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There's no avoiding standardized writing tests in grades 3-8. Yet while writing to prompts defies the ambitions of the writing workshop model, teachers overlook this increasingly important kind of writing at not only their own peril, but also that of their students.
In the groundbreaking Writing to Prompts, Janet Angelillo demonstrates how to apply the best practices you already know to help students succeed in the uncertain and challenging environment of on-demand writing - without abandoning your writing workshop or devaluing topic choice. Beginning with a framework for thinking about writing to prompts, Angelillo builds a complete unit of study for use in any writing workshop, complete with strategies for addressing the rigors of timed-test situations and practical suggestions for ongoing assessment. Writing to the Prompt also puts into your hands support materials such as charts and checklists as well as student writing from the many diverse classrooms where Angelillo's lessons have been successfully implemented. You'll have both the humane teaching techniques you need to develop students' facility to work with assigned topics across the content areas and up-close examples of the kinds of thinking, talking, and writing that stimulate thoughtful engagement with third-party ideas.
Don't give over your writing workshop to test prep, but don't ignore the reality that so much of the writing we do in life requires an authentic response to assigned topics. Read Janet Angelillo's Writing to the Prompt and make space in your curriculum for both choices and prompts.