Smart Writing by Laura Robb. Practical Units for Teaching Middle School
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Smart Writing

Practical Units for Teaching Middle School Writers

By Laura Robb

“Having powerful reasons to write and a teacher who motivates— a teacher who’s tuned into the emotional and academic needs of young adolescents—is a tough order. But it can be done and it makes all of the difference to middle school writers.”

Laura Robb
 

In her groundbreaking Teaching Middle School Writers Laura Robb showed teachers how to use adolescents’ interests and motivations to enliven and personalize their academic writing. Robb’s new Smart Writing series builds on this foundation offering practical writing units that are uncommonly attuned to middle school writers’ social and developmental...

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This product is part of the series:  The Smart Writing Series


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Full Description

“Having powerful reasons to write and a teacher who motivates— a teacher who’s tuned into the emotional and academic needs of young adolescents—is a tough order. But it can be done and it makes all of the difference to middle school writers.”

Laura Robb
 

In her groundbreaking Teaching Middle School Writers Laura Robb showed teachers how to use adolescents’ interests and motivations to enliven and personalize their academic writing. Robb’s new Smart Writing series builds on this foundation offering practical writing units that are uncommonly attuned to middle school writers’ social and developmental needs.

Providing the language and lessons she has honed over 45 years in the classroom, Robb’s eight units of study will help you craft writing instruction that:

  • taps into adolescents’ desire for responsibility, relationships, and choice
  • guides students step by step through the writing of memoirs; short, short stories; and persuasive, analytical, informative, and compare/contrast essays and free choice writing
  • aligns with the Common Core’s writing genres
  • includes engaging, age-appropriate mentor texts
  • is assessment driven and incorporates self and peer evaluations.

Smart Writing components:

  • The Teacher’s Guide offers practical tips for using mentor texts; shows how the units fit into a variety of schedules; and explains the benefits of developing writing criteria for teachers and students.
  • Each of the 8 units of study (5 books) lays out 4 to 6 weeks of instruction and provides the lessons, mentor texts, tools, and grade-specific writing criteria needed to teach the full writing process.
  • The Resources CD-ROM offers print and video resources including mentor texts, criteria charts, evaluation forms, and student handouts.
  • The compact Smart Writing Handbook reinforces important lessons and offers tips, rules, and guidelines for students writing on their own.

The Smart Writing series includes:

Contents

Smart Writing ‘s eight writing units provide all the lessons and teaching tools you need to teach the writing genres middle school students need most.

Getting Started
In this introductory unit you learn about students' writing lives and show them how to find topics they care about, study a mentor text, plan their writing, and craft effective leads and endings.

Narrative Writing
UNIT 2: Writing a Short Memoir
Building on a significant memory, students learn to use specific details, dialogue that showcases personality and emotions, and strong verbs to bring energy and voice to their writing about the event.
UNIT 3: Writing a Short, Short Story
Mingling truth with imagination to craft a short story, students explore how to fictionalize a true experience and how to use specific details to show, not tell.

Argument
UNIT 4: Writing a Persuasive Essay
Students learn how to develop an opinion about a topic they choose, craft leads and endings that support argument writing, and convince others to side with them and take action as a result of the argument.
UNIT 5: Writing an Analytical Essay
After reading and analyzing narrative texts, students develop a thesis statement and support their position using explicit details and inferences from the text.

Informational/Explanatory Writing
UNIT 6: Writing an Informative Essay
Students find and focus a topic that interests them, consider what their audience knows about the topic, and then develop categories that introduce compelling information.
UNIT 7: Writing a Compare/Contrast Essay
Students research the events that frame a piece of historical fiction and figure out why the author includes, omits, or alters information, then, in an essay, they compare historical fact with the author's version, trying to explain the author's position and purpose.

Free Choice Writing
UNIT 8: Writing in Any Genre
Free choice writing encourages independence and responsibility because students move through the entire writing process relying on their own knowledge, past lessons, and expertise and the support of peer partners.

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