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Write With Joanna
By Suzanne Klein on 2/3/2016 12:51 PM
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Valentine's Day is fast approaching! If you don't usually incorporate writing when you celebrate, do something different this year and share the power of words with your students.

Here are four ideas:

1. Pass out this Valentine’s Mad Lib during your classroom celebrations. This activity provides an opportunity for your students to complete a story with a Valentine’s Day theme.  They fill in the blanks with various parts of speech.  The more creative your students are with their adjectives, adverbs, and nouns, the better! Have students work alone, in partners, or in a group. For younger students, create a word bank that they can use to fill in the blanks that cover the various parts of speech.   Allow your students to share their stories when they’re finished!

Download your Mad Lib here.

By Suzanne Klein on 4/15/2014 3:13 PM


Have you ever worked hard at teaching your class something only to discover that they don’t apply that learning on the test? I’ve noticed many students seem to struggle with on-demand writing during test taking.

On-demand writing: a situation in which students are presented with a prompt (question or scenario) and are given a specific time limit to complete it.

From the prototypes we are looking at, we are finding that on-demand writing is especially prevalent in Smarter Balanced and PARCC. On-demand writing is also an important skill for students to have in situations such as the rise of social media and college and career readiness.

Time management is the ultimate solution for student success with on-demand writing.  I’ve found that by teaching my students how to allot and judge time during their writing, they’ve become more confident when it comes time for on-demand writing. I did this by having my students practice writing with different timed allocations, beginning with 40 minutes. I then gradually lowered their timed writing to 10 minutes. As your students become more comfortable with timed writing, you will notice their skills improving, especially in their shorter on-demand writing pieces.



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