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Ask students to come to class with a printout of their essay drafts.Then, instruct them to cut out each paragraph, mix them up and reassemble the pieces in a logical order.
Identifying the significance of creative choices authors make in fiction, such as dialogue, imagery and character development, is a key skill for eighth-grade language arts students, states the Ohio Department of Education. W.8.3.c Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)CCSS. W.8.5With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. W.8.7Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. W.8.4Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. W.8.8Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. Students must do research, interview administrators and other students and prepare an argument for their side of the issue.Bringing a guest judge, such as the principal, vice principal or another teacher, can lend objectivity to which side wins the debate. W.8.2.a Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. W.8.3.a Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 8 here.)CCSS. W.8.6Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others. Manipulating the paragraphs can help them research specific conclusions about their writing, such as that some paragraphs are too short or too long, off-topic or need to be reordered.Have students tape their essays back together when they are finished.A first grader had produced the following phrase: “Plants need water it need sun to” — that is, plants need water and sun, too.If the student didn’t learn how to correct pronoun disagreement and missing conjunctions, by high school he could be writing phrases like this one: “Well Machines are good but they take people jobs like if they don’t know how to use it they get fired.” That was a real submission on the essay section of the ACT.“It all starts with a sentence,” Dr. Focusing on the fundamentals of grammar is one approach to teaching writing. Many educators are concerned less with sentence-level mechanics than with helping students draw inspiration from their own lives and from literature.