Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Topic: Daily Writing

Question: What are the effects of daily writing for students?

Answer: “Found significant differences between pre-and post-test essays when students wrote daily for 12-week periods.” NB Hyscop, 1983, 421.

Comment: I found daily writing to be a wonderful complement to my regular writing instruction in the community college. I had students use their own topics to write ten-minute essays in class. No attempt was made to complete the essays. At the end of ten minutes, they turned in what they had written. That night, I corrected, literally, whatever mistakes they made in sentence structure, usage, punctuation, spelling as well as problems in clarity and awkward expression. Took some work, but it was worth it. The next day, outside of class, they re-wrote my corrected version. I made no change in ideas, just in grammar, spelling and unclear and awkward expression. For each rewritten copy, I awarded one point in extra credit. The effect of the revised version was to help students visualize their writing as correct writing.

At the end of twelve weeks, the number of students’ mistakes declined significantly. The students’ response to these daily ten-minute essays with my corrections, was that it gave them confidence in writing. Also enabled me to correct individual problems that might not have been useful for group explanation.

Of course, I only taught two courses a semester at the community college. What about high school with five classes? Take one class a day for three weeks. Then switch classes until each of the five classes has had the experience of writing daily 10-minute essays. In the second semester, begin again with the first class for three weeks and switch classes. The ten-minute essays were a highly successful complement to my regular writing instruction. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1984), 417-438.

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