This is a lesson that creates an immersive environment for students and should be done in a class where the students trust one another and you as it should be a supportive and encouraging process.
Do this activity at the start of a lesson. Set the chairs out in a circle in the centre of the room and have a picture of a confession booth on the board. Play church music- bells/a choir/ an organ for fuller effect.
All students are asked to confess their writing sins to one another. In this lesson, I decided to join in too. I think the advantage of you joining in shows that there’s no shame in admitting mistakes as everyone makes them. Their writing sins should be bad habits they have with their writing such as:
- I almost always miss out apostrophes for belonging/ use them incorrectly
- I use commas too frequently
- I don’t connect my paragraphs effectively
- I use I/we too often
If you feedback on their work to date has been effective enough, students should immediately know their areas of weakness and may also make some other rather perceptive remarks about their writing.
After each confession, you may like to dish out ‘Hail Marys’ for added authenticity.
The writing confessional is a great lead-in to:
- DIRT time
- A focused writing lesson
- Target setting
- An SPG workshop
- An introduction to academic writing