Firstly, I really like the idea of requiring students to reflect on the writing process after certain assignments. The idea in the book is to assign this after a conclusion-free writing assignment is due. Another strategy includes crafting a thesis and defending it verbally, oh my god. Most of my eighth graders could not grasp the concept of a thesis. If I would have made each of them argue theirs verbally, I know they would have understood it after a little back and forth with another student. Light bulb.
Part of the problem with the writing assignment that I gave during my student teaching was that it had to be so damn structured. I hate that. I don't want my students to constantly see writing as rules, rules, rules, or as a test to pass, I want them to see writing about literature as a way to capture their thinking about literature. Stole that from the book. A lot of the ideas in this book are ones I have heard before, or have developed versions of in my own mind. The strategies are what makes it worth the cash, there are dozens, and the whole Reading like a Writer chapter is filled with useful ideas on helping students developing responses (to write down) as they read. I see new teachers (like me) getting the most out of Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay.
I don't want you all thinking that I had a bad student teaching experience. I actually loved it. And it helped me know for certain that I was on the right career path. I taught my kids a lot of really important things in those seven weeks, you know, to prepare them for life.
Roughly 70% of them got question number three correct, and then we jammed out.