January is a month for planning and reflection as we look back on writing successes and look ahead for what will be.
In a previous post I summarized 23 Top Tips for Boys Writing from the 98 page Me Read? And How! document which has been the most popular post on this blog for months.
Since I'm back in the grade 6 classroom once a week for media literacy and technology instruction, I thought I'd list the top tips I've used during the first term, September to December 2011.
1. Boys who were allowed to choose writing topics showed increased motivation and engagement. Page 10
I've been a little conservative on this one but on occasion I've let boys, and other students in the class choose their own topics. To be fair, I come up with the structure of the writing during my day with the grade 6 students and the students provide the content.
4. Boys planned their writing using graphic organizers both individually and in pairs. Page 17
We have used SMART Ideas graphic organizer software on many occasions to brainstorm and pre-write our particular topics.
10. Boys use of debate to discuss authentic and relevant issues transferred into their non-fiction persuasive writing. Page 35
We did one debate in the classroom during first term. This is one the students enjoyed. I'll need to plan for another this term.
16. Boys like to write about exaggerations, humour, silly writing, rap songs, procedural writing, short scenes. Page 51
We had several of these types of writing assignments during first term including writing a step by step, "Teach Me Something" piece, a two-voicer radio commercial and some short scenes for anti-bullying videos the students created.
17. ICT in the form of computers, blogs, wikis, and digital voice recorders have been used with boys to reinforce writing skills. Page 53.
We use blogs, digital voice recorders and computers every day for our writing. In particular, we used Audacity voice recording software and recording headsets to record many of our writing assignments including our radio commercials and memoirs.
20. Boys who design and play video games develop sophisticated operational, cultural and critical literacy skills. Page 57
We started a video game design, review and evaluation unit just before the break. This is new ground for me. The students of course, love it.
So these are the top six that jump out of the page as I write this post. I'll need to incorporate more of the 23 top tips during my planning for second and third term.
How many of the top tips have you been using?