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Increasing Student Achievement in Writing


Write for five minutes on that belief. What do you find intriguing about it? What questions arise as you explore that belief? Can you challenge it? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Increasing Student Achievement in Writing

Increasing Student Achievement in Writing
  • Vince Puzick
  • Literacy Facilitator CSSD-11
  • September 14, 2007

Writing Across the Curriculum How All Teachers
Can Embed Effective Writing
Instruction Into Classroom Practices
What do you think?
  • Activity
  • Writing and writing instruction should be part of
    classroom practices in all disciplines.
  • On the ½ sheet of paper, list all of the reasons
    you believe this to be true. You can have a
    bulleted list, fragments, single words
  • On the other side, list all the reasons you doubt
    this to be true.
  • Report out briefly

Enduring Understandings
  • Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) practices and
    principles improve writing skills, stimulate
    higher level thinking skills, and deepen
    understanding of content.
  • Incorporating writing and writing instruction
    into classroom practices is time on task and
    allows students to deepen their understanding of
    content knowledge and/or demonstrate their
  • With writing tasks authentic to their
    disciplines, teachers at all grade levels and in
    all content areas can contribute to the writing
    achievement of students.

Essential Questions
  • How do the key concepts of Writing Across the
    Curriculum guide classroom practice and shape a
    school-wide literacy framework?
  • How can classroom teachers embed more writing
    into their everyday instruction?
  • What kinds of writing are authentic to each
    content area?

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NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing
  • Everyone has the capacity to write.
  • People learn to write by writing.
  • Writing is a process.
  • Writing is a tool for thinking.
  • Writing grows out of many different purposes.
  • Conventions are important.
  • Writing and reading are related.
  • Writing and talk are related.
  • Literate practices are embedded in society.
  • Composing comes from many sources.
  • Assessment is complex.

Your Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing
  • Activity 1 Choose one of the 11 NCTE Beliefs.
    Write for five minutes on that belief. What do
    you find intriguing about it? What questions
    arise as you explore that belief? Can you
    challenge it?
  • Activity 2 Share your writing with a colleague.
    What connections can you make between the belief
    you wrote about and the belief/thoughts of your
  • Activity 3 Do your beliefs act as barriers to
    or conduits for incorporating writing into your

Writing Across the Curriculum
  • When content area teachers incorporate writing in
    all areas of the curriculum--social studies,
    math, science, vocational education, business,
    foreign language, music, art, physical education,
    and language arts--students benefit in three
  • they deepen understanding of content
  • they practice a technique which aids retention
  • and they begin to write better. (Walker, 1988
    Kurfiss, 1985)

Writing Across the Curriculum
  • Writing is not added to content, but the
    content is entered and secured through writing.
  • The development of student writing is best
    achieved through substantial time devoted to
    writing, multiple opportunities to write across
    the school day and focused instruction that
    builds from the writers efforts.

Writing Across the Curriculum
  • Writing to Learn
  • allows students
  • to deepen their
  • understanding,
  • to process, and
  • to reflect on their learning.
  • There are various
  • methods to engage
  • students and stimulate
  • critical thinking.
  • Learning to Write
  • assignments allow
  • students to demonstrate
  • their knowledge and
  • understanding.
  • Teachers must use
  • Direct writing
  • instruction.
  • Rubrics for assessment.

Key Principles of WAC
  • Writing develops through meaningful practice.
  • Writing is a situated and recursive process.
  • Writing and reading are interrelated.
  • Different writing situations impose different

Paragraph Writing
  • Take out your believing/doubting writing from
    the beginning of the morning.
  • Choose EITHER side of the ½ sheet. Write one
    paragraph on the page provided. You have 5
    minutes to write the paragraph.
  • Dont share with a colleague yet.

  • Break

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Levels of Generality
  • Step Up on Steroids
  • Forces students to think about the relationship
    of ideas in a paragraph and in an essay
  • Is not a formula or an outline for paragraph
  • Helps students at the revision stage of the
    process check for effective development and
    organization in their paragraphs.

Levels of Generality
  • Overview of Christensen
  • CSAP Student samples
  • Other examples
  • Moving from paragraph writing to multi-paragraph
  • Revise your paragraph about embedding writing
    instruction into the classroom.

Writing is a Process
  • Prewriting
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Editing
  • Publishing

  • On different topics or approaches to a topic
  • several days/homework
  • Quick! -- 10 minutes or so each time
  • Choose one or pick the insights from many to
    begin drafting
  • Graphic Organizer or not?
  • Play with ideas
  • Time spent here is an investment
  • Allow students to discuss ideas with peers in
    class time

  • Add specifics and provide more details
  • Attend to organization arrange paragraphs and
    sections of longer writings
  • Specific text structures in different modes of
    writing and in different content areas
  • Maintain focus throughout the essay
  • Brainstorm ideas for areas that are
  • Recognize the importance of developing ideas more
    fully and connecting ideas.

