Assignments can be stressful for both students and teachers. Students have to spend more time writing quality assignments. Teachers on the other hand have to spend time grading these assignments. This is especially worse with long writing assignments. These assignments act as a source of fear and anxiety.
To avoid fear and anxiety, some teachers find alternatives. They choose not to assign students any assignments. But there is a better solution. Teachers can choose short assignments. Students don’t need long assignments to improve their learning. Even short assignments can be effective. Instead of the time-consuming projects, try the following short assignments. They will improve students’ writing skills as well as thinking ability.
1. Summarizing for comprehension
Instead of long projects try assigning students summaries. Summaries challenge students to identify the main themes or arguments from a text. Even for a longer text, you can ask them to write a summary. At first, this will be hard for most students. For example, summarizing a chapter in 100 words can be difficult. Some will approach assignment writing services like EssayMojo or EssayEver .But with time, this becomes an easy task. Help your students in learning how to identify important points in a text. Then, have them do some summarizing. Select the best work and share it with the class. Use this work to highlight the elements of a good summary. Sharing a student’s work with others tends to have a positive impact on their attitude. It will encourage them to learn how to write good summaries.
2. Prompt with questions
One of the roles of teachers is helping students to learn new information. But teachers have another key role. They should give students tools they can use to learn more on their own. These tools can encourage students to challenge their biases. Questions can be useful tools. Through questions, your students can learn more on their own.
First, teach your students the importance of questions. Show them how to come up with questions. Also, give them different techniques for writing questions. Engage them in a question and answer activity. Give them time to think of the answer. Then, ask them to answer the questions, one person, at a time.
Ask every student to write a short question from the session content. This could be at the end of a lesson. Then, ask students to exchange the questions and provide a short answer. By the end of the exercise, students with have a short question and answer. You can then review these short writing assignments.
3. Imaginative assignments
Use imaginative assignments as alternatives for long writing projects. For example, you can ask students to write a short piece by imitating historical figures. For example, ask them to write;
- A short response to Hamilton’s banking composed by Thomas Jefferson.
- Theodore Roosevelt tweet on modern antitrust investigations of Facebook.
- Texts between F. Roosevelt and G. Washington on the lend-Lease program.
For English teachers, you can use fictional characters instead of historical figures. Such imaginative assignments can improve students’ learning.
4. One-sentence assignments
You can assign your students a one-sentence assignment. This can help avoid the fear and anxiety of long writing assignments. For example, you can ask the students to;
- Write a one-sentence summary of a chapter.
- Explain the main point in an article in one sentence.
- Write a sentence-long story.
These short assignments teach students how to choose the right words. Such assignments can be easy to review.
Another type of short assignment is an outline. This works better with STEM teachers. You can ask students to outline steps used in solving a problem. If you were creating something, ask them to list the steps they took. This can be easier than asking them to write a long project. It can also be easier for you to grade.
The power of short assignments
Long writing assignments can be frustrating for students. Some students have to sit in front of their laptop screens up to midnight. After students submit their papers, then teachers have to review and grade them. This can also be frustrating for the teachers. This can be solved through short writing assignments. Teachers can choose to assign students different types of short assignments. This can give both students and teachers an easier time. Short writing assignments also have some other benefits.
First, they give teachers time to focus on grammar and punctuation. With long assignments, teachers may not pay attention to punctuation, and grammar. But with short assignments even busy teachers pay attention to these elements. This is a good opportunity for improving students’ writing skills.
Second, short writing assignments teach students editing skills. This kind of assignment needs students to choose important points only. In the process, they learn how to self-edit. This is a valuable skill in school but also in the future career.
Not giving students assignments is not helpful. Instead, teachers should consider short writing assignments. These assignments are fun and interesting ways of improving learning.