The Six Academic Writing Assignments: Designing the User's Journey

The Six Academic Writing Assignments: Designing the User's Journey

by Jim Burke

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Overview

Writing assignments are road maps-or they should be. They guide the writer on a journey. They lay out a process, envision a destination. They are designed. As Jim Burke explains it: "What we are really doing when we create a year's worth of writing assignments, of experiences, is designing a story. Each day's class a sentence, each week a paragraph, each unit a chapter in the story of the year students spend in our classes. And as with any good story, there needs to be tension and transformation by the time one arrives at the end, or what I have called 'the user's journey.'"

These maps are crucially important for engaging students with academic writing, which is often unfamiliar territory. Drawing on his extensive review of academic writing assignments across the country, Jim identifies six major categories of writing assignments that help students become better writers, readers, and thinkers:

- Writing to learn
- Short answer
- Writing on demand
- Process paper (which goes through multiple drafts)
- Research paper/report
- Alternate forms (multimedia presentations, etc.).

For each assignment type, Jim invites us into his own practice. He shows how he composes the assignment, how he creates gateway activities to help prepare students, how he troubleshoots common problems, how he gives response, how he clarifies the criteria on which students will be judged. He also shows how these assignments are related-how the earlier assignments build to later more complex ones

So please join a master teacher at work. Take this journey with him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780325050942
Publisher: Heinemann
Publication date: 10/25/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 221,981
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jim Burke is the author of numerous bestselling Heinemann titles, including the English Teacher's Companion, Fourth Edition and What's the Big Idea? The question he's always tried to answer is "How can we teach our students better?" He seeks these answers daily through his work in his own classroom at Burlingame High School in California where he still teaches after twenty years. Facing the same constraints and challenges as every other teacher, Jim shares his creative solutions in bestselling professional titles with Heinemann such as Reading Reminders and Writing Reminders as well as through Heinemann Professional Development Services. As part of his commitment to helping teachers and learning how to use the latest technologies, he founded the English Companion Ning, described by Education Week as "the world's largest English department" and winner of several Edublog Awards for Best Social Network for Education. In addition to the EC Ning, Jim offers a steady stream of recommended resources through his website (www.englishcompanion.com) and Twitter (@englishcomp) where he is ranked in the top 100 educators to follow at the top within the online English teacher community. Jim serves on several national commissions related to adolescent literacy and standards, including the Advanced Placement English Literature and Language Course and Exam Review Commission with the College Board and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) where he serves on the Content Technical Working Group, which advises PARCC on the national assessments being developed for the Common Core State Standards. In addition, he is a senior author on the Holt McDougal Harcourt Literature series. Jim has received numerous awards, including the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award, the NCTE Conference on English Leadership Award, and the California Reading Association Hall of Fame Award. He served on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Committee on Adolescence and Young Adulthood English Language Arts Standards. Through his work in the class and on such commissions, Jim Burke seeks not only to clarify but reimagine what English should be, honoring the past even as he works with others to create the future of the discipline he loves so much. Visit his website (www.englishcompanion.com) for more information.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction: Designing the User's Journey 1

Epiphanies in the Copy Room 1

The Six Academic Writing Assignments We All Use 3

Assignments as a Window on Our Work 5

Reflect on Your Own Practice 9

1 Writing to Learn: Practicing Some Mental Moves 11

Writing to Learn (WTL): What it is and Why We Assign It 11

What Students Say and How They Struggle with WTL Assignments 17

The Forms and Features of WTL Assignments 18

Classroom Connection: What WTL Looks Like in My Class 33

Obstacles and Opportunities 44

Reflect on Your Own Practice 46

2 The Short Answer: Fostering the Art of Paying Attention and Close Reading 47

The Short-Answer (SA) Assignment: What it is and Why We Assign It 47

What Students Say and How They Struggle with SA Assignments 49

The Forms and Features of SA Assignments 53

Classroom Connection: What SA Assignments Look Like in My Class 59

Obstacles and Opportunities 62

Reflect On Your Own Practice 64

3 Writing on Demand: Finding on Authentic Pathway for Learning 66

Writing on Demand (WOD): What It Is and Why We Assign It 66

What Students Say and How They Struggle with WOD Assignment 67

The Forms and Features of WOD Assignments 68

Classroom Connection: What WOD Looks Like in My Class 73

Obstacles and Opportunities 80

Reflect on Your Own Practice 82

4 The Process Paper: Designing the Stages of Composing 83

The Process Paper: What It Is and Why We Assign It 83

What Students Say and How They Struggle with Process Papers 86

The Forms and Features of Process Paper Assignments 87

Classroom Connection: What Process Paper Assignments Look Like in My Class 95

Obstacles and Opportunities 108

Reflect on Your Own Practice 109

5 The Research Paper: Challenging Complexity 110

The Research Paper: What It Is and Why We Assign It 110

What Students Say and How They Struggle with Research Papers 113

The Forms and Features of Research Paper Assignments 118

Classroom Connection: What Research Paper Assignments Look Like in My Class 120

Obstacles and Opportunities 133

Reflect on Your Own Practice 134

6 Alternative Forms of Academic Writing: Implementing New Forms, Features, and Functions 136

Alternative Assignments: What They Are and Why We Assign Them 136

What Students Say and How They Struggle with Alternative Assignments 139

The Forms and Features of Alternative Assignments 140

Classroom Connection: What Alternative Assignments Look Like in My Class 143

Obstacles and Opportunities 153

Reflect on Your Own Practice 155

Conclusion: Teaching Writing Better by Design 156

Design Teams: Creating a Culture of Collaboration 156

Friction Points: What They Are and Why They Matter 159

The Paper Load: Collecting, Responding to, and Grading the Writing Assignments 161

References 164

Index 169

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