Monday, August 4, 2008

edit request

OK, I need everybody to jump into your "way back machines" now and try to remember having to write when writing simply didn't come naturally to you or when you were really getting your pre-adolescent wordsmith wheels underneath ya.

I'm trying to come up with a writing checklist of sorts for a couple of summer school students of mine (boys; about to enter 6th grade, very reluctant writers) and I'd dearly love to give them some guidance without 1) forgetting something important, or 2) trying to over do it by including way too much information (which, unfortunately, is my tendency).

So please, please, please, tap into your 70's era schooldays memory banks and help me slodge through these nerve-wracking checklist tweaks.


Content how well did I write?
□ Did I remember to write only what I was told to write about?
□ Did I organize my ideas and information carefully … ?
• by listing the events from beginning to end [OR]
• by listing the facts from least important to most important [OR]
• by coming up with a set of questions then trying to answer those questions with good research [OR]
• by coming up with a main idea and then using good supporting details and descriptions to explain that idea
□ Did I select useful words that would help my readers understand what I’m trying to say, AND capture their interest AND hopefully create images in their minds?
□ Did I use plenty of well-researched information? [from other books, encyclopedias, magazines, the internet, etc.]
□ Did I check to make sure all my facts are correct?

Formathow does my writing look?
□ Did I choose a good title?
□ Did I include my name and the date?
□ Did I number each page?

Mechanicshow well did I follow the rules of writing?
□ Are all my paragraphs indented?
□ Did I capitalize words correctly?
□ Are all my words spelled correctly?
□ Did I make sure each sentence was complete and made sense?
□ Did I make sure every sentence had the same verb tense?
□ Did I use correct ending punctuation as well as all other punctuation?
□ Did I use quotation marks correctly when including someone else’s words?
□ Did I include a proper bibliography if I borrowed someone else’s work?

For any and all assistance, my appreciation knows no bounds!


Dave said...

Other than when instructed by a judge, I'm not sure I've ever written only about what I was told to write.

molly gras said...

I know ... it sounds a bit weird "only write what you've been told to write", but I was trying to eliminate some potentially confusing writers' jargon (i.e.: "did you stick to your topic" or "did you stay true to the written task you've been assigned" or even "did you make sure to wrote everything you are supposed to write about" etc.)

In other words, this one point was very much linguistically and cognitively tripping me up.

Now you see why I put my crazy request out there.

Hedy said...

I struggle adding anything to this most excellent list you've compiled. The only advice I'd give (which helped me more than any grammar class) was to "write like you talk." It seems to help people who lose their ability to write well because they're so focused on all the grammatical rules. Maybe I'd say "use your own voice" on your list. Please let us know how the list goes over and if it helps your students. Thanks.

molly gras said...

Hedy -
GREAT piece of advice! I've already added it -- plus, hopefully, tightened up my first point that was kindly pointed out to me by Dave.

Thanks to you both.

BTW - lil sis had to call me because she felt verbiage would get her points across best (i.e., outlining is key ... never forget it!!)

Again, thanks to you all for very valued advice.

Cheers :)