The Writing Lab has a Writing Clinician, who is an English teacher, Mrs. Melissa Kelly. She is available to help the students become familiar with the writing process and the strategies which will help them in their writing. In addition, the Writing Clinician will help the students utilize the available software to improve his writing and learning. However, the student will remain the author of his own documents.
Each student who uses the Lab makes individual progress. Writing-to-learn opportunities are provided across the curriculum, and every child has the opportunity to grow and to experience success as a writer. Please exercise understanding as most teachers request that papers be processed in the Writing Lab rather than at home. This request maximizes the child's opportunity to take advantage of the writing strategies and the content expertise offered by the child’s teacher and the Writing Clinician. Processing, revising, and editing in the Lab demonstrate the child's understanding of the writing process. You may wish to help your child by conferencing with him at home. For most writing assignments, a conferencing sheet, which has been coordinated to the teacher's assignment and evaluation, is available.
Please remember that the Writing Lab is located in Room 102 and is available to all students and teachers. Full classes are scheduled to word process, revise, edit, and print writing projects. Any student may use the Lab for across-the-curriculum and personal writing. The Lab serves all students of all ability levels and is open during the day Monday-Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. and Fridays from 7:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
All students are encouraged to use the many writing resources in the Lab. For their convenience, a Writing Tip Book filled with word banks, revision strategies, works cited forms, editing rules, and formatting and computing guidelines is available at each computer. Each student will receive a copy of the newly revised Writing Tip Book to take home and to keep. Students are encouraged to follow the directions for writing activities, not only to facilitate student Lab use but also to lead to better writing, the goal of the Jefferson Middle School Writing Lab.
That’s a Good Question!
Parents sometimes ask, “What is the rationale behind middle level students completing their writing process activities in school?” Usually, students are permitted to take copies of their work home, and they are often encouraged to have revision and editing conferences with an adult as well as with a peer. However, most writing process assignments are word processed in school for several reasons.
- More important than focusing on the product, students are focusing on practicing the writing process. As a result, teachers want to observe the process and offer strategies along the way.
- A child learns from being physically involved with word processing text. More revision takes place if a child can word process, conference, revise, conference again, and edit as a circular, on-going process, a possibility if he is word processing in school and saving on the network.
- If a child works at home, he may possess an “I-am-finished” attitude that undercuts a desire for deep revision, one of the most important goals. If the child does not work at school, moreover, the student is unable to participate in the strategies and resources offered for revision and editing.
- Practicing the process in school offers students the opportunity to learn to be a part of a writing community, to collaborate, to conference, to suggest—qualities employed in real world writing.
- Writing assignments are specifically targeted to teach particular skills which are outlined on a rubric and reinforced by the teacher and the writing clinician during the class and lab time.
- Completing projects in school teaches valuable time management skills to middle level students.
- Offering the children time to complete the writing in school avoids conflicts with the family computer and crises with the “untimely death” of the toner cartridge.