As librarians, we often struggle to help our student researchers understand that post-research writing is more than just listing facts or stating one’s own perceptions of the world. In the “olden days,” we would have sorted our paper index cards and painstakingly outlined (sometimes more than once!) before we wrote a rough draft.
In the past decade or two, we have been under such administrative pressure to “incorporate technology” that, accidentally, we may have truncated the traditional experience of stating a case and then giving supporting details.
As Common Core testing inches ever-closer, it calls on all grade levels to return to a more classical, traditional approach. From writing standards to research standards, the vocabulary of “topic sentence” and “supporting details” are bubbling back up to the surface.
What do you do to help kids get ready to snap into this more formal development of arguments?
Here are some questions on our minds to get your thinking started:
1. Is outlining still important in the digital age?
2. In a Facebook era of, “Like,” with no rationale required, how do we steer children’s brains back into having to provide reasons?
3. How do we fight against overly-formulaic writing, even as such writing may become an essential survival strategy on standardized tests?
4. In early years, how do you use storytime as a way of both eliciting student predictions and getting them to back them up?
5. What writing strategies or scaffolds do you use to help students organize their thoughts?
Of course, we’re sure you’ve got even more interesting stuff on your mind. Lend us a hand and help us get these columns organized before we start school? Thanks!