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Meggin McIntosh

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Aphorism to Assignment - Fabulous Writing And Assessment Prompts
By Meggin McIntosh   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, December 18, 2008
Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2008

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Consider these suggestions to build your writing engagement activities.

Learning, learning, and more learning. Writing and learning. Writing across the curriculum. As a teacher, you know how learning and writing are connected. And trying to come up with new ideas so that you have a variety of interesting ways to engage your students so that they will write to reinforce their learning - and to show you what they've learned, is a challenge. This article includes 10 prompts that might be new to you (and each includes a definition, if needed, and one or more sample expansions of the prompt):

1. aphorism (a concise, pithy statement of a principle; usually instructional)

  • Write one or more brief aphorisms containing some important truths learned so far this year.
  • Write our lab safety rules as aphorisms.
  • Find some Spanish aphorisms and then determine if there are any equivalent ones in English (or vice versa).
  • Write an aphorism for writing your first computer program.

2. apologue (a short moral story, which may have animal characters; allegory)

  • Write an apologue for someone who is reading The Origin of Species for the first time.
  • Write an apologue describing how color mixing came to be. For instance, 2 little skunks were sneaking up at a picnic. The red, yellow and blue foods spattered all directions, combining to form secondary colors, etc.
  • Compare and contrast an allegory to an apologue.

3. apology

  • Write an apology to God for messing up the environment.
  • Design a greeting card to say you're sorry.
  • Choose an 'attitude,' e.g., serious, humorous, sarcastic, or any of a number of other attitudes. Write an apology portraying your understanding of this attitude.
  • Write an apology from Juliet & Romeo to their parents explaining their actions.
  • Write an apology from Higgins to Eliza about how he treats her as a thing.

4. appeal

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper that appeals to future parents to take an interest in their children's science projects. Be factual and appealing, at the same time.
  • Appeal a current event, a situation in a novel, e.g., To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus' innocence, or school issue.
  • Why are vocation arts appealing to you? Substantiate your reasons.
  • Write a letter to your manager appealing for a time extension for your software development project.

5. application

  • Using your knowledge of probability and statistics apply it to the following activity: Interview 30 people and find out their birth months. Write up your findings.
  • Write about the process you went through to determine the probability of 3 people having the same birth month.
  • Create and write applications for the jobs you are interested in - including the skills and the requirements necessary.

6. article

  • Write an article describing a UFO sighting.
  • Write an article about school sports events, include pictures, etc.
  • Write an article after interviewing (hypothetically) one of the main characters of the novel we're reading (or an historical figure, political figure, etc.)

7. ascription (attribution; assigning a particular quality or characteristic to a person or thing)

  • What characteristic or attribute would you most want ascribed to you? Why?
  • What characteristic or attribute would you least want ascribed to you? Why?
  • What object would Karl Rove be likened to (and why?) Or substitute any other current political figure.

8. assembly directions

  • Give directions for how to build a country. Be as specific as possible.
  • Choose a particular assembly process and write the specific order and sequence of the process.
  • Write directions on "How to... make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, " (or any other common practice). Give them to someone else to complete AS WRITTEN and observe the results.

9. assertion

  • What does verb tense, formal/informal tell about the speaker or intention of speaker?
  • "I have the right to enjoy math and ask questions without being made to feel stupid." What other assertions would you like to make about this or any of your other classes?

10. assignment

  • Create a homework assignment for someone who wants to learn how to write a business letter.
  • Write an assignment for your teacher. Be creative!

When you use this list to stimulate your thinking about (and inspire your creation of) writing assignments and assessments, you'll never run out of new ideas, I promise! It's actually lots of fun for you and the students! And that's not all...

For an expanded list of another *50+ Fabulous Writing and Assessment Prompts for Students,* just visit 50 Plust Writing Prompts where you can learn more about this resource. You might as well have as many ideas as possible and by accessing *50+ Fabulous Writing and Assessment Prompts for Students* and the ideas in this article, you'll have over 60 prompts plus examples for each and every prompt!

These ideas are happily created for you by Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D. of Emphasis on Excellence, Inc. Feel free to visit her site Owning Words for Literacy  for loads of other free items you can access and download for yourself and your classroom.


Web Site: Emphasis on Excellence

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