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Why I Incorporated Writing in My Classroom (and why you should too)

I remember when I was first told that our school was going to incorporate writing into all subjects. Huh? I thought. How is that going to work in my math classroom?

Well, I wasn’t more than a few pages into Content-Area Writingbefore I started getting pretty excited about all the possibilities. This resource outlined simple ways to incorporate writing into any classroom, regardless of the subject matter. Suddenly this task didn’t seem so difficult, and I was starting to see some advantages.

Student writing as teacher incorporates writing into classroom
Photo Credit: Jody Art via Compfight cc

When the school year started, I nervously but excitedly began implementing writing into my math classes. I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the results. Later this week, I’ll give some details about how I incorporated writing, but today I want to tell you about the advantages:

I found 4 key advantages to incorporating writing in my classroom.

1) Writing increases students’ participation. When you ask a question in class, one or two students answer out loud and maybe a few more have their hands raised. The rest of the class may be listening for the answer or they may be daydreaming – it’s sometimes hard to tell. When you instead ask all the students to write an answer to a question, everyone is forced to participate, and you can easily see whether or not students are with you.

2) Writing helps students think deeply. When I ask my students to write out how they found an answer, it forces them to think at a deeper level than just writing an answer. This clarifies their own understanding or reveals areas of misconception.

3) Writing helps you know your students better. Students are surprisingly transparent in their writing, and when you read their thoughts, you start to get to know them better. You are also more in tune with how your students are learning and in what areas they need help.

4) Writing increases students’ communication skills. This one is the obvious result, but the advantage should by no means be overlooked. In today’s society, it doesn’t do much good to have knowledge if you’re not able to communicate it. And with an increase in social media, blogs, and online articles, students need to learn to express their thoughts clearly and concisely. You don’t have to grade formal writing for this to happen. Consistently asking students to answer short, ungraded questions will help increase this valuable skill without adding extra pressure to you or them.

Wondering how exactly this works? Check out my post: 5 easy ways to include writing in your classroom.

Have you incorporated writing in your teaching? What results did you see? Share your experience by leaving a comment.


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