As an English teacher, I’ve always felt one of my biggest challenges was how to teach students to write well. Adding to this struggle was the fact that our school district fell prey to the dreaded five paragraph essay. In fact, I feel pretty confident that I am guilty of destroying an entire generation of my students’ writing skills by subjecting them to the cookie-cutter five-paragraph recipe to writing. So, it’s time to make amends.
I highly recommend this book: Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher
I’ve been a fan of Kelly Gallagher’s work since I came across Readicide. When I read that book, it reaffirmed all the experiences I was seeing in my classroom on a daily basis. However his latest book might be my favorite. Write Like This offers simple, outstanding lessons that build a solid foundation to good writing. If you click the link above, read the “swiss army knife” review, it’s spot on.
I do find it a bit ironic however that this year the ACT has dropped the mandatory writing requirement. However, it was that requirement that led to so many schools to teach the cookie-cutter method in the first place. So maybe we can all get back to teaching our students how to write well. Gallagher has provided us with a good start.
The link below contains a modified chart that I found in Gallagher’s book, this chart has been extremely beneficial in helping my students brainstorm for the argumentative essay.