Set your standards for written work, make the students aware of them and apply them consistently. Do not accept written work that does not meet your standards.
As students, many of us would never have dreamed of handing in a paper full of crossed out phrases, arrows leading the teacher on a wild goose chase to find the rest of an answer and marginless, paragraph-devoid chunks of unpunctuated prose. Yet, as teachers, that is just what we seem willing to accept from our students.
These are the guidelines I insist my students (high school) use for their written work. Feel free to adapt them to your own needs.
Print out your rules and distribute them to the students. Every time you give a written assignment, remind them to review the rules.
If you make rules, enforce them. When the kids see you take them seriously, they will too.
Rules for Written Work
- You may bring a dictionary to all exams and for all in-class written work. While you may use any dictionary you choose in class, it is advisable to get your hands on the dictionary that is permitted in the Bagrut examination (The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary English-English-Hebrew). Get used to using it.
- If you do not bring your own dictionary to a test, you may NOT borrow a dictionary from another student, This goes for pens, correction fluid and all other supplies.
- Come prepared for exams and in-class writing assignments. Bring more than one pen, a ruler, correction fluid, your dictionary and all of the food and drink you will need to survive.
- All papers you hand in must be neat, clean and easy to read. Do not hand in papers with words crossed out. Use correction fluid. Write on the lines provided on the exam paper. If you need more space, use your ruler to draw additional lines.
- Read all instructions and follow them carefully. Following instructions counts 10% for all exams and written assignments. (Remember that the instructions include how your work should look.)
- Whenever you write a paragraph, a letter or a composition, you must first prepare a draft of your work. Your draft must be handed in with your written work.
The following guidelines will help you present your best work when writing an essay:
- Read the topics given very carefully. Choose a topic that you can intelligently discuss rather than one that appears to be "easy".
- Make a list of the main ideas you want to include in your composition.
- Go over the list and select the best ideas.
- Order your list of main ideas so that you will present your points in logical progression.
- Remember that when writing an essay, each idea should be followed by supporting details, that is, something that backs up your idea. These may be facts, opinions or examples. For each idea on your list, write your supporting details.
- Your work must be divided into paragraphs. Remember that a paragraph is ONE idea or ONE sub-topic within your composition. Each new idea or sub-topic is a new paragraph.
- Your composition should begin with an introductory paragraph in which you state the issue to be discussed. This is followed by the body - several paragraphs in which you discuss the various aspects of the issue. The final paragraph should sum up your ideas and, where appropriate state your conclusion(s).
Past Tricks of the Trade