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Nottingham, NH, United States
I'm a middle school teacher and science and books are two of my favorite things! (Chocolate and coffee are pretty high up on the list as well)

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Writing - Where Do I Start?

Writing is a vital communication tool. Choosing the right words to make your point or to evoke emotions in your audience are just two of the many ways that we use writing on a daily basis.

Fun and Easy Web2.0 Tools:

To get started with the brainstorming process, try wordle! Wordle can also be used to make a collage of vocabulary or spelling words you are learning about. Tagxedo is another site where you can make word clouds - try choosing a shape that is related to your word list!

Once you have an idea about what you are going to be writing about, consider the purpose for your writing, who your audience is and how to best organize the information. A letter to the Governor asking him to ban smoking on public beaches would have a very different tone and level of formality than a text to your best friend about the stores you want to shop at when you go to the mall on Saturday.

Graphic Organizers:

If you need a graphic organizer, I've uploaded many of the ones we've used in class to the Worksheets and Student Information page on my website. If you click on the link, look in the Writing Workshop folder - you'll be able to view or download several different organizers.

Resources for Ditching Dead Words and Adding Transitions:

After you've written your rough draft, you are ready to start the best part of writing - revising! Revising is an exciting process - this is where you choose the perfect words to make your point, and where you may decide to move some of your information around, so that it makes sense and you've successfully said what you wanted to say! If you go back to the Worksheets and Student Information page on my website - look in the Writing Workshop folder for Dead Words - avoid using worn out third grade words like "said" and "talked" - Dead Words will get you started on the path to an expansive and exciting vocabulary! You can always use a thesaurus, too!

Editing Checklists:

Once you are happy with the wording and organization of your writing, it is time to start the editing process. Spelling? Punctuation? Fragments? Where to start? So many different areas to review... -don't panic! Take a deep breath, click on the Writing Workshop folder and use one of the editing checklists to make sure you don't miss any errors.

My number one piece of advise for finding problem areas is to read your essay aloud. If you pause when reading and there is no comma or end punctuation in your writing, go back and take a closer look. You may have found a run on sentence. Can it be broken into two sentences or will it sound choppy? If you have two independent clauses, you can add a semi colon to connect them!

Another great resource that you have right at home are your family members - have an adult or older sibling look over your paper - see if they'll go through it with you. Use the rubric to make sure you aren't forgetting something important! It is amazing what an extra pair of eyes can find - especially if they haven't read the essay before!

I hope this helps! If you get stuck, write a note about your question in the margin of your paper and ask me about it during class or come see me at study hall. Keep writing! The more you practice, the better your writing will be!

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