Debby Ellis Writing Center

Teaching Writing In Your Classroom

Providing Opportunities for Low-Stakes Writing

Offering opportunities for low-stakes writing allows students to practice new skills and receive feedback before they write their final papers for your class. 

Practicing Research

  • #25 –Testing the credibility of sources - This activity can be helpful to encourage students to think about what kinds of sources are appropriate for writing in your class.

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  • #26 – Holding a research scavenger hunt – coming soon.
 

Practicing Summary

  • #27 – Reverse-outlining a text to summarize it - This activity is designed to help students recognize the key points of a text and to see the distinction between paraphrasing and summarizing. 

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  • #28 –Paraphrasing a difficult section of the text - Bean also suggests having students “translate” a particularly difficult section of a text you’re reading. This activity reinforces good reading strategies and builds student confidence by reassuring them that the work they’re undertaking is difficult but not unmanageable.
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  • #29 –Identifying “keystone quotes” - This activity asks students to think critically about the structure of a text and to identify its most significant moments. 

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  • # 30 –Collaborating on an annotated bibliography - This is an activity that Dr. Hajovsky uses in his courses. It allows students to practice summary and to see its practical application. It also serves as an introduction to the genre of the annotated bibliography.

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Practicing Building Connections

  • #31 Comparing and contrasting texts - This assignment encourages students to make connections across texts and to connect individual texts to the larger goals of the course.
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  • #32 Tying texts to discussion - This assignment asks students to apply the ideas from texts to the ideas they or their classmates present in class discussion.

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  • #33 –Connecting across disciplines - This activity is based on one President Burger mentioned using in his math classes. It is designed to get students thinking more broadly about the work you’re doing in your class and to consider how ideas from your class might apply in other academic contexts. 

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  • #34 Building real-world connections - This encourages students to think about how the ideas from course texts might apply in a practical context outside of the classroom.

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Practicing Generic Conventions

  • #35 – Rewriting generic conventions - This assignment is designed to allow students time to think about generic conventions without having to worry about invention. 

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Practicing Brainstorming & Prewriting

  • #36 – Cubing ideas - This exercise can work well both in and outside of class. It is a way to get students to start thinking about topics for their papers and possible approaches to those topics.
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Practicing Recognizing Structure

  • #37 – Annotating a course text for summary and structure - This activity is designed to help students recognize the structure of a text.

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  • #38 – Making a says/does chart -This exercise is designed to help students recognize the structure of course texts so that they can better recognize, discuss, & plan the structure of their own writing.  By adapting it to one of your course texts, you might also use this exercise to help facilitate class discussion or to quickly check for student understanding of the reading. This assignment might also build on earlier summaries or annotations developed by students and could be adapted for individual or group work.  For an example of a says/does chart, click here.
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Practicing Developing Ideas

  • #39 – Writing a microtheme – These short assignments allow students to explore one part of their argument, so they can get your feedback on their assembly of evidence and organization before they continue to their larger papers.
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Practicing Evidence Use

  • #40 – Arguing with a text - This assignment encourages a critical engagement with the texts for your course and builds student confidence for “entering a conversation” with other authors in their own work. 

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Practicing Citation

  • #41 – Practicing citation - This practice will get students into the habit of citing texts correctly and allow time for clarification before they begin citing in higher-stakes writing assignments.

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Next: Facilitating Revision