Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to get into the Writing Process

Writing is a form of communication.  In the past we had to rely upon some form of paper to have good communication. Now we have the virtual world to help us.
All communication has to be clear, you have to know what you want to say and the best way to say it.
One way to start the creative process is to have  a private journal and just write.  I did this when I was a child.  I even believed in Time Travel.  On  one page of my journal, I left a blank page for my future self to write an entry.  Of course my younger self would never see the entry, and I have left the page blank.  I still have the journal, it is amazing that it actually made the trip to Israel!

You can have your students write a journal and you can give credit to them if they write a certain amount of text each week.  You don't have to correct for spelling and grammar, but for content.

One caveat,  when you want to promote good writing, I always use a different color pen, say green. When a student sees a page of their writing covered in red ink, it gives a message that they are sub-standard.  So by using green, and only underlining the grammar and spelling problems, it gives a more understanding outlook, that you believe in the student and want to help improve the writing skills.  It might be better to correct the errors on another page, or on the back of the page that the student wrote.  It  will take  more time, but in the end, the student will feel more motivation to write more and improve.

I collect the errors, and use them to teach the whole class the next time I teach writing.  I never say who made the error, but usually more than one student made the same error and I need to re-teach.

Thank you to everyone who commented about this post.

Rachael Orbach

Monday, February 13, 2012

Teaching Good Writing

What are the difficulties of writing?
The issues that most come up are the attitude of the student.

"I can't write", "I don't like to write well", I can't write as well as .So and So" are a few of the complaints that teachers hear. As a teacher you have to deal with the psychological resistance of the student.  In the big picture we are all writers,  we write our lives by the way that we live them.  In order to get it down on paper, or on the computer screen we have to forget about the blank page.

Writing is the process of putting visibly one's invisible thoughts.  Writing is a process. Everyone who writes, reveals his personal thoughts to others. You reveal the way you think and react to the world when you write.
Thoughts are abstractions. It is only when we transform the ideas and write them, they become concrete.

The process of writing takes the invisible and makes it visible.
It takes the abstract and makes it concrete.
Writing can also take the personal and make it public.

More on the writing process in upcoming blog posts!

Have a great day! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Commonly confused words homework

Name____________________  Date__________________

Words Commonly Confused Homework
 Circle the correct answer. 


  1. My cat had (its, it’s) kittens last night.

  1. Please be (quiet, quite) during the test.

  1. Our school’s (principal, principle) shaved his head when the soccer team won the state championship.

  1. Be careful with (your, you’re) new cell phone; you’d hate to lose or break it.

  1. Sam just barely (passed, past) his driver’s exam.

  1. When Rachel got hit with a baseball, we thought she might not be (conscious, conscience).

  1. (There, Their, They’re) going to be angry when they find out that their trees were toilet papered last night.

  1. I can’t stand it when people give me (advice, advise) that I don’t need.

  1. Please put (your, you’re ) clothes in the laundry basket.

  1. How many fans (were, where) at the game?

  1. I’m sorry, but this restaurant doesn’t (accept, except) credit cards.

  1. In science class, we learned about the Greenhouse (affect, effect).

  1. When Jen told a joke, we all (burst, busted) out laughing.

  1. I don’t know (who’s, whose) going to pick you up after school.

  1. The (principle, principal) problem facing our company is that we need to advertise our products more.

  1. Stay on task because you don’t have (alot, a lot, allot) of time to finish the project.

  1. When (your, you’re) going on a long trip, make sure to pack clothes for all weather.

  1. That shirt is (to, too, two) small for you!

  1. I would love to come over tonight, (accept, except) that I have to write a paper.

  1. They went to dinner and (than, then) went mini-golfing.

  1. I live (passed, past) the grocery store on 7th Street.

  1. I was not (conscious, conscience) of the fact that my car was nearly out of gas.

  1. When you go (to, too, two) the store, could you pick up a gallon of milk?

  1. I would (have, of) been on time, but my car got stuck in the snow.

  1. The recipe calls for (to, too, two) eggs.

  1. I would rather read a mystery novel (than, then) a romance.

  1. Do you know if (its, it’s) supposed to snow this weekend?

  1. The girls can’t find (their, there, they’re) uniforms anywhere.

  1. Yes, this test will (affect, effect) your final grade.

  1. Once we have the money counted, we will (alot, a lot, allot) it among the four of us.

  1. (Their, there, they’re) are several things you need to do for homework.

  1. Everyone keeps telling me that I should (of, have) gone to the concert last night.

  1. Have you figured out (who’s, whose) backpack this is?

  1. I would not (advice, advise) you to poke the bear.

  1. In the (passed, past), farmers used oxen to plow their fields.

  1. (Its, It’s) been a long time since I’ve heard this song.

  1. I think strawberries are better (than, then) bananas.

  1. Jessie (passed, past) a police car going 10 miles over the speed limit!

  1. A lack of sleep can have a bad (affect, effect) on your grades.

  1. I’m going to the concert, (to, too, two).

“Farewell to Shady Glade” by Bill Peet Project for Class

“Farewell to Shady Glade” by Bill Peet I would teach this book as part of a unit about the environment. This could be for a 6 th...