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The Proof is in the Poetry : : Generating Student Voice in a Collaborative Writing Group Approach to Teaching and Learning in Ninth Grade English


The Proof is in the Poetry (PIP) curriculum encourages students to form a writer's identity by reading relevant texts with strong use of voice, writing their own texts with voice and giving and receiving feedback in peer writing groups. PIP incorporates relevant texts in personal essay, poetry and performance poetry as a voice model to generate students' own writer's voice in their poetry. Authentic voice, relevant texts and the collaborative writing group approach played a key role in increasing student engagement. Students needed instruction on feedback so they could give constructive feedback to their assigned writing group. Feedback instruction enabled the students to express themselves to their writing group peers. Poetry as the writing genre was the vehicle to encourage students to write with an authentic voice. There were three phases of instruction: Coaching Feedback, Voice Lessons and Writing with Voice. After composing three poems and attending three writing groups, students read one poem to a peer audience in a Public Reading to culminate PIP. The curriculum implementation occurred in two non-honors ninth grade English classes in a large urban high school. Data collected were student surveys, observation notes, writing samples and an online Edmodo writing group. Results from PIP indicated writing groups facilitated structured collaboration among peers, self- expression contributed to student's motivation to write with authentic voice, engagement in writing increased when students received feedback on their writing and relevant texts with powerful language increased the likelihood that students wrote with voice

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