How Do You Use Writing Samples to Teach Students How to Write?


Quick Answer

Use writing samples to teach students how to write by deconstructing a sample essay into its successful components and designing lesson plans around teaching students how to develop these skills. Emphasize the importance of creating original writing rather than only emulating your samples.

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Full Answer

Give students sample writings after giving them the writing assignment and the grading rubric for it. This helps you emphasize how the sample writings abide by the assignment and why they received high scores when they were first graded. Initiate a dialogue with the students about the sample writings so they more fully understand the assignment before beginning to write.

Deconstruct the components of the sample writing you wish to highlight focusing on its creative title, its solid organization, its attention-getting introduction, its sentence variety, and the quality of the evidence it presents. Create miniature lessons around these individual skills, such as how to form a creative title or how to craft an attention-getting introduction. Use handouts for these miniature lessons and give students enough time to practice their writing and share it in front of small groups and eventually in front of the entire class.

Do not assign formal grades to the practice writing these students share. This encourages them to take more chances as they write and also to get direct feedback from their audience.

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