Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Red Green Marker Writing

Red Green Marker Writing

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Dr. Seuss

Teaching writing skills to my middle school students is one of the toughest tasks I undertake every year.  For me, it is very complicated.  How do I get students to edit and proof-read their writing effectively?  Where do I begin with students whose writing skills range from second to fifth grade?  Do I teach organization or how to write a complete sentence first?  The questions are complicated. 

Before watching Red Green Marker Writing the answers were elusive and complicated as well.
This strategy is quick, efficient, and effective.  The part I really like is the immediate feedback I am able to give kids as they write.  Rather than spending hours after school looking at paper after paper with the same mistakes over and over again, I can quickly let students know if they are practicing the skill correctly or making mistakes that need to be fixed.

Red Green Marker Writing is the simple answer to my complicated questions.  I am able to teach the skill, allow the kids to practice it, and monitor their progress during the timed writing exercise.  If they are doing it correctly, they receive a green mark indicating they are right on track.  If they are practicing the skill incorrectly, they receive a red mark telling them they need to correct the error as they continue to write. As always, WBT principals are embedded with the students required to give verbal affirmation with an “okay, or thanks,” after I give them a red or green mark.

Finally, kids are required to consciously think not only of what they are writing about but how they are writing during the timed exercise.  They must critically analyze their writing focusing on a specific skill or skills as they write.  Critical thinking is now purposely part of the writing process, and for my special education kids this is a big step.
Typical timed writing would be looked at as something to get done as quickly as possible with little thought to the writing other than what they are writing about.  Now, the students get help and guidance as they write and I improve my use of teaching time.  Red Green Marker Writing is the simple answer to my complicated questions.

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