Consider the following general suggestions for planning and creating writing assignments that work well: Writing assignments can be developed for different purposes:
Lack of student preparation for class is a common problem. One way to improve the quality of their preparation is to ask students to respond in writing before class to several thought provoking questions. These could be based on assigned readings, but the questions should relate directly to the topic of the next class period.
To insure they respond thoughtfully, ask students to email their responses to you the day before class. Or, better yet, have several of them post their responses on a web site where all the students are asked to read them prior to class.
In addition, ask everyone to bring a hard copy to class. Not only does this engage students more thoughtfully in the material, but their responses help you gauge their understanding before class: A general way to monitor student understanding that works well in large classes is to ask students at the end of the period to explain briefly in writing what they thought were: This technique is called "The Minute Paper," and generally takes no more than a few minutes to write.
The activity engages students in monitoring and evaluating their own understanding i. These provide an overview of students' thinking, common patterns of responses, and prominent misunderstandings-which the instructor can respond to at the next class period.
Tips to Implement Informal Writing Effectively Although informal writing assignments are generally low-stakes and not heavily weighted in course grades, instructors should make them count in some way.
Below are some different approaches to managing these assignments: Students collect informal work in a notebook or folder to be seen by the instructor N times during the semester The instructor collects work during class for immediate feedback reads and comments evaluates for engagement and effort checks that it has been done completion asks for an assignment to be read aloud in class asks students to read and comment on each other's work reads and discards requires and counts as part of participation grade Explain the purpose of informal writing assignments.
Otherwise, students may perceive them as busy work. Vary assignments throughout the semester to avoid monotony. Every course has certain concepts that are especially difficult for a large number of students. If you are still looking for strategies to deal with these "hard ideas," consider this.
Before you teach the idea sask students to write a response to a prompt or question that elicits their knowledge of the concept s. It is best if you can ask questions that get at the root of students' basic assumptions and beliefs about the topic.
Their answers indicate how they already conceive of the concept sand will probably reveal important misconceptions or gaps in their knowledge.
Then as you teach the class, ask students to respond again to the same initial question s e. These responses can be used in several ways to foster student understanding.
For example, have students compare their initial ideas with their later versions. Or ask students to read their responses in class, discuss them, and then further develop the ideas. Or ask students even in very large classes to read their responses to the person in the next seat, and then discuss the similarities and differences between the two versions.
In each case, students have an opportunity to analyze and extend their understanding. Moreover, their responses indicate their progress in understanding the material during the semester.
A Handbook for College Teachers. In Teaching Improvement Guide.The assignments below are generally short, informal, perhaps ungraded writing assignments that instructors might consider adapting to their classes.
Students often appreciate the opportunity to explore their thoughts on paper in a way that relieves the pressure of a longer, more formal writing assignment.
Informal writing refers to writing that is used for communication between friends and relatives or by an individual to retain information for later reading.
In a school setting, informal writing assignments get students writing without strict grading requirements. Informal Writing Assignments. A legitimate alternative form of student writing is informal writing done inside or outside the classroom.
Through informal writing, student engagement, learning, and critical thinking can be encouraged and assessed. However, there are times where writing can be very informal, for example, when writing postcards or letters to friends, emails or text messages. There are also examples where spoken English can be very formal, for example, in a speech or a lecture.
Informal Writing Assignments “Write to Learn” This link offers specific examples of a few different ways to envision the dialectical notebook. Question-Hypothesis-Question. Have students ask a question, hypothesize possible answers, then ask new questions based upon information gained through lecture or .
Grading, of course, fits within all types of informal assessments as it is usually integrated into most assignments as a way to evaluate that individual piece of work.