”What is this assignment intended to accomplish and how will it accomplish those goals?” In other words, why are you giving this assignment and what will it teach your students about your course content and/or about writing in your field? Be sure to address each of your writing assignments in this section.
This writing assignment, a lab report, is intended to teach students how scientific data is produced and then constructed in writing (introduction/hypothesis, methods and materials, results, discussion/conclusion). Lab reports are the most commonly used form of writing in lab science disciplines, and it is therefore crucial that students grasp how they are constructed and why they are constructed in this specific format. Students will be taught not only how to conduct an experiment, but how to use appropriate scientific language in writing their report.
This writing assignment, a lesson plan for two audiences, is intended to teach students the conventions of a typical lesson plan and how to adapt that plan for their most common audiences—students and administrators. Students will first be taught the various components of a lesson plan, including rationale, objectives, materials and resources, procedures, and evaluation. They will practice this format for an audience of administrators, since this is likely to be the audience to whom they would submit lesson plans in a real teaching situation. Students will then be taught how to translate/adapt theoretical concepts and language of the formal lesson plan to their middle-school students.
This writing assignment, a blog or journal, is intended to give students practice using writing to explore their reactions to course readings. Students will receive occasional feedback on this writing in order to help them prepare to use the course readings in their larger research writing assignment. While blogging is not specific to this discipline, the intention of this assignment is to give students an opportunity to practice using course language and concepts in an exploratory fashion.
This writing assignment, end-of-class free-writing, is intended to give students a few minutes at the end of each class to reflect on the discussion and compose questions for the next class. While free-writing is not specific to this discipline, this type of writing is intended to give students time to deconstruct complicated concepts discussed in the class, put course concepts into writing in an exploratory way, and think about how they might approach the next class period.
Note: Although you do not need to use the following designations, they may help you in thinking about your writing assignments.
Writing-to-communicate course content — intended to teach students something specific about writing in that field or that particular type of writing; writing is expected to demonstrate understanding of course content.
Writing-to-learn activity — intended to give students practice putting thoughts and course concepts into writing with the expectation of exploring (not mastery of) course content.
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