George Lucas Educational Foundation

Writing Assignments and Finding Balance

Writing Assignments and Finding Balance

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Learning to write well takes time, and many students loath writing assignments- so what can we do in the classroom to make this more enjoyable? There have been a few interesting articles this week addressing this issue, including Teaching to the Text message in this week's New York Times and Coach G's tips in Education Week, talking about assignments that challenge students to respond to prompts in 20 words or less. How do we balance teaching kids to express themselves elaborately and succinctly? When do we want more, and when do we want less? How do you balance these assignments for your students in the classroom? Do you think there's wisdom in teaching students to express themselves well in the length of a text message? Would this be a way to possibly encourage some learners frightened by the prospect of a 500 word essay? What do you think?

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R Scott's picture

A few years ago, The Guardian hosted a text messaging poetry competition. All submissions had to be 160 characters or less. I was impressed by the level of creativity and power that could be compressed into just a few words and abbreviations. I think learning when it is appropriate to be brief and when elaboration is necessary should be part of English education. This is part of learning to communicate effectively.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I think this is great- as are haikus, twitter stories, etc. Learning to be selective with language, meeting tight constraints can drive creativity in new ways as kids and adults learn to choose wisely with words for maximum meaning.

How would you put a lesson plan around this?

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