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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Language Arts Teacher Development: Helping students develop story ideas

Completely Developed Ideas

I came up with a little saying to remind students of the importance of developing their ideas sufficiently. It goes like this:  My age or more to get a good score.”   
Too many kids do what I call developing their ideas horizontally.  For example, they may go to the beach, which is fine, but have 5 to 10 different events instead of just one or two.  The problem with that is that most writing assignments have limited quantity of pages and lines, usually one or two at the most.   If they have too many events, odds are they will only be able to spend two or three sentences on each idea/event.  
 Try this visual idea on your students.  Go to an office supply store and purchase either a 12 fine point set of markers or a box of 16 crayons.  Start with any color by underlining an event that is written about…..usually a topic sentence.  Keep using the same color until the student switches to a new event.  Sometimes you will have used the entire box of crayons or markers by the time you finish the paper! 
I use colored trains as graphic organizers for my students, with yellow being assigned to the introduction, blue for the 1st event or idea, green for the 2nd event or idea, and red for the conclusion.  If the beginning middle and end are developed enough, all the space available would only have 3 or 4 colors.  I also use colored blocks, monkeys, plastic balls and anything else I can find at Walmart to show the students visually how much they are developing or NOT developing their essays.  That way, it’s not just theory but practical strategies happening right in front of you with your very own students!   
Allow me the opportunity to model development of ideas with YOUR school soon and see your scores skyrocket!  Contact "The Write Prescription" to request a teaching training seminar at your school. 

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