Spending a great day at UCLA for the 25th anniversary California History-Social Science Project. I presented with @ also known as Ruth Luevanos on Inspiring Reluctant Writers. While Ruth concentrated on word banks, sentence frames and tableaus, my section was devoted to writing strategies that strengthen higher order thinking methods used in argumentative and informative writing. As an added bonus, they are easy to add into your everyday classroom practices. This article describes the tension that History teachers have experienced trying to teach both content and literary skills.
A very simple way to have students write background paragraphs. I used to fall into the lazy teacher trap of having students copy the timeline at the end of the chapter as a pre-reading strategy. I quickly learned that they learn nothing from this even though I positioned it as a pre-reading strategy. Then I added an annotation component, which helped a little. Now I give students the big, fat, hairy timeline and tell them they need to pick the five most important events and use them to write a background paragraph. They have a word bank and get a chance to practice transition words and phrases, which many lack. Then students can pair/share their paragraphs and discuss which events they thought were the most important.
SRSD Writing Strategies
More than 40 studies have validated SRSD as an instructional model for teaching writing to students with writing deficits. Developed by Harris & Graham (1992), this model integrates writing instruction, self-regulation strategies, and the development of positive student attitudes toward writing. https://historyrewriter.com/2014/12/04/srsd-instruction/
Studies of history classrooms reveal that writing instruction of any kind is uncommon, even among exemplary teachers. Thus, student essays tend to list facts rather than argue claims, leave arguments unexplained, and only draw on evidence sporadically. https://historyrewriter.com/2014/12/09/srsd-writing-in-history/
M.E.A.L. paragraphs are a method of writing strong paragraphs. This link shows you how to teach students to write a MEAL. https://historyrewriter.com/2015/04/27/meal-paragraphs/ and this link showcases some student work. https://historyrewriter.com/2015/06/24/wwii-meal-paragraphs/
As a general rule, a MEAL prompt is designed to help students analyze evidence to support an argument while a RAFT prompt requires students to inform/explain a historical topic to an audience.