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High School — Writing
Writing Conventions

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    Writing Conventions

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      Activities: Additional Instruction and Practice

      These activities may be useful for students who require additional instruction and practice with Writing Conventions.

      Spelling and Punctuation as a Career

      ACES Editing Guidelines
      http://www.copydesk.org/guidelines.htm
      Students can use this test from a copy editors' group of the American Society of Newspaper Editors to test their spelling skills and to discover the importance of good spelling to a career in journalism.

      Hearing the Punctuation

      Distribute non-punctuated and uncapitalized copies of a composition. Students should listen to a reading of this composition and correct their copies as they listen to the dictation. Finally, have students compare their copies to the original to see if they correctly punctuated and capitalized. If students missed punctuation or had errors in their versions, they can make a note of the rules that they missed and discuss them during your next individual writing conference. For students with difficulties grasping the fundamentals of writing conventions, be sure to focus the writer's conference on particular areas.

      Code Switching

      Often, the language students use informally at home or speaking with each other is more casual than Standard English. Ask your students to write two descriptions of their day. First, have them write using slang and everyday expressions. Then ask your students to translate these into a more formal composition, editing the slang into Standard English.

      This activity illustrates the beliefs of the National Council of Teachers of English: "The teaching of writing should assume students will begin with the sort of language with which they are most at home and most fluent in their speech. That language may be a dialect of English, or even a different language altogether. The goal is not to leave students where they are, however, but to move them toward greater flexibility, so that they can write not just for their own intimates but for wider audiences. Even as they move toward more widely-used English, it is not necessary or desirable to wipe out the ways their family and neighborhood of origin use words. The teaching of excellence in writing means adding language to what already exists, not subtracting. The goal is to make more relationships available, not fewer." (NCTE Executive Committee)

      Allowing students to embrace Standard English as one mode of communication provides them with flexible strategies in addressing various audiences.

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