EC-6 191 TExES Generalist Writing: Process, Practice, and Pedagogy

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Audience
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A component of almost any writing task. ELA teachers are frequently criticized for not creating realistic audiences for student writing. Audience awareness calls for role-playing on the part of the writer and for creativity on the part of the teacher in devising writing tasks that include a specific, authentic audience.
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Author’s Chair
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a classroom activity intended to develop students’ audience awareness (and perhaps to simultaneously develop oral language skills). There is no fixed method for implementing author’s chair activities. Usually, 1 student sits in the “author’s chair” and shares his/her writing with the rest of the class. Feedback, of course, is a vital part, but in author’s chair settings, the feedback should be aimed at supporting the author rather than at improving the text.
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Brainstorming
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A common, much used prewriting strategy in which the writer or a writing group lists ideas related to the writing topic. Brainstorming works best if the brainstormers do not censor their ideas and if they stick to words and phrases (as opposed to sentences) in order to make the process happen quickly. It is important not to confuse brainstorming with other prewriting strategies. The brainstorming product should look like a list of words and phrases and should be completed quickly. The brainstormed list can be categorized into topics and turn into a rough outline, or it can be used to identify a single, refined subtopic relevant to the writing topic. Brainstorming seems to work best when students work in small groups or whole class contexts because of the very social nature of the activity. However, it can also be used productively by individual writers to generate ideas related to the assigned writing topic.
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Coherence
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the features of a text that contribute to the general “togetherness” of the text. Coherence begins with attention to the unity of the central idea, but coherence can be enhanced by rhetorical choices such as repetition of sentence patters, maintaining a consistent point of view throughout the text, focusing on the major idea in body paragraphs, and repetition of key terms throughout appropriate segments of the text. While transitional sentences and expressions contribute to coherence, these alone cannot create coherence.
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Collaboration in Writing
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Cooperation among one or more students in the process and production of a writing assignment. Collaboration can be formal as when a group is assigned a writing task and all group members contribute equally to the outcome, or it may be less formal, as when students collaborate during peer editing or writing workshop activities. Collaboration is generally recognized as a good teaching strategy since it promotes socialization during the writing process.
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Concept of Word
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applies primarily to emergent readers and writers who must learn that words have boundaries, that letters and syllables are used to compose words, that in writing, words are separated by space, and other similar concepts. With older writers, concept of word could be used to explain otherwise inexplicable errors when they attempt to write for the 1st time a word they have heard and used orally but have never used in writing. The problem could at least be partly explain by the writer’s inability to detect the word boundaries and to translate the sounds into the syllables and words that make sense in the context of the idea being discussed.
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Conferencing
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considered by many writing theorists and practitioners to be the most effective strategy for teaching writing. Conferencing can be 1-on-1 between student and teacher in a formal stetting or informal and impromptu. Conferences can be long (30+ minutes) or short (30 seconds). Conferencing approaches are varied: the teacher may make pointed suggestions for changes, the teacher may ask students to read a draft aloud and have the students self-correct; the teacher may invite the student toward discovery of better approaches to the task.
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Conventions of Written English
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the typographical, formatting, and mechanical “rules” that we have agreed are necessary for the production of readable written texts. Examples: indenting paragraphs, centering the title at the top of the page, capitalizing the 1st word of each sentence, using terminal punctuation, observing margins, boldfacing, italicizing, or underlining. Readers: we automatically expect that conventions of written english is to point out that they are a vital aspect of audience awareness.
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Documentation Styles
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the set of guidelines for documentation in widely used style sheets. Examples: MLA, Chicago, APA. TEKS- incorporated into writing/research sections.
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Drafting
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stage of the writing process when the writer begins to shape his/her ideas into sentences and paragraphs that are intended to achieve a specific purpose and develop a specific thesis or topic sentence. Drafting generally begins after the writer has discovered and settled on a focal point. In process writing, students are generally encouraged to produce multiple drafts as they work toward completion of the writing task. Word processors-> save the various drafts as different files.
