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HOW do I teach a high schooler to write?

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  • 3 weeks later...

How has the feedback been in those classes?

I tend to take a very active role in writing when kids are struggling. I will literally sit there and plan it myself and talk out the steps so they hear it. For my middle school students, I'll even set the whole thing up as questions for them. And I can be a bit relentless about making them fix it. Like, not every assignment has to come to some perfect end. But some assignments should keep on until they're there. I'll also pull out sections and reword parts. I'm an overbearing editor... until they start to get it and we can transition to more and more questions and lighter suggestions.

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If her writing is getting worse, I would suspect she is writing in "panic mode," meaning she is shutting down and cannot think straight.

If you turned writing into something completely non-academic, could she write it?  If so, I would stop giving essay assignments and only request writing that will rebuild her confidence.  Then, when you think she is ready to start back to essays, I would take the same approach as Farrar.  I would talk her through every step.  If you need help breaking down the steps into simple manageable steps, you could go way back to a simple writing book aimed at younger children.  (Buy something old and cheap where you wont care that you only use part of it.....maybe something like this middle school book https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0669467731/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used ) 

Until she is outputing simple essays that are presented coherently and logically, I wouldn't push her to write anything more advanced.  I would focus on success and confidence over pushing progress toward more complex analysis for at least the first entire semester, maybe the entire yr depending on how she is responding.  You still have all next yr to work on analysis.  If she can get her writing skeleton solid with confidence, then fleshing out thoughts and details will get easier.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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