Students learn in different ways, each influenced by differing elements in a teacher’s style. This includes visual learners, who learn by seeing demonstrations, auditory learners, who learn by hearing instruction, and kinesthetic learners, who learn by doing projects themselves. While it may seem daunting to learn each student’s specific learning needs, you can incorporate elements of each of these in your lessons to create a diverse writing strategy.
Interactive teaching is a combined process of demonstration and explanation. Demonstrate the writing process by writing sentences on the dry erase board for visual learners, while verbally citing the reasons you made each writing decision for the auditory learners. For instance, write the sentence, “I had a sandwich, chips and soda for lunch,” while saying, “I’m writing a list, so I know that I need a comma between each list item.” This technique incorporates both visual and verbal teaching methods, in conjunction with the kinesthetic process of writing assignments.
Visual references include pictures drawn by students prior to beginning the writing process. Instruct your students to draw pictures, including some of the elements from the story they intend to write, providing a visual reference supporting the needs of the visual learners in your class. Interact with your students, walking around class, asking questions about each of their pictures. Encourage them to add additional elements to their pictures, but use this verbal engagement to stimulate your auditory learners. Use this technique to teach your visual learners to envision a scene as they write, and your auditory learners to get in the habit of asking their own questions as they write.
Group brainstorming provides a visual and auditory experience for students, allowing them to watch the prewriting process occur. Start the brainstorming process by writing a central idea in the center of your dry erase board and then expanding from it with adjoining ideas and lines connecting each to the original idea. Invite your students to add their own suggestions, turning the brainstorming process into a social event. Use this technique to teach students how to perform a visual and kinesthetic learning technique on their own, for writing projects outside of the narrative style, such as research papers or opinion papers.
Expanded topic flexibility allows students to focus their writing techniques around the topics and story formats with which they are most familiar. More flexible topics encourage students to think about their individual backgrounds, cultural influences and writing experience, to construct a topic to which they can closely relate. For instance, give your students a general topic idea, such as favorite family memory or ask students to discuss how their culture influences their ideals. Leave the specifics of each topic up to individual student interpretation, highlighting their diversity as part of the assignment.
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