Friday, September 18, 2009

Topic: English Language Learners (ELLs) and Writing

10-second review: To improve English Language Learners’ writing, the author engages in dialogue journals where she can model writing in English.

Title: “Inviting Students and Teachers to Connect.” Julie Bader Salcedo. Language Arts (July 2009), 440-448. The Elementary Section publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Quote: “Dialogue journals are written exchanges between teacher and student that take place in a designated notebook on a regular basis. The writing is student-generated and the teacher responds as a full participant in a type of written conversation. There is no evaluation, correction of spelling or ‘teacherly’ comments, such as ‘Good Job!’ or ‘Please use proper punctuation.’ ” p. 441.

Quote: “While I started with the intention of connecting to their writing, I ended by connecting to their lives.” p. 448.

Comment: But students are going to insist that they be helped to write correct English. When students say they want to know how to improve their writing, have them write for ten minutes a day on a topic of their choice. That night the teacher corrects their writing by replacing problems with spelling, grammar, punctuation and word choice with the correct spelling, sentence structure, word choice and punctuation. The students then rewrite the corrected copy in order to help them to visualize their writing as correct writing. Completed daily, students will question changes, learn from the teacher’s explanations and will gain confidence in their writing in English. RayS.

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