4 Principles for Constructing a Writing Assignment
Tie the writing task to your specific learning goal.
State the purpose of the assignment.
Break down the task into manageable steps.
Spell out a grading criteria.
Writing task walkthrough (teacher)
Great historical events often have deep effects upon the people who live through them. Depending on the person and the situation, those effects can be very different. (Engage them)
You are going to read a short article about the Dust Bowl days in American history titled “Black Blizzard.” You will also look at some photographs taken during that time period. As you read and study the photographs, think about how this experience may have affected the individual people who lived through it. (manageable chunks)
Finally, you will write a narrative, showing how a particular small moment during this experience affected one person. (manageable chunk)
*Engage the students, tell them the purpose of the text and what you want them to cue in on. (text features) – we will talk about this in a future meeting.
Writing task walkthrough (cont.)
Remember, a good narrative: (Activate prior knowledge)
Establishes a clear point of view
Focuses closely on one character or characters
Uses strong sensory details to make the character(s) and event come alive
Uses precise language
May use dialogue and description to capture the character(s) and event
Here are your choices for your narrative: (add choices)
A young child watching the “black blizzard” rolling in over the plains
A young child, watching a tractor knock down his family home in Oklahoma, several years into the Dust Bowl drought
A mother sitting on her front steps in a migrant camp in California
An unemployed father, arriving at a squatter camp in California from Oklahoma
*Activates prior knowledge and supports students’ need for autonomy