Writing Across the Curriculum:
Activities for Any Content Area
Writing across the curriculum not only reinforces essential communication skills, but also provides a means for students to record explorations and observations related to content. This week, we provide writing activities that are easily implemented in any content area.
This Week's Tips
Using Perspective Writing (Monday)
Have your students consider a subject from six different angles through cubing. Swiftly, (3 to 5 minutes per angle), prompt students to describe, compare, associate, analyze, apply and argue for or against a topic of your choosing. Students who master this technique will learn to examine a topic from a variety of perspectives and discover an advantageous prewriting activity that can be implemented quickly and effectively in any subject area.
Focused Freewriting (Tuesday)
Assign a topic for focused freewrite. Encourage your students to write nonstop for 10-15 minutes (or a time period appropriate for the level of your students), recording all thoughts connected to the topic. Stimulating questions, connections, or misinformation that the students may have about the topic should emerge, so be certain to follow up with small or large group discussion.
Visualization Exercises Help Writing (Wednesday)
Provide your students with a visual prompt, such as an illustration in the text, a slide, transparency, snapshot, etc. Encourage them to imagine themselves being transported into the visual. On paper, students should list three to five sensory phrases (per sense) describing what they see, hear, taste, touch or smell while imagining themselves within the cue. Use this activity as a springboard for further writing or discussion activities.
Open Letter Writing (Thursday)
Assign students a topic for an open letter. Encourage them to imagine themselves as that subject while assuming first person point of view to write an open letter to a group of secondary students explaining “themselves.” You might choose to assign the entire class the same topic or assign students a variety of topics as review. Follow up with small or large group discussion.
ABC Brainstorming to Write (Friday)
Assign individuals or small groups of students a subject and a portion of the alphabet. Instruct them to brainstorm a word related to the topic that begins with each assigned letter. They should then write 2-3 sentences, preferably on chart paper or a transparency, explaining the connection. Students should display and explain their work to the class.