Writing to Learn Tips & Tricks

Vol. 1

W2L Refresher

According to The WAC Clearinghouse Writing to Learn is:

"... activities [that] are short, impromptu or otherwise informal writing tasks [to] that help students think through key concepts or ideas presented in a course. ...these writing tasks are limited to less than five minutes of class time or are assigned as brief, out-of-class assignments."

"The WAC Clearinghouse." What Is Writing to Learn? N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

W2L Activities

Need a few ideas for W2L:

  • Writing Journal - Have students keep a notebook or section of their binder to quickly write down their thinking when learning new key concepts in class. For example, in Art Class students can write a brief description about various types of painting such as cubism. In addition, students can draw pictures to help solidify the concept.
  • Stop & Jot - This quick 2 or 3 minute activity can be done on a post-it as they leave class. For example, in P.E. when students are learning technical terms they can write a brief definition in their own words.
  • Graffiti Board - Sometimes students struggle with finding the words to express their thinking. Graffiti Boards are a great visual way to help students own class content. As the name suggests graffiti boards are simply pictures students create in a notebook, on a piece of paper or post-it.

Things to Remember

  • W2L is more about the thinking than the writing.
  • W2L is NOT about good grammar or sentence structure.
  • W2L helps students think critically about impromptu writing tasks which helps improve STAAR Writing Scores.

The Challenge

Include one of these quick W2L activities in a lesson in the upcoming month. Provide some feedback or share with a colleague.