Several great writers claim that writing is an art that just cannot be taught, whereas, many writers say that there exist ways to develop and hone one's writing skills. Well, teaching the art of effective writing might be a difficult task, but definitely not an impossible one.
A writing lesson plan is like visualizing exactly what and how things will proceed in the classroom. The plan will obviously include all the elements of the topic you are planning to teach, the way in which you will be handling the topic, the kind of exercises and activities you will include, the material that you will require for your lesson, and a step-by-step break down of the entire classroom session, with references to the amount of time allotted to each activity.
Essentials of Writing Lesson Plans
Every teacher has her/his own way of handling a subject and imparting knowledge to the students. Hence, there cannot exist any uniform plan for all teachers. Some teachers have the confidence, experience, and wisdom to just walk into the classroom without knowing what they will be teaching for the day, and still leave the students feeling like that was the best session ever. However, not all teachers possess that sort of expertise from day one.
Before creating a writing lesson plan, the teacher should be aware of the demographics and psychographics of her class―this includes the age of the students, their learning abilities, grasping capacity, and even the vocabulary level. Once this is done, the teacher has a clear picture about the kind of activities or exercises she can incorporate in the classroom session, and the kind of assignments that can be handed out to the students.
Then the teacher can chalk out a lesson plan by ensuring it has the following elements:
Developing Focus: It is of utmost importance that you retain the students' attention and pique their interests throughout the class. You can do this only by establishing an interesting preliminary activity. This can be the introductory session, wherein the teacher talks about the topic that will be discussed and studied for the day. In case you are planning to describe a particular style of writing, you can start off by reading out a sample from a book of the same genre. In order to make the class interesting, you can incorporate slide shows to give a glimpse of famous writers in the concerned genre.
Defining Objectives: Defining the objective of the lesson is very important, and hence, one of the vital steps in creating a plan. Once you have managed to interest the students, mention why they would be learning the subject in concern. Clearly mention how this lesson will help them in the future. Tell them the benefits of mastering a particular writing style, in order to augment their interest levels.
Illustrating Activities: Once you have defined the objective, it is time for you to get to the point. Illustrate the nuances of the writing task in concern. Talk about the kind of skills that will be required to accomplish the task. Talk about the things to do and things to avoid―the best possible way to do this is by giving an example. Use the projector screen to showcase a small paragraph written by you, and discuss the various elements you have incorporated in the writing style, and the pitfalls that you've avoided.
Guided Practice: Once you have explained the concepts and provided the necessary illustrations, urge the students to try the writing task themselves. You can help them by giving out handouts for writing tasks, which have subtle hints and pointers to guide them. Allow them to explore and experiment the topic at their own pace.
Getting Feedback: When the students have explored the subject on their own, it is time to discuss the work they have done. Ask them to read out their work and encourage other students to discuss the plus points as well as shortcomings in the writing sample. Encourage the students to participate in a healthy discussion about the subject, and answer all their doubts or queries.
Precise Recap: This is the revision step in the lesson plan. Once you reach the end of the teaching session, summarize the entire session briefly. This helps the students to go over all the important points covered in the class, and hence, students remember the concepts well after the class. You can even ask them to contribute to this session, wherein every student talks about a discussed point.
Individual Assignments and Tasks: This is the last step. Once you have completed the session, it is time for you to tell the students about the kind of tasks and assignments that they can undertake on their own. You can announce graded/practice assignments for the students. You can also suggest further reading material or books, which will help them get more detailed information about the concerned topic.
The next time you have a teaching task at hand, make sure you go through these pointers to help you out. Writing lesson plans are easier to create, but tougher to execute. Make sure you keep on improvising according to the requirements and capabilities of your students. A lesson plan will always help you chalk out the classroom session with attention to every detail, including time management. And, as teachers keep on using these plans, soon they get the hang of it, and execute them even without any reference.