Does this sound familiar?-a writing period where you go step by step together to add a header, the title, the intro paragraph with the Tab indenting and set up the next paragraph together…..reminding them the whole time to add punctuation, and they still don’t all have everything they’re supposed to include…you walk around checking each computer and correcting students as they type. At this rate getting through a full essay is going to take days, and you’re already dreading the next writing unit you’ll have to do. Unfortunately, this situation is familiar to most of us. Today, in under 30 minutes, you’re going to learn how to elevate students’ writing, so this becomes a thing of the past! AND, students’ writing scores naturally increase, whether on an essay or on a state test!
Incorporate 2 Key Strategies.
The answer lies in incorporating two key strategies into your ELA routine!
Strategy #1: Use a proven writing framework and apply it to EVERY writing assignment.
The heart of the EBW Approach is the claim, premise, evidence, and justification. Basically, it’s a students’ position as they answer a question and then how they can back it up with evidence and explanation. It’s natural to tie this into text-dependent writing, and students should be using it ALL THE TIME. You give students a writing prompt, and then they write a response with a claim, premise, evidence, and justification.
Those four terms need to become so ingrained in students that they automatically include them in all their writing. They need to know the order those appear in an essay, how to craft a strong claim, how to find and cite relevant evidence, and then of course, how to justify it.
This means that students need to write more than 1 or two text-dependent or literary analysis essays during the year. They need to be using the EBW framework on a weekly basis, whether it’s a full-blown essay, a short response, or even just searching for relevant evidence in a text. This writing framework must be rinsed and repeated and sprawled into your lessons consistently.
Repeatedly requiring students to use the EBW framework helps students develop familiarity with its structure. They begin to internalize the process of constructing a well-organized piece of writing. Repetition helps them become more efficient and fluent in their writing, as they no longer need to spend excessive time and mental energy figuring out how to start an essay or what to write next!
The framework serves as a scaffold, guiding them through each step of the writing process and ensuring they include the essential elements like TAG, summary, claim, etc. By repeatedly using the framework, students are less likely to forget a key component of their writing, like “introducing the evidence.”
Using the writing framework every single week also instils confidence in students. It eliminates writer’s block or not knowing how to begin. Instead, students have a sense of direction and purpose when they are given a writing task. This confidence allows them to focus more on the content and creativity of their writing, as they no longer have to worry about the structure.
Relying on that structure also helps students develop a sense of discipline and organization in their writing habits. These skills are transferable to other areas of the ELA classroom, which leads us to our next strategy.
Strategy #2 Increase Students’ Writing Scores!
Integrate the structure of the EBW framework into EVERYTHING that you do in the classroom. You now know the importance of using it in all writing assignments, but where else can it be applied?
- Small group discussion
- Whole class discussions
- Socratic seminars
- Silent Debates
- Graphic essays
- Speed debating activities
- Class games
- Think, pair share…you get the idea!
Use the Framework in ALL Activities.
There are so many ripple effects when you require students to use parts of the EBW framework in all your ELA activities, and not just during an essay assignment.
Critical thinking is a big one. Students are encouraged to dig deeper when you require their discussions be built around evidence and justification. They need to think deeply about their position and provide reasoning to support it. This process helps them evaluate information, consider multiple perspectives from their classmates, and make informed judgments.
In addition, when you require students to include supporting evidence for their claims, they have to demonstrate their ability to gather and analyze information from various sources. It strengthens the credibility of their arguments and helps convince their classmates that their claims are valid. It’s a huge win that when you encourage students to provide evidence in any ELA activity they complete in class, it’s fostering their research skills and their ability to present well-supported arguments.
And then when you have students include justification in all their ELA activities, it helps them deepen their understanding of the subject matter and develop persuasive communication skills.
When students are integrating the components of the EBW Approach in all that they do, their writing will naturally improve since they are essentially practicing their craft every single day!
So, if you want to increase your students’ writing scores, it is essential that students first use a proven writing framework, like the EBW Approach, for all their writing assignments, and next, apply the parts of that framework like evidence, justification, etc. into all class discussions and activities!
When those two strategies are consistently done in class, your students’ writing success is inevitable!