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Writing portfolios are a good way to ensure that students do a small amount of writing every day. One way to use them is to have students put together commonplace books. That means taking a notebook and filling out a page every day. The page could contain a collection of quotations of favorite song lyrics, free-writing, collages made from magazines or newspapers, lists of new vocabulary with definitions, drawings, or any of many creative assignments. Have the students bring their portfolios to you so that you can date stamp each page they complete and give symbolic awards (gold stars, decals) for each week fully completed. Getting students into the habit of doing something (no matter what it is) every day and being rewarded for it is a good start for at-risk students.
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