Writing is a Tool for Thinking - National Council of Teachers of English
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Writing is a Tool for Thinking

Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing, written by a committee of the NCTE Executive Committee, pinpoints 10 key issues in the effective teaching of writing. Over the next few weeks, we will unpack each one. This week, we will look at:

“Writing is a tool for thinking.”

In any writing classroom, some of the writing is for others and some of the writing is for the writer. Forms of writing such as personal narrative, journals, written reflections, observations, and writing-to-learn strategies are important in the writing classroom.

This issue of School Talk is completely devoted to the Writer’s Notebook. In the issue, NCTE leaders with years of experience using writer’s notebooks as tools for thinking share key strategies and teaching ideas relevant to K-8 teachers.

Chapter one of Becoming Writers in the Elementary Classroom: Visions and Decisions shares how writer’s notebooks allow students a space both to develop thinking and to write in volume—hence helping them learn to write by writing.

Filled with practical ideas, assignments, and examples of student writing, Using the Writer’s Notebook in Grades 3-8: A Teacher’s Guide offers a vision of what is possible for young writers—both in writing across the curriculum and in writing workshop.

“Written Reflection: Creating Better Thinkers, Better Writers”” outlines strategies for teaching students to reflect upon their own writing, including reflection, asking questions, writer’s log, the draft letter, using models, the portfolio letter.

Various strategies can be employed to design a student-centered conference environment that helps developmental students find a place in the academic community as described in “See Me: Conference Strategies for Developmental Writers” from Teaching English in the Two-Year College.

How do you use the NCTE Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing in your classroom?