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Edited American English
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form of written English that generally observes accepted rules of usage and conventions of English. It may be informal or highly formal. Edited-> strongly implies that the deliberate application of rules of usage requires reflection and time.
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Editing
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one of the stages of the writing process. Occurs after all major global revision has been completed. Changes should not affect holistic concerns. Changes made should be local: spelling corrections, insertion of punctuation, word substitutions, and minor sentence structures changes. If done early it can interfere with the writer’s flow of ideas.
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Editing and Word Processing
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a productive means of encouraging students to improve their writing. Most familiar- spell check. Teach students how to use this so that they don’t automatically assume a word is misspelled when in fact it is only misused or so that they do not hit the “ignore” command when they think they have spelled a word correctly. Other processing tools: preview function, the word count, the readability statistics, and the cut and paste feature.
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Evaluating Student Writing
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Important tool for improving student writing. Teachers be aware of the many aspects of evaluation. Including: correlation between the evaluation and the type of assignment, pre-estab. criteria for evaluation; the impact of error counting, the use of marginal and end comments, the way the writing process is implemented in the classroom, difference between formative and summative evaluation, and the use of red ink. A means for improving student writing when the teacher helps students see what has been done effectively in a specific writing task and what needs improvement. Be specific about what the writer has done effectively.
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Features of Effective Writing
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Aspects of a written text that are generally recognized by writing teachers and writing professionals as essential to the effectiveness of the text. There are no absolute features of effective writing, but there are some general categories that we can agree are important in most types of writing, such as focus, organization, coherence, development, attention to the writing task, language use, grammar, and mechanics
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Forms or Genres of Expository Writing
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encompass a broad variety of types of writing. What expository writing is not: argumentation or persuasion, creative writing, and informative writing. Expository writing very generally may be though of as writing that makes a point that expresses the writer’s personal view on an issue or topic. May include: informative, creative, and persuasive aspects, if those aspects become the distinguishing feature or local purpose of the writing, then it is not expository.
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Freewriting
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a writing activity intended to help students generate ideas quickly and prolifically. Many variations, but it usually involves a short, timed writing session during which students write on a self-selected or teacher-assigned topic. Should be written in more or less conventional sentences and paragraphs. Some involves just writing about whatever comes to mind. Integrated into the writing process as a prewriting strategy
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Grammar
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one of the many components of ELA. Includes: intuit knowledge of the rules of English (phonetics, morphology, syntax, and semantics), the various approaches to grammar (traditional, structural, generative-transformational), the rules of usage (“don’t end a sentence with a preposition”), and school grammar (parts of speech, sentence types, comma rules)
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Internet
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a significant resource in teaching writing or developing writing abilities.
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Invented Spelling
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The attempts by young writers to “translate” into writing the sounds of words. Invented spelling can be phonetic or transitional, indicating that the child is beginning to apply orthographic rules. Characteristic of young writers whose literacy skills are still developing. Occur in the writing words that they have heard but possibly have never seen in writing, as when a high school student writes.
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Journals/Journal Writing
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a versatile, productive writing activity for all levels of students. Some general characteristics: 1. journals are collections of student writing entries that are produced regularly either in/out of class. 2. Journals should not be graded or evaluated since the point of journaling is to elicit reflective/expressive writing. 3. journals may be used to stimulate thinking about specific topics that will be integrated into ELA assignments (essay writing, literature, current events discussion)
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Minilessons
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A short, concentrated teaching presentation on a specific topic.
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Models
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Sample texts used to illustrate specific types of writing, particular rhetorical and/or grammatical structures in writing, modes of development, or other topics. The underlying assumption in the use of models is that students will emulate the models and thereby improve their own writing competence.
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Organization
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The feature of writing that enables a reader to follow the text without confusion. Globally, organization includes a strong thesis or focal point and paragraphs that clearly address the proposition of opinion presented in the thesis. Organization can also refer to specific strategies such as definition, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, illustration, or argument.
