If middle school students are to learn to think, reason, and communicate, they should be encouraged to use writing as a means to discover what matters. They must “struggle with details, wrestle with the facts, and rework raw information and dimly understood concepts” (National Commission On Writing, 2003, p. 9). This does not happen through repetitive, skill-and-drill exercises and endless prompts. It happens when teachers understand that writing is thinking on paper and when they provide rich, diverse opportunities for students to practice that thinking.
This, in a nutshell, will be the guiding philosophy to teach writing to all writers in the workshop, especially to the middle school students.
An overview of topics covered
Understanding the Writing Process at the Middle School Level
Vocabulary exercises using vocabtests for meaningful word usage and for standardized test preparation (This will be in addition to grammar and vocabulary exercises that will be taught as part of the mini-lessons.)
Writing Traits: A complete set of lessons on all the writing traits, including authentic student samples and meaningful assignments. ( To understand the definition of each writing trait, please click here.)
A note about Traits Based Learning: The traits have always been the language of our writer’s workshop ( especially beginning Middle School), and the students are trained to talk to each other like writers during our workshop time. The goal of the workshop is to teach the students to use the language of the traits meaningfully, and that diligence makes all the difference as we prepare the students for their middle school writing work, for the rigors of high school, and–most importantly–for any kind of writing in life. In essence, the goal is to make every student passionate about writing, and teaching the students to use and think with traits language is what makes that possible.
Click here to view a sample mini-lesson that is used to teach the trait of Organization in writing.
Mini-Lessons: Following are some of the mini-lessons covered for new writers. Depending on the student’s aptitude and writing ability, mini-lessons may be modified to provide additional reinforcements and/or challenges. Curriculum for mini-lessons is based on Common Core requirements.
Essays: In addition to the above, all students will be exposed to at least three to four different genres of writing in which they will be taught to write and publish journals or essays. Learning to write well-developed essays and academic papers is the ultimate goal for every writer.
Middle School New – Sample list of topics from the previous session
- Mini-Lesson : Ideas (Using grade level 6 + 1 Traits)
- Mini-Lesson : Organization (Using grade level 6 + 1 Traits)
- Mini-Lesson : Word Choice (Using grade level 6 + 1 Traits)
- Mini-Lesson: Literary Analysis
- Mini-Lesson : Grade Level Vocabulary & Grammar
- Essay Genres : Grade Level Expository, Argumentative, Compare/Contrast, Cause/Effect
- Creative Writing: Poetry
All new writers must complete an initial assessment along with registration. The Initial Assessment & Parent Orientation will be held on Saturday, Jan 14, 2017 from 9:30 – 10:30 AM or 11:30 – 12: 30 PM. Plan to attend any one session. This session must be attended by the new writer and one parent. Indicate your preference on the registration form.