- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers; 1 edition (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1571108963
- ISBN-13: 978-1571108968
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 89 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts 1st Edition
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About the Author
Kelly, a "baseballoholic" and a self-described expert at negotiating airports, is in his 33rd year of teaching at the high school level.
He currently teaches at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California.
He believes that "there is no greater pleasure than teaching someone something." Teaching is "artistic, it matters a great deal, and I can never get the job down perfectly."
Kelly thinks that professional development should treat teachers as such - professionals. "I know in the classroom that good things happen when my students have meaningful discussions. I know as a teacher myself that my craft sharpens when I am given the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with my peers. And let's have a laugh or two while we are at it."
Writing his six books for Stenhouse was a solitary experience. "Though I have written outlines prior to each of my books, I have yet to follow any of them step-by-step. That is why I find writing rewarding - because the act of writing itself generates new thinking, and new thinking is always exciting."
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Meaning? If it's your writing instruction that needs beefing up, WRITE LIKE THIS should find its way onto your to-be-read pile. It is as if Kelly Gallagher has lent you his "writing teacher" playbook -- a mix of writing plays he's either created or borrowed himself over his career. Gallagher first breaks writing instruction down into six categories, then devotes a chapter to each. They are "Express and Reflect," "Inform and Explain," "Evaluate and Judge," Inquire and Explore," "Analyze and Interpret," and "Take a Stand/Propose a Solution." These are followed with chapters containing helpful hints on revision and editing. You might consider writing for these purposes and these purposes only simplistic, but Gallagher acknowledges that they blend into each other all the time in real-world writing. Master them in isolation and students can eventually step up and combine these skills to good effect.
Once you wade into the Big Six chapters, you will find creative activities doable in a single period as well as assignments that might take a few days of writing. Gallagher sends wave after wave, activity after activity, with succinct instructions and humorous asides. Your job is simply to cherry pick (did I mention that English teachers, both busy and practical, like cherries?).
The foundation of all of these ideas is modeling. Gallagher believes the single most effective form of writing instruction is drafting in front of the class while you think aloud. That's right -- first draft, warts and all. You may not consider yourself a very good writer, but you're the strongest writer in the room. Also, Gallagher advocates the use of professional models for students to emulate. He provides authentic examples in each chapter (and in the appendix for copying and marking up).
If this doesn't sound attractive to the busy English teacher, I'm not sure what will. You can literally open it in the mail one day and have a ready-to-go writing lesson the next. Quibbles? Few of the strategies lead to full-length, more formal papers. If that's what you're after, you might consider many of these exercises more of the warm-up variety. And the book suffers from more typos than an English PD book has a right to, telling me, perhaps, that its publication date was moved forward too quickly. That said, the book is more than worth your investment in time and money. Young writers need these compelling, creative, and quick activities to hone their skills. Thus, analyzing a painting or a chart (two ideas) will serve as a gateway for instruction on literary analysis later on.
Bottom line? I recommend this book, especially if "busy" is one of your favorite words. Look at it this way: reading it and using it will actually make you LESS busy. It will also make your students happier with and stronger at their writing. What more could a teacher ask for? (Wait, don't answer that!)