How do I reduce the paperwork?

Dear Dr. D',

Sometimes the students become frustrated with all the steps; there seems to be a lot of paper.  How do I reduce the paperwork?

Good question.  Here’s my answer:  you are the expert.  This program is designed to provide you and your students with a foundation for vertical and horizontal writing across the curriculum.  You have a lot of tools in this tool kit.  Writing is a process, and the steps involved in this process are at first and in our opinion, tangible steps, hence, the tomes.  As you see your students progress year after year, you might decide that they don’t need the “Gathering CD’s sheet.”  No problem.  After they devise their thesis sentences, then, send them to the T-chart.  Some of your students intrinsically edit as they go from the T-chart to the paragraph.  Maybe you’ll have them do one shaping sheet for the first paragraph in order to show you their logic during a one-on-one conference; then you say, “You’re ready to go forward, and the next thing I will check is the final draft.”  Some kids love the handouts because it works for the way their brains work.  I can’t tell you how many times my high school AP kids have come to me and said that an AP US History teacher has assigned an essay.  Their next sentence is, “May I use our writing handouts to put it together?”  This is foundational writing.  I have seen its success from little kids to AP Lit students.  Again, you’re the expert.  Pick and choose and then let the individual kids pick and choose when you think they are ready.  If they falter, pull them back for some practice.

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