of these steps in six individual sessions. It allows students to learn these skills while writing about something in which they are genuinely interested. So it's intended to be fun and productive.
Students can do these steps as a group or individually.
Parents can even use these steps to help their children on their own.
These foundational skills are what everyone needs to know, in order to write well.
Let's get started.