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Title: The%20Six%20Traits%20of%20Quality%20Writing

Six Traits of Writing Presented by Leslie Terry
Why Should I care?
  • Because 6 - Trait writing provides
  • Common language
  • Consistency in assessment
  • The how to students need to
  • revise

To Teach the Traits
  • Teach the concept first
  • Surround students with writers language
  • Share strong and weak examples from written
  • works
  • Write - and link writing activities to the traits
  • Practice revision and editing on the text of

Six Traits of Writing
  • Ideas Content
  • Organization
  • Voice
  • Word Choice
  • Sentence Fluency
  • Conventions

Ideas and Content
  • This trait is the HEART of the message
  • the central idea and support.
  • CLARITY - makes sense.
  • FOCUS - narrow and manageable size
  • QUALITY DETAILS - noticing little things that
    others might not notice.
  • How does it look at intermediate grades?
  • Writing has a clear, direct message that is

Ideas and ContentLinks to Instruction
  1. Prewriting
  2. Keeping Journals
  3. Moving from broad topic to focused and narrow
  4. Learning to observe carefully
  5. Borrowing ideas from other writers
  6. Knowing the purpose for writing


Activities to Help Students Select Ideas Adapted
from 61 Traits of Writing, Ruth Culham
  • Free Writing - Ask students to write whats on
    their minds or what theyre feeling right now or
    what theyve been thinking about lately.
  • Flashback- Look through journal entries or family
    photos, personal mementos that stimulate
  • Favorite places- think about a place they love to
    go and make a class list of favorite places.
  • I Remember Poem -Create this poem as a list of
    possible personal narrative stories.
  • Call It Out- Pick a category from an appropriate
    content area. Call out questions encourage
    students to chime in with different answers. Go
    from general questions to narrow ones, developing
    narrow topics. Record topics on chart and let
    students do a quick write on one of them.
  • String-Along- Bring some string or any item to
    class. Divide students into groups and ask them
    to generate as many ideas as they can about the
    possible use of the item. Create a class list,
    dividing ideas into categories. Write a short
    focused paper about the uses of item being

  • It Happened to Me- Tell a story that that has
    happened to you to your students, embellishing
    for dramatic effect. When finished, let them
    ask you questions. Ask if it would make an
    interesting idea for a story. Next, create a
    poor chronological outline of what happened- a
    hodgepodge of major minor details. Then have
    students give you advise for making it less bland
    by deciding which details to keep, delete, and
    elaborate. Finally, read the entire story to
  • Ask Me a Question- Divide students into groups of
    3. Each student tells a story of a memorable
    event that has happened to him or her. The
    listeners cant interrupt. Instead they write 3
    questions so that the storyteller becomes aware
    of details he may have left out which can be
    included in the final story. This can also be
    used to prepare for persuasive text. Have each
    student tell their opinion about a controversial
    topic to the listeners. Then the listeners write
    3 questions for the opinion.
  • Leave It Out- Read a familiar story leaving out
    important or juicy details. Ask students what
    it missing. Read the original story. Discuss
    the importance that elaborating and filling in
    blanks for the reader is an important step in
    making ideas clear.
  • Show, Not Tell- Make a list of telling sentences.
    In small groups, have students brainstorm as
    many details as they can about the general idea
    theyve selected. Ask students to rewrite the
    general statement (telling) into one that is more
    focused, interesting, detailed (showing).

Adding Details / Show, Not Tell
  • Example 1
  • Silkworms are interesting bugs. They
    make silk. They hatch from eggs and then they eat
    a lot. Later they go into a cocoon. When they
    come out, they turn into moths. Next, the female
    lays eggs and it starts all over again.
  • The Japanese have been using their silk for
    4000 years! They take the silk from the cocoon.
    Then they make silk for you and me. Theyre
    pretty cool bugs, arent they?

Adding Details / Show, Not Tell
Example 2 Did you know that the beautiful,
fine silk that feels tingly against your skin is
actually produced by two glands on a silkworms
head? Thats right, you may have worn something
from a bug! Hey, but dont worry, this is a
cool bug. these interesting caterpillars start
from a small, in fact tiny, gray egg. It takes
fourteen days for the eggs to hatch. The eggs
will hatch within an hour of each other.
Instantly, they start eating mulberry leaves.
Mulberry leaves are the silkworms main diet.
Silkworms eat constantly! In three weeks, the
will weigh five grams. when they reach this
point, they are ready to spin cocoons and they
weigh 12,000 times more than when they were born.
It takes 24 days to reach this point. When
they get sluggish, stop eating, and look waxy,
that means they are getting ready to start
spinning their cocoons. To start, they spin a
line to anchor the cocoon to a tree branch. It
takes three days to spin a complete cocoon.
During this time, silkworms have to rotate once
every three seconds. In three days the silkworm
will rotate 75,000 times. Even though most
of the silkworms are not allowed to hatch, some
are. When they are ready and formed, an enzyme
is produced to soften the cocoon. when they come
out, theyve turned into moths. Next, the
females produce pheromones to attract males.
Soon after the female lays small gray eggs, the
process starts over again.

