Cadi Olson is a special education teacher at Moorhead High School. She is always looking for new ways to improve her students' learning. This year she's learning how to better prepare her students' writing by collaborating with area teachers and sharing some mini lessons with her students from the College-Ready Writers Program.
CRWP Success Story
My first mini-unit is where my success story begins. I started the school year with the Writing into the Day mini-unit. I had picked three articles with a hero theme. The students read each article and focused on hero characteristics, which they journaled about and shared with the class. From this discussion, the students picked the three characteristics they felt were the most necessary for all heroes as the topic for an essay. They included textual evidence while writing their essays.
The students I work with are seniors in a pull-out special education English course. Their exposure to making a claim, supporting a claim, and using textual evidence is limited to none, and my experience teaching students to write an argumentative essay using text evidence was also limited, as I’m generally teaching basic writing skills. I knew I had to break the process down and use graphic organizers to help students through the process, but knowing where to start or what to focus on first was a bit more difficult. Just like my students, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.
When we finished the essay, I was pleasantly surprised. My students were able to make a claim and were able to use text evidence to illustrate their points quite well. It also gave me a direction to go when teaching argumentative writing. My biggest takeaway was that my students completed their writing and felt pride in what they had accomplished and enjoyed the discussion. I also felt more confident in my teaching this style of writing.