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Orthography
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The rules and principles associated with spelling. Enables young writers to produce texts that are comprehensible to readers other than themselves. Rules are learned as the child learns to read and gradually discovers the patterns of English spelling. Other rules, such as plural formation rules, require focused attention and guidance from the teacher. The invented spellings a child produces are good indicators of the way the learner is processing orthographic rules.
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Parts of Speech
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Noun, verb, pronoun, adjective adverb, conjunction, preposition, interjection. Identify parts of speech in context in order to help students write effectively.
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Peer Editing
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A class activity that involves having students respond to each other’s drafts during the writing process. General or highly specific: Students may be asked to respond personally to a classmate’s draft, or they may be asked to respond to specific elements of the draft. Use detailed peer editing worksheets to help students learn to respond to others’ writing. Peer editing helps students understand that writing is a social activity.
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Phonics and Writing
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The connection between the sounds of language and the orthographic representation. For emergent readers and writers, the connection between phonics and writing is important. Students need to be aware that the sounds of words are not always represented by the same letter combination.
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Portfolio Evaluation
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Although portfolio evaluation is manifested in many different permutations, it basically involves having students write a series of assignments throughout a grading period (six weeks, nine weeks, semester). The teacher works with the students through their writing process but delays formal evaluation of the finished products until the end of the grading period. Students produce a portfolio of their work based on the teacher’s pre-established requirements for the portfolio. Portfolio evaluation also usually includes a reflective piece in which students discuss what they learned about writing as they prepared their portfolio. As the term is used in the context of evaluation of writing, a portfolio is not simply a folder in which all the student’s work for a particular session has been collected.
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Prewriting
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The first stage of the writing process during which students generate ideas or research a topic. Prewriting strategies include discussion, thinking, researching, brainstorming, webbing, freewriting, outlining, and other similar activities designed to help students identify material that might be used in completing the writing task. Teachers must understand that not all prewriting strategies work for all students.
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Publishing
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The final stage of the writing process. Publication can take many forms: The class may produce a booklet showcasing their responses to a particular writing assignment; students may present their essays orally in an author’s chair setting; or the teacher may tack all the essays on the bulletin board for students to read at their leisure.
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Purpose
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The rationale that motivates the production of a particular written text. Writer’s purpose influences all aspects of the writing task: tone, diction, rhetorical choices, form, and so on. Recognizing one’s purpose also impacts audience awareness and influences the choices writers make in order to reach the audience. Typical purposes include to inform, to persuade, to entertain, or to express.
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Quickwrite
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Informal writing that, as the term suggests, occurs quickly and briefly. Quickwrites have a variety of applications, in classrooms at all teaching levels. Elicit response to a literary or nonfiction text or written commentary on a class activity or class discussion. These are not formally evaluated. Quickwrites suggest spontaneity, brevity, and a high level of writer confidence (because the writer is thinking about the response rather than the form and conventions of the written text).
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Recursiveness
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The feature of the writing process that enables a writer to return to an earlier stage of the process in order to change some aspect of the writing. We are also saying that it is not strictly linear (where one step is completed absolutely and unchangeably before the writer moves on to the next step). Emphasizing the recursiveness of the writing process should help reduce the anxiety that some student writers feel when they are faced with a writing task.
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Research Process
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A specific application of the writing process. Research involves critical thinking about a topic as well as strategies for collecting, evaluating, and presenting the results of research. Such integration ranges from the use of Internet sources to the use of electronic media for presenting the results of research.
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Revising
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One of the stages of the writing process. May occur throughout the composing process, it is important for student writers to recognize that revision is a distinct stage during which global and local changes are made to the document being composed. Involves deletion, addition, substitution, repositioning, and sometimes, reversion to an earlier writing stage.
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Self-Evaluation of Writing
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An important aspect of helping students become independent, confident writers. Most frequently used strategy for self-evaluation is the revision worksheet or checklist that guides the writer through a series of questions or checkpoints that require critical assessment of the draft. Such worksheets invite the writer to examine everything from the existence of the thesis to the structure of sentences.