The Japanese have been rearing silkworms for
4,000 years. The inner layer of silk within the
cocoon is what is used. This stand of silk is a
mile long and transparent. There is
no substitute for this silk. One farm usually
has 2,000 cocoons. Raw silk is purchased from the
farm in the form of thread. As you can see,
the silkworm is a special bug, and is
very important to the clothing industry. Grade
8, expository based on research. From the
collection of the Oregon Department of Education,
OrganizationThis trait is the internal structure
  • Inviting Opening
  • Sequencing - logical and effective
  • Linking words/phrases
  • Pacing
  • Effective Ending
  • How does it look at intermediate?
  • Create organizational structures that balance all
    aspects of the composition
  • Use effective transitions
  • Support all statements and claims with anecdotes,
    descriptions, facts, statistics, and specific

OrganizationLinks to instruction
  • Strong leads that exhibit students awareness of
    the audience and purpose
  • Essays that are clear, coherent, and focused
  • Writing that contains formal introductions,
    supporting evidence, and conclusions.

Activities to Help Students With Organization
Adapted from 61 Traits of Writing, Ruth Culham
  • Share Student Leads- Ask students to share leads
    from their work and have classmates offer ideas
    of different ways to begin their work.
  • Share Examples from Literature- Read excerpts
    from a variety of sources to show how
    professional writers choose to begin their work
  • Teach Organizational Options
  • Organize by space- Begin with big
    impression, then
  • move to smaller details
  • Organize by Time- Organize
  • Organize by Content- Categorize
    information into categories and write paragraphs
    developing them.

  • Teach Transitions- Connecting words and phrases
    help readers see how one idea ties to another.
    Read a passage omitting the transitions. Then
    read it again with the transitions so students
    can see how transitions add clarity to a piece.
  • Mix It Up- Reorder a poem, story, recipe, etc.
    and ask students to reassemble it in the correct
    order. Cut the text into pieces so students can
    play with it like a puzzle. Ask them to look for
    transition words, lead sentence, then the
  • Putting it in Order- Read aloud a familiar story.
    Have one student stand up and retell the
    beginning and another child to tell the ending.
    Next, have different children tell the middle of
    the story while arranging themselves logically
    between the beginning and the end.
  • Step by Step-Have student write directions for an
    activity such as making a sandwich. Next, have
    classmates follow the written directions in
    order to illustrate the importance of order.
  • Pacing- On an overhead, create an outline of a
    story that treats all details with the same
    importance. Ask students to help you revise the
    piece for organization, noticing that some
    details are very important and need elaboration,
    while others arent important or can be combined
    with other small details.
  • Brainstorm the Possibilities- Make a list of
    techniques authors use to conclude their work.
    Hang the list in the room (profound thought, a
    surprise, a quote, a tie-up, a question or open
    ended statement, a summary, a laugh)

Choose Strong LeadsIn any kind of writing,
leads are critical. Read each lead and have
students explain why one is better than the
other. Read aloud different leads from childrens
literature and let them tell you why the lead was
strong or not.
  • 1a. This will be a story about picnics on our
  • roof. Ready? Here goes.
  • 1b. I will always remember when the stars fell
    down around me and lifted me above the George
    Washington Bridge.
  • 2a. The night Max wore his wolf suit and made
    mischief of one kind and another, his mother
    called him, WILD THING! and Max said, ILL EAT
    YOU UP! so he was sent to bed without eating
  • 2b. In this story, I will tell you about Max, a
    boy who acts wild sometimes.

Staying On Topic / Maintaining Focus
  • Once upon a time, there was a beautiful
    princess who lived in a huge castle. She loved
    her home with the tranquil lagoon and lovely
    flower garden.
  • On her 18th birthday, her father told her that
    he was venturing off to a new land to look for a
    prince for her to marry. Weddings are fun. I
    was a bridesmaid at my sisters wedding.
  • The princess begged to go with her father to
    find her prince, but her father refused. She was
    so angry! Why couldnt she get married to
    someone that she loved?
  • That night she ran away from home in search of
    her prince

  • This is the personal quality of the piece - the
    sense of the writer behind the words.
  • Flavor or tone appropriate to the purpose of
    the audience.
  • Commitment to topic.
  • Involvement, enthusiasm, integrity.
  • How does it look at intermediate?
  • Individuality Sparkle
  • Exuberance Humor
  • Love of writing Playfulness
  • Appropriate for type of writing

VoiceLinks to instruction
  • Helps writers feel safe/accepted
  • Point out voice in books
  • Reward risk --even over success
  • Provide opportunities to hear voice of
  • others
  • Writing TO someone

