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Strategies: Writing to Learn
Andrea Culver: Write down who do you think the target audience of this kind of music is? What age group do you think listens to this when it’s popular? Do you think it’s for adults? Do you think it’s for teenagers?
9th Grade Pre-AP English 1
Sheldon Early College High School, Houston, Texas
Andrea Culver: Writing to learn it’s essentially low stakes writing. So what you do is your students have paper and you ask a question and it’s usually pretty short. And they write, the respond to it.
Andrea Culver: I want you to write about what we saw, what stuck with you, what do you think is important? What do you not care for?
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Andrea Culver: It’s just a way for them to process the information that you’re giving them and it’s a very low stakes environment. I don’t take a grade on writing to learn, the kids to know that. And they know that if they turn it, the only other person that’s going to see it is me. It gets them accustomed to putting their thoughts on paper in a way that isn’t scary. They don’t have to worry about what the rest of the class thinks. They don’t have to worry about what kind of grade they’re going to get.
Andrea Culver: I’ll give you about 45 seconds, why do you think the Blues is called the Blues? How did it get its name? What do you think? If you don’t know, that’s okay, take a guess.
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Andrea Culver: In my classroom, sometimes we call them writing to think. And we’ve talked about the connotation that’s there with learn and with think. So when we write to learn it’s because you’re going to be writing something that I’m teaching you. When we write to think that’s when you’re organizing your own thoughts.
Andrea Culver: What the students really get out of these kinds of activities is they’re able to process the information in a way that’s going to make them retain it.
Andrea Culver: So tell me what stuck with you and I want to know what kind of music sounds like the most what you listen to today.
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Andrea Culver: By doing something like writing to learn where they’re addressing these things in a low stakes environment that gives them the opportunity to sort of learn for themselves or think it out for themselves.