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Getting Students On The "Write" Track

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Teaching the writing process to students is nothing new to veteran English teacher Vicki Blackstone, but this year she decided to take the lessons outside of just classroom hours.

“It is important that students can write an argument essay with a thesis and support before they enter high school,” said Blackstone.

In order to ensure that this happens, Blackstone has developed a Writing Lab process, a way of teaching that ensures her students never get too far off track during their essay writing. 

At the start of the assignment, each student is given a rubric outlining the essay’s expectations for final grading, as well as quality example essays to use as a guide. 

The essays follow the Formal Writing Process Formula, which begins with developing a thesis, followed by an outline. Once this step is completed, they move on to each point of the outline and develop paragraph by paragraph until a five-paragraph paper has been created. Students will write independently in class, as they wait to be called up for a one-to-one conference. Those that want a little more help can sign up before and after school for scheduled appointments. 

“Good writing is a college readiness skill, and employers are seeking candidates with powerful written communication skills,” explained Blackstone. “So working in a writing lab with a teacher helps students:

  • understand the importance of audience

  • recognize strengths and weaknesses in their writing

  • develop a master plan for proofreading, editing, and revision 

The Writing Lab is a valuable tool in preparing our students for life beyond our classrooms. Mrs. Blackstone agrees, "I like to think working one on one writing with a teacher provides a PCA student an academic and workforce edge."