I think this is a winning idea for several reasons! First of all, I’m really intrigued by the idea of flipping the writing instruction so that students are doing more of their writing practice in the classroom where the support is available. I would imagine that this would lead to less student frustration and that students are finding themselves better equipped to tackle the roadblocks that occur during writing. I like the fact that this activity asks students to work collaboratively to create thesis statements and build off of each other’s ideas. Also, I really like the fact that the teacher models editing and thinking out loud. This is a great way to show students what you mean, rather than just telling them. Finally, making this activity fun with music and good-natured competition will most likely make for more engaged students. Love the fact that this idea can be adaptable to other mini writing lessons. Thanks for the great idea!
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent, and our languageso the argument runsmust inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.
Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.
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