Prepared by Allison Boye, Ph.
Consider the following general suggestions for planning and creating writing assignments that work well: Writing assignments can be developed for different purposes: Writing to Learn Whether considering writing in the classroom for a writing course, a First Year Seminar, or a content-area course, it is important to understand how course content can actually be understood and secured through writing to learn.
In this mode, students write in order to discover, examine, and test their ideas about reading assignments, class discussions, lectures, and essay topics. Such writing is usually informal, can take a variety of forms, and represents the kind of active thinking and critical engagement with course material that helps students prepare for more formal writing tasks.
Writing to learn becomes a vehicle for figuring out and refining what we think before we communicate publicly to others. Ideas for using writing to learn in the classroom: List as many facts as you can think of about the writer based on what is found in the reading: Such a commonplace book will help improve memory of course topics and serve as a helpful resource for review.
Short, quick summaries of assigned readings could be asked for first, then short syntheses of ideas in several connected readings, and finally analyses of the quality of an argument or string of related ideas.
As micro themes grow in number and difficulty, topics for more formal assignments like critical analysis might emerge and signal productive directions for both teacher and student. These short freewrites can then be discussed or the class can move ahead.
Either way, freewriting will allow students to focus closely on a topic. Share these ideas in class discussion, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses and relevance in terms of the assignment. Start freewriting on a possible direction for the assignment and stop after three minutes, then: Each time the student freewrites, in other words, the original idea becomes more and more focused - the students draws closer to the "center of gravity" for the actual writing assignment and have something to start with for a draft.
Such a discovery draft will then allow the student to build on early ideas as a more complete draft is written. Writing to Communicate When writing to communicate, students move from their informal and more discovery-based writing to more formal, demanding and public expectations of particular discourse and rhetorical conventions.
Learning the conventions for specific fields of study, developing different methods for analysis and argument, as well as fine tuning the details of grammar, documentation and mechanics are central to the mode of writing as communication.
At their most effective, assignments in writing to communicate can be built directly off the scaffolding that has been provided through writing to learn. The two modes of writing are connected in terms of developing content, but writing to communicate will call for more coherent development and structure.
Students can be asked to review everything they have written informally through writing to learn in order to determine a focus or direction for their more formal assignments in public communication.
They may find an initial thesis for a specific topic emerging through their ideas for using writing to communicate in the classroom. Do you want students to develop analytical, informational, argumentative, reflective, or expressive skills, or a combination of several skills?
The essay instructions should make clear to students what set of skills will be most valued when completing the assignment.The National Writing Project's 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing offers successful strategies contributed by experienced Writing Project teachers.
Since NWP does not promote a single approach to teaching writing, readers will benefit from a variety of eclectic, classroom-tested techniques. Writing Prompts, How Understanding Writing Prompts Leads. WRITING ASSIGNMENTS. In a First-Year Seminar or a writing-intensive course, it is best to have several writing assignments and a variety of types of writing, usually integrated with course readings, rather than one long assignment at the end of the course.
Research, writing Research an event Students attend an event (game, concert), write a citation for it and find an article, a book and a web site about the composer, the sport, etc. In a First-Year Seminar or a writing-intensive course, it is best to have several writing assignments and a variety of types of writing, usually integrated with course readings, rather than one long assignment at the end of the course.
Tips on writing assignments: Listed below are a few tips to writing your assignments. You may already be familiar with most of these points but it will be good to remind yourself of these points before you write up your assignment for credit.
You can follow the steps below, and before you hand in your assignment, complete the checklist.