Tuesday, February 3, 2015

When To Hold 'Em and When to Fold 'Em?

As a writing interventionist, I see my students for 20 minutes a week. For some students, intervention happens every other week. It's kind of maddening but it can't be helped because of the way the school schedule is structured. 

One of the challenges of this schedule is the time spent on a piece of writing. I'm finding that working on an essay might not be the best use of my time with these students, only because it takes many, many weeks to finish a standard 5 paragraph essay. Right now, two of my students are working on persuasive essays. We are looking at elaboration strategies and how can they be used to develop ideas and organize an essay. Trouble is, we've been writing these pieces for so long, it is starting to feel tiresome, stagnant and boring! We ran out of steam awhile ago but I feel compelled to follow through and finish the piece. 

So, the question is: should I stop working on these pieces with the students? And if I do that, how do I close it out or explain why we are leaving the pieces incomplete?

I do know this: I need to rethink what kinds of writing I can realistically accomplish with my students in the limited time that I have, without dragging it out forever. Paragraphs are great writing practice but when a student needs to work on organization, a paragraph won't suffice. Time to get creative! 

{Click the orange slice above to see more Slices of Life at Two Writing Teachers.}