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Teaching Literacy Skills


Teaching Literacy Skills Writing Across the Curriculum (K-8) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Teaching Literacy Skills

Teaching Literacy Skills
  • Writing Across the Curriculum (K-8)

The Writing Problem
  • Whats expected by colleges and employers and how
    do we fit in?

What the Universities Tell Us
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education found that 44
    of college faculty members said their students
    are NOT prepared for college-level writing.
  • Only 6 of professors surveyed responded that
    their students are very well prepared for
    college-level writing.

Universities are hard to please. Theyll be fine
once theyre working, right?
  • After surveying 120 corporations, the College
    Board discovered that 1/3 of all workers fall
    short of employers expectations in written
    communication skills.

Employers say . . .
  • All employees must have writing ability . . .
    Manufacturing documentation, operating
    procedures, reporting problems, lab safety,
    waste-disposal operationsall have to be crystal
  • Company director.
  • Even among hourly workers, between one-fifth and
    one-third of employees in fast-growing service
    sectors have some writing responsibility,
  • National Commission on Writing.

The National Commission on Writing says
  • Good writing skills are a marker attribute of a
    high-wage worker
  • Writing is a gatekeeper that will limit
    English-language learners and the disadvantaged
    to low-wage, dead-end work
  • Writing skills cannot be developed quickly or
    easily and should be the focus of school and
    college attention across the curriculum, from
    kindergarten through college.

How does North Santiam School District do with
  • State writing assessment average for 08-09 55
    of students meet or exceed the standard at grade
    10 (no state average for 4th and 7th)
  • North Santiam writing assessment average
  • 49.1 at grade 10
  • 49 at grade 7
  • 38.4 at grade 4

How does North Santiam School District do with
  • Last year (08-09) in the Capital Conference we
    had the 3rd highest number of 10th grade students
    meet standard on the state writing assessment.
  • Our 10th grade averages were about 5 higher than

How does North Santiam School District do with
  • At grade 4, 61.6 of our students did not meet
  • At grade 7, 51 of our students did not meet
  • At grade 10, 40.2 of our students did not meet
  • Our average number of students meeting is up from
    40.2 in 06-07 to 49.1 in 08-09.

Clearly we have a national, state, and local
problem with writing.
  • What are we doing to fix it?

North Santiam School Districts Expectations for
All Teachers
  • All teachers teach literacy skills within their
    content areas (this includes writing).
  • All teachers collect and score at least 4 work
    samples per year (in either writing, speaking,
    math, or science)

Writing Across the CurriculumBest Practiceit
  • The National Commission on Writing confirms an
    impressive positive correlation between the
    frequency of informative writing assessments and
    academic achievement in every subject area.
  • Further, writing is not simply a way for
    students to demonstrate what they know. It is a
    way to help them understand what they know. At
    its best, writing is learning.

Dont lose content timemake the most of it!
  • Math teachers tell us that when students explain
    in writing what they did when they worked on
    equations, they began to understand mathematics .
    . . Students who write regularly in the math
    class develop their mathematical language . . .
    The teacher no longer hears To do this, you put
    this here, carry this here, cross out this, draw
    this,. . . The thiss become the language of
    the discipline. (Tama and McClain)

Look at this
  • 7/12
  • 9/12 12/16
  • In working with a child who made this error where
    would you assume he had gone wrong?

When asked to write an explanation of his
solution the boy wrote
  • first I took twelv then took seven out of it
    then nine I took seven away from nine
  • In reality the boy was very unclear about the
    process of adding fractions (let alone struggling
    with some basic addition!). A mini-lesson on
    placement of numerators and denominators would
    have confused him further.

Its Best Practice and the District Expects It
  • How to Make Writing Across the Curriculum

7 General Principles of Teaching Writing
  • Students learn to write by writing.
  • Teachers need to write with their students.
  • Students need to have opportunities to share
    their writing.
  • Writers need feedback.
  • Writing activities ought to be integrated with
  • Students learn to write by reading excellent and
    varied writing.
  • Repeated successful encounters with writing help
    unmotivated learners.

