Drama, Discovery and Learning


PO Box 1092
New York, NY 10025

ph: 917-284-0614



Writing Tips for Teachers

Recommended by Jeanette Toomer


  •  Model  first for students the writing technique or strategy that you are teaching them.

 You can do this by either writing it as a model during the mini-lesson before the work period,  or distribute copies of a it (for example, a summary) and read it aloud with the the students  showing how it captures the main idea, key words, topics and important details.


  • In your mini-lesson use underlining  or circling to teach students how to mark  important facts, reasons, examples or details that they use as     textual evidence  when they write about the article or textbook passage.
    •  Writing takes practice.  Have students keep an observation journal or “Writer’s Notebook”.
  • Incorporate “Exit Writes” or “Quick Writes” so they can summarize

and/or write opinions about what they’ve learned in a lesson.

Example of Exit Writes:  (Debriefing Tool)

What is one thing I learned today that I’d like to remember?

Why is summarizing a helpful writing skill?

  • Make writing a group activity.

Have students work together in small groups and have each

student  write a paragraph in a five-paragraph essay.  Then

they read it aloud with their partners. Have them share with another



  •  Writing takes practice and more practice!

Writing is a craft.  To become good at it takes practice.

Incorporate a writing activity in each lesson. Praise their efforts!

  •  Have students use graphic organizers or charts to help them learn

how to prewrite in order to develop ideas for writing assignments.


  • Teach the writing process.  Take students through the four steps-prewrite, draft, revise, and publish--to create a finished, publishable essay or story.


 Trouble the Waters

By Jeanette Toomer 


This is a riveting award-winning documentary of devastation and emotional trauma of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.  Filmed by Katrina survivors and novice filmmakers this film captures the damaging effects of Katrina on a black family and community in New Orleans.

Recently, I had the opportunity to view this compelling documentary at BAAD Theater in the Bronx.  It disturbed me that so many people, predominantly black citizens, had to struggle to survive in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina flooding New Orleans.

DDL maintains a blog at dramadiscoveryand learning.com/blog.html.  Feel free to write in your response to queries or entries.


Join NCTE in Celebrating Literacy Education Advocacy Month

The NCTE Literacy Education Advocacy Calendarlists possibilities, from sharing NCTE positions with your colleagues to visiting your state lawmakers while they're home in April to taking part in NCTE's Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., on April  19.

Using NCTE's 2009 Legislative Platform to Influence Literacy Education
by Kent Williamson, NCTE Executive Director

If there was any doubt that change was in the air on Capitol Hill shortly after the inauguration ceremonies, those doubts were blown away in the first hours of meetings between the NCTE Government Relations Platform Writing Team and key legislative staffers on January 29. After three days of meetings and careful drafting to zero in on the issues where Council action can prove influential, the 2012 Legislative Platformwas ready.

Platform Highlights:  The thrust of our platform is to encourage Congress to take a comprehensive approach to supporting literacy learning. It is grounded in the need to provide every student with the kinds of rich learning challenges that will imbue them with the critical communicative and analytic abilities referenced in our definition of 21st century literacies. To accomplish this, it sets out ambitious literacy education reform criteria for Congress and other federal authorities in the areas of


  • assessment;

  • an inclusive definition of scientifically valid research;

  • writing and reading as equal, interdependent components of literacy development;

  • support for English Language Learners and the youngest literacy learners (those under age five); and

  • job-embedded professional development.

Making it Happen:  With these powerful goals established, there are three primary pillars to our government relations strategy this year:

1. Work with allied literacy groups to put together a bill (either as a component of reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or as a free-standing measure) that funds comprehensive literacy planning at the state and district levels.

2. Inform our members and their departments/districts of how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding (stimulus monies) and other sources of federal support can be used to access NCTE resources and other high quality teacher learning materials.

3. Build broad support for a congressional measure to establish October 20, 2009 as the National Day on Writing.

For more information on the National Council of Teachers of English literacy education platform and activities, visit their website at ncte.org.  Their annual conference is scheduled for mid-November in Las Vegas, Nevada.

DDL Copyright 2000 All rights reserved.












PO Box 1092
New York, NY 10025

ph: 917-284-0614