Class Starters: Good Writing Presentations
To “warm up” the class before you begin your lesson.
To get students thinking about what constitutes good writing.
To get students thinking about what writers do to write effectively.
To get students reading.
To give students practice making a presentation/speaking in front of the group.
To generate common points of knowledge that you can reference throughout your lesson as
To encourage open discussion among the students.
Notes to Instructors: Though the directions leave all writing as an option, this activity could be
adapted to incorporate civic engagement by requiring students to use a piece of writing that
explicitly deals with the subject.
Good Writing Presentations
Each day we will begin class with a five to ten minute student presentation on a piece of “good
writing.” Each student in this class is responsible for finding one piece of good writing somewhere
out there in the world and presenting it to the class. Magazines, textbooks, newspapers, novels,
poems, greeting cards, websites, etc. are all reasonable places to look. The idea here is to keep your
eyes open. Good writing and bad writing is all around us, and, unfortunately, we’re swamped with
the latter and only occasionally graced with the former. Your job is to sift through the garbage for a
few sharp sentences.
Directions: When it is time for you to give your Good Writing Presentation, you must do the
1. Type out the good-writing (copies are no good. Why? See #4 below)
2. Make one copy for each student and the teacher (23 as of the first day)
3. Write three discussion questions on the bottom. The questions should be about the writing
itself. Issues of style, rhetoric, precision, word choices, and grammatical choices are all good
lines of thought.
4. Email your good writing and your questions to your teacher at least 24 hours in advance. (I
like to come up with some questions of my own)
5. Come to class prepared to lead an intelligent, informed, educated discussion on the writing
Each student will sign up for a date to present. On the second day of class I will pass
around a sign-up sheet. Write down your date. I will not remind you. It is your responsibility
to be prepared.