Saturday 16 April 2011

Developing writing with monthly journals

image by gregoryhogan
Time to share one of my favourite writing practice tasks.

I have been using this type of tasks with my students for many years and it has always proved to be successful. Students have always given positive feedback and even those who usually don't feel like writing anything at all, eventually hand in their product and eagerly wait for the grade. They admit it is a challenging task but it might also be one of the reasons why they like it.

What is it? It is a monthly journal with a short task for each day of the month.

I put the daily tasks in the table which represents one calendar month, week by week, day by day. This particular task was created for December 2008 when the 1st day was Monday.

The students are asked to write a short paragraph, an opinion, a list of words, a definition etc - one entry per day.
They are encouraged to use dictionaries and encyclopedias, eg Wikipedia or any other. The tasks require browsing reference and looking for information. I allow the students to draw pictures or colour the pages if they want.

I create a grading scale depending on the total number of points I am going to give. Usually it is 3-5 points per entry. Each teacher can devise his/her own marking scale.

Here is the worksheet to download but you will no doubt create your own, if only because of the dates.
Though this task is more suitable for students whose English is a foreign language, I am sure a modified task can work well with other students too.
The teacher needs to adjust the difficulty of each (daily) task depending on the students' level.

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