The State Scoring Guide
  • Providing a Common Language for Teaching Writing

Ideas and ContentRefers To
  • The purpose and focus of the writing
  • The main idea
  • The supporting details

A Standard or Higher paper will
  • Be easy to understand
  • Be clear and focused
  • Have relevant details
  • Possibly have details that are inconsistent or
    out of balance with the main ideas

Organization Refers to
  • The order and structure of the writing
  • The sequencing of main ideas and details
  • The beginning and ending of the piece of writing
  • The transitions between ideas and details

A Standard or Higher Paper Will
  • Be clear and coherent
  • Have a structure and use paragraph breaks
  • Have a recognizable and developed beginning and
  • Use transitions
  • Possibly use techniques that are formulaic or

Sentence Fluency Refers to
  • The variety of sentences and their patterns in a
    piece of writing
  • The ease of readability in a piece of writing
  • The flow of the writing
  • It DOES NOT refer to the punctuation marks that
    might help the sentences be easy to read.

A Standard or Higher Paper Will
  • Have a flow and be relatively easy to read orally
  • Have a natural sound
  • Have some variety in sentence patterns
  • Demonstrate a strong control of simple sentence
  • Possibly lack rhythm and grace
  • Possibly have repetitions in patterns that
    detract from the overall impact

Conventions Refers to
  • Use of standard writing conventions (punctuation,
    spelling, capitalization, paragraph breaks,
    grammar and usage)
  • Types of errors rather than number of errors

A Standard or Higher Paper Will
  • Have noticeable, minor errors that will not
    interfere with readability
  • Demonstrate control of conventions
  • Have a moderate (or less) need for editing
  • Contain errors (even a 6!)

Word Choice Refers to . . .
  • The clarity and effectiveness of words chosen in
    a piece of writing
  • The variety of words used
  • The use of colorful or figurative language in a
    piece of writing
  • The appropriate use of jargon and technical

A Standard or Higher Paper Will
  • Use words that convey the intended message
  • Use words that are appropriate for the intended
  • Possibly experiment with language
  • Possibly overuse slang, jargon, and/or cliches

Voice Refers to . . .
  • The sense that a paper is written to be read
  • The commitment of a writer to a topic
  • The sense of a person being behind the words on a

A Standard of Higher Paper Will
  • Have a discernable voice
  • Have an appropriate level of closeness to the
  • Have some liveliness, sincerity, or humor when
  • Possibly be inconsistent
  • Possibly be too casual or personal or too stiff
    and formal

What can you do now?
  • Simple, effective methods for including writing
    in your content

Strategies for Getting Started
  • Schedule a time every day to just write
  • journals, reflections, pictures, one sentence
  • Model writing
  • I write, we write I write, we write etc.
  • Partner writing
  • Focus on ONE thing ideas content sentence
    fluency voice word choice tie to vocabulary in
    math, SS, science, etc, organization outlines
  • Avoid conventions!!!!

Sample One-Sentence Summary
Question Response
Who? The point guard
Does what? Calls the plays
To whom? For the team
Why? To score points
Where? On the court
When? During offense
How? By giving signals
With a goal of scoring points during offense, the
point guard calls out plays on the court by
giving signals.
The Grading Nightmare!
  • Some Time-Saving Tips

Top 9 Tips to Cut Grading Time(Adapted from
Melissa Kelly)
  • Use peer evaluation
  • Grade holistically
  • Use portfolios
  • Grade only a few from a class setroll the die!
  • Grade only a few from a class setkeep them
  • Grade only part of the assignment
  • Grade only one or two elements
  • Use non-graded journals
  • Use two highlighters

Well be coming back to this!
  • January 25, 2009 Inservice
  • K-2 will develop NSSD scoring guides based on
  • 3-8 will learn and practice scoring guides
  • In the mean time learn, know, explore, share,
    incorporate writing standards into everything we
  • Not settle for being average, or slightly above
    the state average be the leader!
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