DEEP DIVE / English Language Learners

How do I promote writing in any content area that I teach?

< Teaching Channel Guide to  English Language Learners

Just as we do with reading, speaking, and listening, it’s important to integrate the development of writing skills throughout the day and in every content area. And, it’s important to provide structures and supports to help all of your writers grow, especially your English Language Learners. Explore the resources on this page to learn more about promoting writing in your class. Have questions? Be sure to ask them in the Q&A!


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Engage in Discussion Before Writing

One of the best ways to warm students up to the writing process is to have them talk it out first.

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Use discussion to help students analyze text and prepare for writing

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Watch how fifth graders discuss and brainstorm before writing

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Watch how Viet-ly Nguyen uses discussion to help students analyze the text and prepare for writing.

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Watch how fifth graders discuss and brainstorm before writing.

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Bring writing into math class by having students discuss problems with each other and then write about their thinking in journals.
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Engage Students with Low-Risk Writing Opportunities

Not every piece of writing needs to be formal or graded. Get the writing juices flowing and build confidence with low-risk writing activities such as quick-writes. You can even have your students write on the tables!

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Use quick, informal writing activities to help students process information

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Use a quick write as part of scaffolding towards an academic conversation

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In this video, teacher Andrea Culver explains how she uses quick, informal writing activities to help her students process information.

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Watch this video to see how high school English teacher Johanna Paraiso uses a quick write as part of her scaffolding towards an academic conversation.

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Provide Stems and Structures

Give your students key words, phrases, and even structures to support them in their writing tasks.

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Jumpstart your students’ writing with sentence stems

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Try using manipulatives to help students visualize an essay structure.

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Jumpstart your students’ writing with sentence stems.

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Try using manipulatives to help students visualize an essay structure.

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Make Structures School-Wide

Incorporate stems and structures school-wide so that students are consistently supported throughout the day.

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Use claims, evidence, reasoning structure in academic writing

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Use these same text structures in math class.

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Students at ENLACE Academy use a claims, evidence, reasoning structure in their academic writing.

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Students at ENLACE use these same text structures in their math class.

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Guide Students with Goals and Feedback

One way to help your writers develop their skills is by giving them specific criteria and goals to work towards. In this blog postTch Laureate Marion Ivey explains how even kindergartners can use success criteria, peer feedback, and goal-setting to improve their writing.

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Guide Students with Goals and Feedback

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Try a Workshop Model

It’s important that your writers receive guidance and feedback tailored to their needs. One way to make sure you meet the needs of all students is with a workshop model. Read Tch Laureate Sean McComb’s blog post on how he uses a workshop model in his high school ELA class.

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Sean McComb's workshop model

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Want to learn more about workshop models, take Course 5015: Writer's Workshop: Engaging Students Using Mentor Text and Writer's Notebook through our sister company, Learners Edge!

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Writing can be challenging for many students, especially English Language Learners. Help your students persist through challenges, learn from mistakes, and set goals as they become stronger writers.
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2 Comments

  • Private message to Sandra Towers-Halpin

Great resources. I love the idea of manipulatives and beginning with talking it out.

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  • Private message to Mary Brewer

I like the above idea to "talk it out" with students before they are asked to write on a subject. With younger grades, you can write up sentence starters or key words.

 

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