FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Features For New Teachers
Volume 2, Issue 8
The lead may even be an excerpt or scene from a story, book, movie, or TV show. These are good because your reader may have read or watched the scene already. This creates a connection, a bond, between the reader and the writing by sharing common ground.
The key to a lead is to provide a short story your audience can relate to the subject of your writing, or to the mood or tone you wish to establish. You may want the reader somber, compassionate, joyous, or expectant.
The lead does act as an attention getter, drawing your readers into the writing. It also connects the reader's personal experience to the writing. The quicker and more deeply you can connect to the reader, the greater the chance your writing will be read and your message will be remembered.
However, the lead is different from your topic sentence. A topic sentence introduces the subject of the writing, and sets up the structure of the paragraph. The lead, on the other hand, is independent of the content of the paragraph. It could be removed from the writing without affecting the overall message (it could be totally deleted and the paragraph would still maintain its integrity). It is used to set the mood or tone in the reader, or to elicit a response toward the overall subject.
The leads may be as short as a sentence fragment, or as long as several sentences (maybe even a paragraph) in length. Sometimes we require specific lead lengths, and other times we leave it open to the students to decide.
The lead must be extremely vivid, using specific actions and descriptive words to effectively paint a picture in the reader's mind. You cannot use enough adjectives. The lead should also leave the reader wanting more. We sometimes use fragments to leave the reader hanging. This is accomplished by an ellipsis ( ... ) after the last word of the fragment.
The lead is an advanced technique in writing, and its proper use shows a maturity in the author's style. We strongly encourage you and your students to practice story telling and narrative forms of writing. Have students start small, using single sentences and fragments, and then working up to more complex leads. This, we've found, also impresses the scorers on those high stakes state/national tests. You'll find your students writing becoming more rich and complex as they master this technique.
Here are a couple of leads:
The gigantic, drooling hound snarled and barked as it backed me up against the rough bark of the oak tree. (descriptive essay on fear)
The dark, angry clouds pushed their way across the gray sky as the crisp wind bit into my skin. (survival story)
As I ran, gasping for breath, through the midnight blackness of the eerie forest, I could hear the snapping and cracking of branches as my pursuer closed the distance ... (scary narrative)
Too often students get overwhelmed with the amount of work left over at the end of the day. They look at study time in one big sum and get distracted and exhausted before they even begin. To solve this problem, you may not be able to adjust your childís schedule, but they can change their study techniques. Here are 3 study techniques that will help any student maximize their study time.
They should start by separating and segmenting their study time. Break it up into smaller bits. No matter how brilliant you are a concentrated attention span lasts only about 20 minutes. So break your 2 or 4 hours study sessions into groups of 15 or 20 minutes. During the break, stand-up, walk around, grab a bit to eat or something to drink and then get back to the grind for another 15 or 20 minutes. This not only helps create spaced repetition, which is crucial for retention, but helps make study sessions less stressful and daunting.
Another tool to help in maximizing study time is to use random practice. When reviewing lists or concepts donít go in order. Skip around to force your brain to pull from an entire group of information. This aids in understanding the purpose or meaning behind a concept instead of merely its place in line. The simplest way to implement random practice is through the use of a study partner.
Use a Study Partner. When at all possible, it is very beneficial to study with another student who shares the same educational goals and motivation. A study partner can help identify areas of weakness and ensure that topics donít get skipped. Itís also beneficial to witness how another student takes in and stores information. For this reason and others, it is better for the study partner to be another student, but parent donít be afraid to fill this position. The progress gained from working with a partner is general is worth it.
Proper and efficient study techniques will follow a student through all levels of education and learning. Establishing good habits and skill sets, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem at the time, will prove to reap massive rewards in the long run. So while little Johnny and Suzy might need their first day planners before the third grade, donít let it stop them from becoming the best students they can.
This is the book for helping all teachers to improve their effectiveness in their classrooms. It helps both the novice teacher and the seasoned veteran by forcing you to think about your own decision making process as a teacher, and to evaluate your effectiveness. The book focuses on the teaching of instructional skills and the improvement in student learning.
Carol Cummings' book give practical ideas for your classroom and for your teaching. She details how to select and teach to your class objectives, monitoring and motivating your students, and developing better lessons that improve your students' learning.
Each chapter reads just like a step-by-step manual for improving your instruction. Periodically in the chapter are short 'assignments' for the readers to complete, adding their thoughts and experiences to the text. Cummings adds creative cartoons and quotes to illustrate her points. And each chapter is summed up with the important points to remember.
One particular aspect of the book I like is the Instructional Decision Making structure Carol Cummings has developed. The five steps (described in detail in the chapters) are:
Have you read Teaching Makes A Difference? Do you have comments youíd like to share with our readers about this book? Email your responses to email@example.com. Please type in BOOK CLUB READER RESPONSE in the subject line. Responses will be posted on our website with the StarTeaching Book of the Month Club. All responses will be proofread, and may be edited for content and space before publication.
Once upon a time a man had heard, that in a foreign place, far away,
there was a holy flame burning. So he got up and left his home to find the
holy flame and bring some of its light back home to his house. He thought:
'When I have this light, then I will have happiness and life and all the
people I love will have it too.'
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