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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

Jan 30, 2024

We've been talking this month about the paper pile. The work bag shadow. The stack of essays you just might have taken to the ice cream social/Superbowl party/beach vacation/bar/hospital...

Today I want to share a strategy I honestly think every teacher can use to save time on grading and actually help kids improve their writing more.

This episode is going to be quick and, if you decide to try it, impactful. I'm not going to go on and on, because you'll quickly get the idea and then I'd rather you use your time to go IMPLEMENT.

We all know there are certain errors that come up time and time again. If you teach middle schoolers, you've probably used margin space in about a thousand papers to explain again the idea that they need to connect their evidence to their point, making the argument clear.

If you teach older kids, perhaps you've walked around the be-sure-your-thesis-is-arguable block so many times you could write the commentary in your sleep. And then there are the little things, like writing in the present tense, how to cite quotations, and using precise language instead of making mention of "things" and "stuff."

What I want to suggest is that you never re-write the fixes for these common errors in the margins of students' writing again. Instead, I want you to create a hyperdoc featuring each of these errors and their fixes to refer your students to whenever they make one, and feel free to get as glitzy as you want with color coding and linking and imagery and models.

What should go in your Common Errors Hyperdoc?

πŸ”΄β€‹β€‹ Maybe they'll see a colorful infographic you've designed to show the elements of an arguable thesis.

πŸŸ β€‹ Maybe they'll have a chance to click on a screencast video of you walking through a model where a student's thesis was not arguable and explaining what the student needed to do to fix it.

πŸŸ‘β€‹ Maybe they can read four types of model introductory paragraphs (that ChatGPT will be happy to help you write if you don't have student models from the past) introducing theses that ARE arguable.

πŸŸ’β€‹ Maybe they'll see a linked video from one of the many excellent University Writing Labs walking them through the process of making sure a thesis is arguable.

πŸ”΅β€‹ Maybe they'll see ALL of this. Because you'll be able to create this and add to it over the years as you find new resources, giving it more and more depth as an incredible tool to help your writers.

I made you a template and some examples in Canva (try it on for size with this link).

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