|Secondary ELL students
must begin writing as quickly as possible in order to achieve proficiency
in the short amount of time available to them. They must begin with
words, move to sentences, and as soon as possible, be introduced to paragraph
Evaluation: If students are receiving
adequate practice, the amount of work to be corrected can become overwhelming.
It is not necessary to grade every assignment that students do!
Many exercises should be corrected in class, allowing student to make
corrections to their work. This procedure teaches students self
assessment, and these assignments can later be evaluated as part of the
notebook or portfolio. The exception to this is, of course, the
prompt, specific feedback required as students begin writing independently.
- Completion exercises: these exercises provide
a structured basis for writing. They are best utilized by providing
oral practice first, and then requiring students to write. Students
should write complete sentences, and not be allowed to just fill in
the missing words.
- Formulation exercises: students practice
written forms of new structures in response to written cues.
They may be preceded by oral practice.
- Sentence combining exercises: these exercises
develop fluency and flexibility in writing English sentences, as well
as a context for grammatical concepts. Students need to
receive constant corrective feedback in order to develop writing skills,
so it is imperative that these exercises be corrected.
- Guided writing exercises: students are guided
by cues to write correct sentences and paragraphs. These exercises
are an important transition from sentence formation to paragraph writing,
and should always be corrected.
- Classification and sequencing exercises:
these exercises are the foundation for paragraph writing, and serve
as prewriting activities. Students must have plenty of guided
practice before they are able to do these exercises on their own,
so it is most effective to do several on the board or overhead before
students do them individually.
- Outlining exercises: students begin creating
box outlines, and finally move to traditional outline format.
These exercises begin as reading exercises, but finally are the basis
for planning student writing. Students will need guided practice
before they are able to do these exercises individually.
- Paragraph writing: Students are actually
able to begin writing paragraphs fairly early if they are given a
great deal of structure and guidance. They may begin by copying
model paragraphs, followed by planning and writing class paragraphs.
Finally, they must learn to analyze writing prompts and respond to
them in an organized fashion. The most critical factor in the
development of writing skills is constant corrective feedback.
ELL students need timely, specific responses to their writing in order
to develop the skills required to write proficiently in English.