Self-Directed Learning

I am winding down from a whirlwind of summer home school conferences. Parents from across the country have expressed their frustrations about teaching the reluctant child writing. One way of motivating reluctant writers is to empower them by giving them freedom to write when and how they want, as long as the assignments are turned in on time. This can be done by giving the student or students their assignments on Monday with due dates for each assignment. Also on Monday, teach any new skills that will be used in assignments during the week, then allow the students to work when and however they choose, as long as they turn the work in when designated. An example week’s worth of assignments might look like this:

Assignments and due dates for week of September 7 – 11

  • Daily Dazzle: Week #1 – due Friday
  • Creative Writing: Lesson #1 – Brain storm and break into paragraphs – due Tuesday; Edited rough draft – due Wednesday; Final paper with grade on scoring guide and rough drafts attached – due Friday
  • Vocabulary: Lesson #1 – Worksheets – due Wednesday; Study for test; Test – Friday
  • Expository Writing: Reading Friendly letter – Log your reading and write a letter describing what you are reading using the elements of fiction – Due Friday
  • Expository Writing: Research Paper – Form critical question and brainstorm topics – due Wednesday; Begin research and have at least one source with notes – due Friday

This is an example of what a week’s worth of language arts assignments might look like. Of course this is just an example, so there may not be as many assignments as I have shown due to age, ability, or skill level of students. Just remember that if you set the expectations and bar high, students will meet it. If your students are already motivated and want to be independent then just give them the assignments on Monday and say it is all due by Friday.

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