Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"It's Coming and Teachers are Excited!!" a book Review by Joanna Posey

It's coming! Teachers and Parents are Excited!
As a special ed teacher, I thought I've seen it all. At least I thought I had until I walked into a Navajo high school and given the task of getting students ready for their graduation writing tests.
It was then that I almost had heart failure. The graduation tests were in six months and my high school students didn't write complete sentences. "What? Five paragraph essays? We can't write!" This was their battle cry for years. These students didn't know success, only repeated failure. Some gave up learning how to write. But graduation was fast approaching.
English as second language learners, they were. Artistic, they were. Highly visual, they were. They needed to see the full picture before dissecting the task. It needed to be simple and easy to do.
With these student attributes in mind, I created a no-frills, bare-bones system of writing for my students so they could graduate from high school. This little system of writing became an instant hit. "Wow, I can really do this!" They remembered how it worked, not only for the state-wide Direct Writing Assessment, but for their graduation writing test, as well.
When they saw that they could write, their entire demeanor changed. No longer did each student say, "I can't!" The buzz words were, "I can!"
Success story after success study can be told. I, eventually, carried my little system into a junior high setting with at-risk students who were also culturally diverse learners residing in a larger city. Again, "I can't" turned into "I can."
Teachers and parents noticed student success in writing. Teachers wanted a copy of this no-frills system. They asked, "How did you do this?" Parents asked, "How did you get my student to write?" Parents wanted to have a copy for their students to practice.
To satisfy teacher and parent requests, "From Struggling Students to Successful Writers in 7 Easy Steps" will be rolling off the press in two small volumes. The first volume is the teacher's instructional guide, complete with lesson plans. The second volume provides actual student examples in using the "7 Easy Steps" model.
Students are being successful. This little system works and works well.It makes a positive difference in the lives of many students. The best kept secret is that it will help all students to achieve their academic goals.
Questions and comments may be addressed to: Joanna D. Posey at

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