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Why Writing Matters

Why Writing Matters in Elementary Education/Early Childhood/Special Education

"Writing is many things for a teacher, both within and outside of the classroom. It is a tool for daily living and an art to be enjoyed; it is a way of knowing and a medium for thinking; it ranges from a mechanism for enhancing one's life to a machine for changing the world. As Margaret Atwood said, "A word after a word after a word is power." The teacher's task is to support students in finding real world opportunities to write in the classroom, and through those authentic experiences, to become powerful writers of many genres."

~Gretchen Owocki, Education Department

 

Why Writing Matters in Elementary Education/Early Childhood/Special Education

  • Writing helps to clarify and extend understanding of course topics
  • Writing supports learning
  • Writing is used to communicate with colleagues, administrators, parents, and students; teachers write a multitude of documents for different audiences and purposes
  • Writing is a reflection of a teacher's knowledge

Typical Writing Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Academic papers
  • Assessment reports
  • Student case studies
  • Journal responses to prompts
  • Quickwrites
  • Autobiographies (narrative with reflection on how experiences influence beliefs and practices)
  • Reflections (includes analysis of planning; analysis of student learning; analysis of teaching)
  • Rationales
  • Critiques
  • Activity plans/lesson plans
  • Graduate level inquiry projects

Qualities of Good Writing

  • Depth of thought
  • Use of professional literature to support, back up, and inform what is written
  • Grammar, syntax, semantics, and verb tense used in ways that are appropriate to the genre
  • Correct spelling
  • Effective organization; use of headings and subheadings to organize content
  • Clear, understandable language
  • Evidence student has clearly read the assignment and includes all the necessary components
  • Evidence student has carefully worked through stages in the writing process as appropriate; revision and editing are key

Appropriate Types of Evidence & Support

  • Professional journals (not idea magazines)
  • Proper citation of sources used in writing
  • Full explanation of ideas
  • Specific examples and reasons to support claims

Citation Conventions

  • Use APA citation format (MLA may be acceptable in some courses; check with instructor)
  • Understand different types of sources and how/why citation formats differ
  • Properly reference ALL sources used when writing
  • Learn how to use electronic bibliography/reference generators

Special Comments

Please pay special attention to the following areas of difficulty:

  • quoting
  • citing sources
  • following directions on the assignment
  • shifts in verb tense
  • clarity
  • differences between bibliography and reference page

References and Resources

Faculty Perspectives 
on Writing:

Colleen D'Arcy

Writing in the field of Teacher Education

My Writing Story

Example Papers

Elden Kohn
"Selling Poetry: Pushy with Pizzazz" (1,916kB)