February 18th: Smagorinsky Chapters


For next week:

Bring two developed writing tasks to class. These do not have to be fully completed, but they have to reflect a well thought out plan and effort. Everyone should also bring in a draft of their TIB that you have been working on and bring headphones so we can listen to example podcasts. Required reading for this week is Crafting Digital Writing by Troy Hicks, chapter five. This chapter refers to creating digital audio.

For anyone who hasn’t signed up for the midterm meet up with Emilie, make sure you do that as soon as possible and stayed tuned for an email from Dr. Benko regarding iCare. We might be meeting in iCare corner to learn about how to make podcasts.

Now onto what we did!

We started off the day by using jig-sawing to summarize, share, and explain how each of the chapters fit into a structured process approach to teaching.

Chapter Four: Personal Narrative

Chapter four’s main objectives included being able to write a descriptive, personal narrative that will elicit an emotional response from your students. One of the key features of this text was being able to come up with sensory words to describe smell and moving student’s writing from general descriptions to specific.

As a group, we decided this specific piece of writing was a really good example of the Structured Process Approach to teaching. It had activities that clearly built off each other, it involved group and individual work which are important to the Structured Process Approach. But, we also wondered as a group if the purpose of the activities was clear enough to the students.

I have a question for you, in this type of activity how would you make the goals clear to students? Given that the tasks are repetitive; do you think that the goal or final result needs to be very clear so that students don’t lose interest?

As a group, we also discussed how we would create activities for the personal narrative chapter and the focus was shifted to how personal of topics should be selected. One idea proposed was the concept of having students discuss being bullied or related experiences. This can be a hard decision to make as a teacher; what is the line between pushing our students to be engaged and relate their personal lives to writing and what is too far or too demanding? While looking through sources, I found an article discussing how writing is healing.  Roberta Gardner really brings up some important points and it changed my perspective a little about how much we should push students to write personal details about their lives. I recommend that everyone take the time to read it.


Chapter Five: Argumentation

The purpose of this chapter was focused on students to examine bodies of evidence and be able to write an effective and persuasive argument with the claim, data, and a warrant.

The chapter included a sticky note activity which would help students learn how to categorize data and questions about what that data represented, a small lesson on coordinating conjunctions, and had a letter as an end product that required students to use claim, data, and a warrant.

This chapter followed the Structured Process Approach because it also required some of the same elements as above such as group and individual work, discussions, sharing, but the large reason we really thought this fit that concept is because it required the teacher to become less and less involved.

When discussing this chapter, it was also important to think about what type of writing was required for the final product. In some ways, there was some back and forth on whether the assignment was not we expected for this type of content. One group member mentioned how they preferred to have a more serious topic like something along the lines of a debate or covering current topics in the news, but some other group members thought the assignment was a really good idea and enjoyed a more cheerful or fun assignment.

I want to know what you think, would you as a teacher want to demand or do more serious of topics using the claim, data, warrant approach or do you think it is important for students to have fun topics that demand the same skill sets. Also, did you think this assignment had practical uses and was something that students could apply outside the classroom?

This also made me think a lot about the idea of authentic writing and how students can apply authentic writing to genres where it seems tp be a one, two, three format. Brad Currie wrote an article titled Authentic Writing Across the Curriculum. In this article, it talks about writing letters to athletes and I think even though it is not fully applicable, I think it is worth the read


Chapter 8: Research

This chapter was also focused on the claim, date, warrant but involved a research paper.

Stage one had a preplanned debate, a discussion outlining the strengths, and weaknesses Students dissected the parts of the debate, current new topics were then introduced, several drafting days were utilized, and the final assignment was a bibliography.

This chapter followed the structured Process Approach because it also used strategies that built off of each other, it had group work and individual work and taught student’s essential everyday skills that will be needed for their future.

While discussing this chapter, I noticed that group work is a part of every class and is essential for any unit. I found a blog post by Elizabeth Moore where provides some great tips for managing small groups.


Wow, that was a lot of stuff!

Impromptu Questions:

What can we generalize about the structured process approach based on three different examples?

One of the biggest points made is that material has to build on itself. Also, the teacher’s participation should become less and less and the final product or goal always hast to be made clear to students.

What parts of this approach are epically important?

We mentioned that the most important parts are having group work, individual work, sharing is essential, peer groups are vital.

What we want to work to include in our own teaching (and in the midterm)?

For this question, you can think about on your own some more and remember to look back at the tweets for some more ideas and insight.

Sorry for the long post but we covered a lot! I hope this helps!

Haley Crane






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