  • Re-vision
  • See the essay as a reader and not a writer
  • Revise locally the paragraph level
  • Revise globally the whole structure
  • Peer critique receive feedback of an informed
    reader prior to submitting the essay
  • Ensure that the content and structure is
    finalized before moving on to Editing.

  • Specific focus for in-class workshop
  • Spelling
  • Major errors (fragments, run-ons, comma splices)
  • Cant hold kids accountable for what you have not
  • Class time spent for peers to provide editing

  • Making the piece public
  • Turning it in
  • Sending it off
  • Submitting to a specific audience

During the Process
  • Peer Review/Critique
  • Structured with specific look-fors
  • Consistent return to the rubric
  • Writers Workshop
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Impact on the student
  • Peer and teacher conferences
  • A portion of class time over the life of the
    assignment (one week? two?)

  • Lunch

D11 Online Curriculum
  • Online Pacing Guides and forthcoming Language
    Arts Online Curriculum is found here
  • http//

Developing a School-Wide Framework
  • The success of a WAC programdepends
  • far more on the instructors professional
  • commitment to a style of teaching which
  • has active learning as its goal rather than
  • adherence to any particular formula.

Learning to Write Authentic writing
  • Authentic assessment aims to evaluate students'
    abilities in 'real-world' contexts. In other
    words, students learn how to apply their skills
    to authentic tasks and projects.
  • Authentic assessment focuses on students'
    analytical skills ability to integrate what they
    learn creativity ability to work
    collaboratively and written and oral expression
  • It values the learning process as much as the
    finished product. (http//

Learning to Write Authentic writing
  • Task Analysis
  • Modes of writing descriptive, narrative,
    expository, persuasive
  • Middle School Pacing Guide
  • Quarter 1 Narrative writing
  • Quarter 2 Research strand / expository writing
  • Comparison/contrast, cause/effect,
    problem-solution, (process) how to kind of
    writings, informative writing,
  • Quarter 3 Persuasive writing
  • Quarter 4 Application of skills (newsletters,
    brochures, how to guides, troubleshooting
    guides, etc.

Learning to Write Authentic writing
  • Purposes for writing to describe, to explain,
    to inform, to persuade
  • Identify the academic writings that students
    produce in your content area
  • Identify the opportunities for authentic writing
    in your content area.
  • Identify the intended audiences and purposes for
    authentic writings in your content area.

Learning to Write Authentic writing
  • In content area groups (by grade level?) identify
  • What major units provide opportunities for
    paragraph and/or multi-paragraph writing
  • Identify the academic writings that students
    produce in your content area
  • What is an authentic audience for the writing
    and what is the intended purpose?
  • Draft a writing prompt that will enable students
    to demonstrate their understanding of the content.

Learning to Write Authentic writing
  • In grade level teams, identify ways that you can
    reinforce each others efforts
  • If narrative writing is 1st Quarter, are there
    opportunities in content area other than Language
    Arts to support writing that is arranged
    chronologically or tells a story?
  • In Quarter 2, with research/expository writing,
    how can teams reinforce each others efforts
    without being redundant?
  • In Quarter 3, how can all content areas embed
    persuasive writing in their instruction?
  • Could there be a collaborative writing assignment
    that is interdisciplinary for the 4th Quarter?

Rubric Development
  • Instructional tool
  • Given at the same time as the assignment / prompt
  • CSAP Analytic rubric

Responding to Student Writing
  • Not all writing needs to be graded or even
    responded to by the teacher
  • Writing to Learn activities can be shared among
    classmates, kept in a journal, turned in as an
    exit ticket or ticket into the room
  • Classroom expectations need to be established
    let students know that the writing is expected to
    be done but comments/responses may vary

Evaluating Student Writing
  • Learning to Write assignments must have an
    accompanying rubric
  • Comment on strengths and weaknesses of the
  • Fight the urge but do not edit or revise a
    students essay
  • Marginal and end comments are necessary
  • Be future-thinking in your comments what do you
    expect to see improved in the next essay?

The teaching of writing involves
  • Embedding your Best Instructional Practices in
    writing in every class
  • Reflecting on your
  • Philosophy about writing
  • Attitude toward writing
  • Classroom environment
  • Considering your approach what are the benefits
    / the barriers to writing instruction?