Earlier this week I explained 4 advantages of incorporating writing in any classroom. I bet many of you were thinking Sure, that sounds great, but it also sounds like a lot of work. Thankfully, that’s just not the case. Including writing in your classroom can be really easy. And it doesn’t have to take much time either.
The key is to realize that you don’t have to grade the writing. You don’t even have to read all of it. Of course, you do need to read some of it to keep students accountable, but you can assign lots more than you read.
Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate writing into your classroom.
These methods are adapted from Content-Area Writing: Every Teacher’s Guide.
1. Exit Slips. During the last two or three minutes of class, students answer a question and drop it off on their way out the door. Prompts can range from a specific questions from your lesson to general questions such as the ones below:
- What is the most important thing you learned in class today?
- How would you explain this concept to a friend?
- Did you understand today’s lesson? Why or why not?
- What questions do you have about today’s lesson?
- How well are you understanding this chapter? What can I do to help?
- What do you need to do to prepare for our upcoming test
2. Answer Explanations. Students explain how they found an answer. In math class, ask students to write the steps they used to solve a problem. For subjects such as history or science, asking students to explain how they found the answer helps them give a more complete response.
3. Write a Review Quiz: Students write a five-question quiz over the material. They then exchange and take another student’s quiz. Students grade the quiz that they wrote and discuss the correct answers with the one who took their quiz.
4. Error Analysis. Students figure out why they got an answer wrong and what they should have done. This is best used in skill subjects such as math and grammar but can work well in other subjects too.
5. Written Questions. Students write down the answer to a question about the lesson. For example, ask a question such as “How do you find the direct object of a sentence?” Instead of taking an oral response, have each student write his answer on a sheet of paper or in his notes.
As you can see, these methods don’t need to take a lot of class time, and they don’t require much preparation. The benefits, however, are incredible.
How have you used writing to help students better understand your subject? Share your experience by leaving a comment.
Photo by ccarlstead