The Story of My Thinking by Gretchen Bernabei, Dorothy N Hall. Expository Writing Activities for 13 Teaching Situations - Heinemann Publishing
The Story of My Thinking
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The Story of My Thinking

Expository Writing Activities for 13 Teaching Situations

The Story of My Thinking provides 13 writing activities for familiar teaching situations, with step-by-step lessons that help you bridge the gap between narrative and informative writing, giving you the flexibility of dipping in and out of the lessons as you need them.

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Full Description

“If students used structures that more closely tracked the movement of their mind, weaving their own slaloms between the twins of knowledge and experience, readers would be more inclined to lean in and vicariously experience that movement of the mind.  Wouldn’t they?” Gretchen Bernabei and Dorothy Hall

In their signature easy-to-implement style, Gretchen Bernabei and Dorothy Hall offer new options for teaching expository writing that more realistically match the way readers actually think and writers actually write.  While many state assessments as well as the Common Core ask students to write about their opinions, the goal in The Story of My Thinking is to help teachers take their kids through the various stages of the writing process (from generating ideas to publication) in a way that breaks down the barrier between “academic” writing and “creative” writing and helps kids produce vibrant nonfiction with voice and conviction.

The Story of My Thinking provides 13 writing activities for familiar teaching situations, with step-by-step lessons that help you bridge the gap between narrative and informative writing. Using the same classroom-tested strategies that made Crunchtime a bestseller, the authors give the flexibility of dipping in and out of the lessons as you need them.  For example, “If you want them to explore topics for deep development and systemic growth,” use Gretchen’s “Inner Streams/Gritty Life” activity along with the tools that help students plan their thinking.  Choose the lesson that matches your teaching situation today, and then another one tomorrow.

When authentic, personal experiences replace canned, pre-written topics, and students are provided with structures that reflect how readers read, their writing transforms from formulaic to passionate.  And when students have plenty of chances to write about topics that are meaningful to them, in a variety of ways, for a variety of situations, then they will be ready for any writing assignment.

Contents

Teaching Situation 1: If you want to begin with heartfelt moments from the students’ lives
Activity: Indelible Moments

Teaching Situation 2: If you want them to write tightly focused memories with a reflective layer
Activity: Personal Narrative with Reflection

Teaching Situation 3: If you want to start with a personal narrative they just wrote
Activity: Elastic Essays from Narratives

Teaching Situation 4: If you want to start with their journal writing
Activity: Mining Journals

Teaching Situation 5: If you want a quick backup plan for anxiety reduction
Activity: 11-Minute Essay

Teaching Situation 6: If you want them to explore topics for deep development and systemic growth
Activity: Inner Streams/Gritty Life

Teaching Situation 7: If you want them to respond to a prompt for fast habit development
Activity: (Test) Prompt Assignments

Teaching Situation 8: If you want them to make all of the choices
Activity: Open Essay

Teaching Situation 9: If you want them to focus on developing a body of informational content
Activity: Cubing

Teaching Situation 10: If you want them to develop a thesis first
Activity: KillerThesis:Three-in-One

Teaching Situation 11: If you want them to write an essay about a book they’ve read (or any literature)
Activity: Book Report Essays

Teaching Situation 12: If you want them to use these skills for other content
Activity: Content Areas

Teaching Situation 13: If you want them to use the moves of other writers
Activity: Extracting Structures from Great Pieces

Samples

Companion Resources

Reviews

“The power of Gretchen’s work is that it reimagines academic writing as voiced and authentic—as something a reader might want to read.  In the current climate, this is a hugely important task.” Thomas Newkirk

“Gretchen Bernabei breathes life into teaching writing. Her students not only can but DO write well, meeting and exceeding standards as a natural by-product of authentic composition. Their writing comes alive on the page.” Carol Jago