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Writing for Understanding
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Writing for Understanding
Strategies to Increase Content Learning

Edited by:


August 2009 | 144 pages | Corwin

"While we have all heard of 'writing across the curriculum areas,' Walling gives us an understanding of what this really means and provides examples that any teacher can modify to expand lessons to a more meaningful level, thus enhancing both writing and critical thinking skills in students."
—Mark S. Strauss, Principal
Virginia Schuman Young Montessori Magnet Elementary School, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

"Walling demonstrates through student writing samples and classroom dialogues how all content teachers can use various writing modes to enrich students' content knowledge to the level of innovation and greater clarity."
—Carol Conway-Gerhardt, President
Catholic Schools Education Alliance of the Bay Area, Inc.

Develop effective writing assignments to boost student achievement in the content areas!

You don't have to be a writing instructor or English teacher to use writing in the classroom. Writing for Understanding focuses on using writing as an essential instructional tool to deepen and expand student understanding in the content areas. Written specifically for non–language arts teachers, this book debunks myths about using writing in the classroom and offers practical approaches for the upper elementary grades through high school.

Writing activates higher-level thinking skills and engages students in concepts and content. Through sample writing prompts and classroom dialogues, Donovan R. Walling shows you how to create writing lessons that:

  • Guide students in using narrative, descriptive, expository, persuasive, and argumentative writing
  • Are adaptable to various subjects and disciplines
  • Require students to process content using critical thinking skills

This valuable resource helps teachers in any subject incorporate writing as a tool of effective instruction. 


 
Introduction: How Can I Teach Writing If I'm Not a Writing Teacher?
 
1. How Writing Increases Understanding
Debunking Myths and Misconceptions  
Alternatives to Bloom  
Five Research-Based "Truths" About Writing  
Developing Effective Writing Questions and Prompts  
Daily Writing  
Some Thoughts on Taking Notes  
 
2. Developing Narrative Writing Assignments
What Is Narrative Writing?  
Types of Narrative Writing  
Using Narrative Writing  
Class Dialogue  
Using Narrative Writing to Build Content Vocabulary  
Sample Narrataive Writing Questions and Prompts  
 
3. Developing Descriptive Writing Assignments
What Is Descriptive Writing?  
Using Descriptive Writing  
Sensory Details  
Describing Processes  
Class Dialogue  
Translating Mathematics  
Giving Directions  
Sample Descriptive Writing Questions and Prompts  
 
4. Developing Expository Writing Assignments
What Is Expository Writing?  
Using Expository Writing  
Class Dialogue  
Writing Prompts That Require Cause-and-Effect Reasoning  
Sample Expository Writing Questions and Prompts  
 
5. Developing Persuasive Writing Assignments
What Is Persuasive Writing?  
Using Persuasive Writing  
Class Dialogue  
Persuasion and the Basics of Logic  
Sample Persuasive Writing Questions and Prompts  
 
6. Developing Argumentative Writing Assignments
What Is Argumentative Writing?  
Using Argumentative Writing  
Class Dialogue  
Follow-Up Sharing and Discussion  
Sample Argumentative Writing Questions and Prompts  
 
7. Using Dialogues About Writing to Build Meaning
A Basis in Socratic Questioning  
Developing and Using Class Dialogues  
Developing and Using Student Dialogues  
Making and Using Rubrics  
 
8. Internet-Writing Connections and Resources
Using E-Speak to Encourage Writing  
Online Resources Can Help Students and Teachers  
Websites for Students  
Websites for Teachers  
 
9. Frequently Asked Questions About Writing
Language Alive  
Usage  
Punctuation  
 
10. Print Resources
Books  
Documents  
 
References
 
Index

"Because the writing process requires students to use and process content, it helps them understand what they are learning. Walling's book provides practical and powerful ways to use writing as a learning tool in a wide variety of subject areas."

Marlin L. Tanck, Retired Educator
Oostburg, WI

"This carefully researched book guides teachers of all disciplines through the uses of narrative, description, exposition, persuasion, and argument in pursuit of student learning. Through ample illustrations of interactive classroom dialogues and sample writing assignments, Walling introduces readers to a wide variety of ways to use writing to support learning in classes that range from mathematics and science to art and physical education. Even though having students write as a way of learning is not about 'correctness,' Walling offers reassuring chapters on grammar and usage, and his annotated bibliography of resources from across the curriculum is not to be missed."

Bruce M. Smith, Editor, Retired
Phi Delta Kappan

"Through student writing samples and classroom dialogues, Walling demonstrates how all content teachers can use various writing modes to enrich students' content knowledge to the level of innovation and greater clarity."

Carol Conway-Gerhardt, President
Catholic Schools Education Alliance of the Bay Area, Inc.

"Walling provides all classroom teachers with the tools to use writing as a catalyst to learning. All classroom teachers, including English teachers, will find this book useful because it not only discusses how to set up writing assignments, but also explains how writing complements learning."

Wayne Homstad, Professor of Education
Lakeland College

"Walling has created an outstanding book that is easy to read and understand, with valuable tips that will make any teacher a more effective instructor. While we have all read of 'writing across the curriculum areas,' Walling gives us an understanding of what this really means and provides examples that any teacher can modify to expand lessons to a more meaningful level, thus enhancing both writing and critical thinking skills in students."

Mark S. Strauss, Principal
Virginia Schuman Young Montessori Magnet Elementary School, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction

Chapter 1: How Writing Increases Understanding


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