People learn in different ways. Some people learn by doing things; other people learn by reading about things; others learn by listening to people talk about things. Which of these methods of learning is best for you? Use specific examples to support your choice.
An essay is a forum for discussion
30-minute time limit, 300 words, but not over yet.
“Some people learn by…”- a good first essay topic, for seeing your students’ learning preferences.
Pair work: students discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the methods they prefer. Students challenge each other.
Whole class: discuss advantages and disadvantages of students’ preferred methods.
Teacher: makes chart on board: Possible Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Learning Preferences. Note-taking by students.
Assessment is an opportunity to learn
Use the ETS rubric for the Independent Writing Task. This provides the holistic rating.
On the other side, have an analytical rubric keyed to the text of your choice.
The Longman rubric and the McGraw-Hill rubric (attached) have areas checked that need work.
Electronic version of the analytical rubrics allows students the freedom to research on their own.
Mark to teach about 3 items that need improvement.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Grades (marks) encourage students to learn. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
The agree-disagree lends itself to a debate format.
Answer objections, work on transitions.
Support/oppose-the-plan topic (e.g., for a new factory being built in your neighborhood) a town-hall discussion.
Have a purposeful learning objective more than just practice.
Additional ideas on independent writing
Essay topics can have writing objectives attached to them (e.g., sentence variety, correct use of transitions, particular grammatical forms/patterns, paragraph types) rather than merely practice for practice’s sake.
Essay topics can sometimes be chosen by students, or previewed as discussion topics (board game).
Putting paragraphs in order activity (pair work): can be used to teach various aspects of essay writing, such as coherence or use of examples.