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Self-Initiated/Self-Motivated Writing
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Writing initiated by the student writer to fulfill goals other than complying with a classroom assignment. a journal, poetry, short stories, reflective pieces. Not be formally graded, cannot be considered self-motivated. Self-motivated writing includes submissions to the school literary magazine, service on the school newspaper, letters to the editor, submissions to national student writing journals, such as NCTE’s Teen Ink.
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Sentence Patterns/Types
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Simple, compound, complex, compound-complex. To help students improve their writing style and to help students avoid certain types of syntax problems, teachers must know what the basic sentence patterns are.
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Spelling
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The category of English language arts that involves application of orthographic rules and knowledge in production of written texts. We should strive to place it in an appropriate context as we guide our students through language instruction. Give students word lists on which they are tested periodically.
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Stages of Writing
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Prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Teaching writing as a multistage process means that we must allot substantive portions of class time for writing and that we recognize the need to provide realistic deadlines for completing writing tasks. The teacher functions as a coach, working with students throughout the writing process.
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Standard English Usage
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has an underlying tenet the understanding that there are numerous varieties of American English but that, for ease of communication, standards of usage should be observed. That no one variety of English is superior to others.
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Style
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The writer’s choice in syntax and diction. Style is related to sentence length and sentence structure. Guided toward making stylistic choices that are appropriate for the intended audience and for the intended presentation. The style of sentences that we appreciate in literature are inappropriate for a research paper in a history class because of the different purposes in those writing tasks.
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Syntax
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The area of linguistics that deals with sentence structure and the rules for constructing sentences. Affect writing is vital to a language arts teacher’s ability to help students improve their writing. Versatile rhetorical tool for all writers. Syntactic choices contribute to the style, the mood, the tone, the density, the complexity, and the meaning of a text.
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Technology and Writing
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The integration of computer technology into the teaching and production of writing. Use of word processing tools, integration of other programs into word processing programs, and the use of Internet resources for example. Technology should be used not for its own sake but instead for helping students become more proficient writers.
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Voice
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The quality of writing that enables the reader to detect a “personality” behind the words. Encourage students to develop voice in their writing by creating writing tasks that allow students to become engaged with the task. Enthusiastic about the assignment and to make rhetorical and stylistic choices designed to impact a reader.
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Word Processing
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A tool that can be used to help student writers in various ways: to facilitate the production of drafts, to encourage significant revision, to revise and edit using editing tools (such as grammar checks, spell checks, word counts, and readability guides), and to prepare a text for publication.
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Writer’s Block
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The inability to transform the ideas conceived during prewriting into organized text during drafting. A student is unable to produce more than one or two sentences in a significant writing period and this behavior persists throughout numerous writing sessions, the teacher could legitimately conclude that this student has writer’s block. We should reduce anxiety-producing situations that might cause students to develop writer’s block, such as providing a variety of prewriting strategies; scheduling significant amounts of class time for drafting; encouraging students to talk through their ideas either with other students or with the teacher; limiting writing on demand assignments; allowing students to work on other classroom projects for a short while if writer’s block is not alleviated by other strategies; and recognizing that writer’s block causes anxiety in the writer and thus should be treated with sensitivity.
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Writing Process
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The repeatable steps writers take when they write. Important to note that while we can generally categorize these steps into prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing stages, there is a significant element of idiosyncrasy in individual writers’ application of these stages. Teachers should guide students through the stages but should not force students to go through each step in exactly the same manner. An important aspect of the writing process is recursiveness.
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Writing Workshop
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An approach to writing instruction characterized, in general, by the following practices: Students are permitted frequent and substantive writing periods when ideally, they re working on self-selected writing tasks. Talk among students is encouraged as a means of creating a social environment in which students share ideas about the process and the specific task. Teacher moves from behind the desk and interacts with students at all stages of the process. Students are encouraged to report frequently on the progress they are making toward completing their writing tasks. Minilessons take precedence over formal lectures so as to preserve writing time for students. At appropriate points in the workshop, students conference with the teacher and engage in peer editing sessions.

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