Using photography is an excellent way to inspire writing. Photos can be used to prompt personal narratives, persuasive essays, creative pieces, op-eds, thematic analysis, and more!
Essay shaping sheets are essentially templates for writing that guide students through the writing process. A shaping sheet can be as small as a sentence template or as large as an entire paragraph or even essay. But are these tools helpful, or do they ultimately hinder student development? Well, the million-dollar answer to this question is… it depends.
Writing is a process. It is recursive. No piece of writing is ever "final." Something can always be better. I often feel this way whenever I read back over my own old essays and inevitably find a sentence that could be better, a paragraph that could be stronger, or a word that could be more precise.
You may find yourself in agreement with Frost's famous quote when it comes to teaching poetry in the secondary classroom. However, love it or hate it, poetry can play a helpful role in teaching students how to write! Famous poems can serve as mentor texts for students and showcase key literary and rhetorical devices in action.