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A writing trick is:
A. A quick and easy way to improve your students' writing skills.
B. A technique to help students apply grammar, punctuation,
and even poetry skills within their writing.
C. A powerful way to meet your state's writing standard: "Uses
a variety of sentence structure."
D. All of the Above
Obviously, the answer is D, all of the above. Every worksheet in Writing Tricks is designed to teach your students important language skills while encouraging them to apply these skills within their writing. Once your students have mastered each trick, they will have a powerful skill that they will use for the rest of their lives.
Why Writing Tricks?
Early in my teaching career, our district's language arts series had a worksheet that required the students to use Appositives. (In case you've forgotten, here's an appositive: Mr. Dye, my fifth grade teacher, taught us how to write appositives.) The students completed the worksheet and we went on with the school year. The next year, I came across the same worksheet. It dawned on me that the students hadn't used that skill a single time during the course of the last school year.
I almost refused to do the worksheet again that year. Why bother? Then I thought, what if I taught the worksheet, called this type of sentence a "Trick", and MADE my students write these kinds of sentences within their writing? Within a week, not only had my students mastered the use of the comma within appositives, they were using a new sentence structure within their writing.
To make things even better, I had discovered an incredible side effect; my students were figuring out how to use this sentence in ways I could never image. They were using it in science, social studies, and all across the curriculum.
"George Washington, general of the Continental Army,
won the Battle of Yorktown."
"All of the elements of the universe are found on the Periodic Table, a chart that has the elements organized by each element's atomic number."
To make a long story short, an important discovery was made. Every chance I got, if I could think of a way to call a certain skill a "writing trick" I did. Here in this book I've included fourteen of my favorite writing tricks. Even if you did the worksheets simply to teach each skill, you are getting a great value. I encourage you to take each worksheet a step further and help your students learn the Tricks to better writing.
What grade levels will benefit from Writing Tricks Plus?
Most worksheets are age appropriate for Grades 3 and older. I've used many of these worksheets with average third graders. Obviously, the older the students, the more skillful they will be at applying each Writing Trick within their writing.
How it works:
1. Teach the writing trick using the worksheets.
MAKE the students use the writing trick immediately within a
paragraph or story.
2. Require students to practice the writing tricks for journal time,
homework, or future assignments.
3. When students revise their writing, they have fourteen writing
tricks that they can use to improve the quality of their writing.
Elizabeth was one of my fourth grade student a long time ago. She kept her writing trick worksheets in a folder. She was wonderful about using her writing tricks in every assignment.
When the school year ended, she saved her worksheets. She reviewed the worksheets every year and continued to use the writing tricks as she advanced through school. When teachers taught her new writing skills, although they did not call them "writing tricks", she recognized them as writing tricks and continued to grow.
Just before she graduated from the twelfth grade, Elizabeth received an award for outstanding writing at her high school. It was a nice surprise when Elizabeth told me about her accomplishments. She credited her collection of "tricks" as a big part of her success.
You will have many "Elizabeth's" of your own. These writing tricks will become such a strong part of your students' academic lives, they will not forget the one who taught these skills to them.
What do Writing Tricks look like?
Since you can only see a few worksheets, here is a list of the writing tricks featured in this book. This will give you an idea of the types of sentences your students will be learning to write:
"When we get to the mall," said Mom, "we'll look for your friend's birthday gift."
Introductory Phrase / Clause:
While we all slept, Santa delivered presents for all of us.
Amy, my best friend in the world, is having a party.
Anthony worked, if you can call that work, for an hour.
Shawn, you did a great job.
Words in a Series:
At the dance we're going to shake, rattle, and roll all night.
Phrases in a Series:
The cat raced up the tree, across the branch, and over the fence.
A short, chubby man walked into the room.
The cheetahs bolted across the field.
The waiter carried the dishes carefully across the room.
In the middle of the room happy, little children sat at Mrs. Johnson's feet listening to a story.
Simile / Metaphor:
We raced out of the room like bolts of lightning.
If the music gets any louder my head will explode.
Coach said Jimmy is off the team because he's a loose cannon.
*Student workbooks available for $10 each at http://www.createbetterwriters.com/Writing_Tricks_Plus.html