Activities to Help Students With Voice Adapted
from 61 Traits of Writing, Ruth Culham
  • Voice in Art- Gather 4 - 5 art prints that depict
    the same subject. Choose artists whose styles
    differ significantly. Ask students to compare
    prints and make lists of the ways they are alike
    and how they are different. Help students see
    that each artist develops his or her voice
    through their work, and over time, it becomes
    recognizable to others.
  • Make a Book of Books- Keep a class book of
    favorite passages to show how good writing
    affects us.
  • Greeting Cards With Voice- Gather samples of
    birthday cards and categorize them romantic,
    sarcastic, sincere, cute, sentimental, and so
  • Compare and Contrast- Find two or three books on
    the same topic, but by authors with different
    styles. (The Three Little Pigs and The True
    Story of the Three Little Pigs) Discuss the
    different ways the author of each piece writes
    using a different voice.
  • The Old Switcheroo- Ask students to think of a
    favorite story that they could tell to a partner.
    Next, ask them to change their story by telling
    it from a the point of view of one of the other
    characters. Ask them how the voice changed.

  • Voice in, Voice Out- Find a sample of writing
    where no voice is used manuals, textbooks are
    often a good source. Have students rewrite the
    piece, trying to put in as much voice as
    possible. Try this activity in reverse, too.
    Taking voice out is a good activity for building
    awareness of this trait, since to remove it, they
    must understand it!
  • New Voices, New Choices- Have students write the
    first sentence of a letter to 5 different
    audiences. For instance, if you are studying
    ways to keep our environment clean, have them
    write to the local newspaper, their grandmother,
    an anti-environmentalist, a friend, or the
    president of a local consumer-rights group.
    Discuss how the voice in the writing will change
    depending on the intended audience. Describe
    appropriate voices for each of the audiences.

Word Choice
  • Correct, accurate use of language.
  • Vivid, precise, memorable, noteworthy
  • Effective - original use of everyday
  • words rate high scores.
  • How does it look at intermediate? Correct word
    use without overuse of thesaurus
  • Originality
  • Experiment with use of idioms, analogies,
  • metaphors, and similes.
  • Images, pictures, and ideas that evoke
  • words or phrases.
  • Verbs, unusual or well-used adjectives and
  • Misuse of language or over-reliance on the
    Thesaurus tends to hurt scores!

Word ChoiceLinks to instruction
  • Verbs, verbs, verbs!!
  • Building vocabulary through reading
  • Brainstorming - How else could you say it?
  • Put tired words to rest
  • Eliminate redundancy
  • List words you love

Activities to Help Students With Word Choice
Adapted from 61 Traits of Writing, Ruth Culham
  • Painting With Words- Create a bare-bones
    description of a person, place, or object. Next,
    focus on what you are describing. At the
    overhead, think aloud all your associations with
    the topic. Then show students the description
    after you have painted a picture for the reader
    by focusing on interesting details.
  • The More Detail, the Better- Have students study
    the same inanimate or live object to see who can
    observe the most details and the most unusual
    details. Allow them one minute to observe and
    take object away. Then give them one minute to
    write down everything they can remember about the
  • Describe It, Then Build It- Create 2 identical
    collects of building materials (blocks, sticks,
    cardboard, paper, pipe cleaners corks, buttons,
    and so forth). Have one student build something
    from the collection while a 2nd student is not
    looking. A 3rd student observes the
    construction, then describes it in detail to the
    2nd builder who must work only from the
    description. As a class, discuss the role of
    specific and accurate details.
  • Active and Passive Verbs- Create lists of
    alternative verbs that show rather than tell,
    (said, run, walked, laughed, cried, etc.)
  • Word Jar- Collect precise, descriptive words and
    revisit them often.

  • Find That Word- Read a story or poem with
    excellent words and have students jot down any
    words, phrases, or images that stick in their
    minds. Then have students talk about why they
    chose particular words and why they worked so
    well in creating mind pictures.
  • Expanding Small Phrases to Bigger Ones- Give
    pairs of students simple sentences and ask them
    to enhance meaning by punching up the verbs and
    throwing in a few colorful adjectives and precise
  • Rice Cakes or Salsa? As students discover some
    bland words in their writing, teach them to ask,
    Is this a rice cake word or a salsa word?
    Every paper should have salsa words!
  • Act it Out- Make lists of verbs - some active,
    some passive. Ask students to act out the verbs,
    noticing that passive verbs are more difficult or
    impossible to demonstrate. (eat vs. nibble,
    gobble, munch, scarf, pick at, etc.)

Eliminating Excessive Adjectives/Selecting Exact
Word Choice
  • Magic Mountain is a very cool place to go.
  • is awesome! I liked it a lot. It was fun.
    Batman is cool,
  • but I liked some other rides better.
  • Some of them made me very, very, very dizzy. I
  • felt like I was going to get sick so I took my
    little sister to
  • the kids section for a while. It made me feel
  • I liked the rids as Magic Mountain because they
  • all went really, really, fast. We had to wait a
    really long,
  • long time and my mom almost made up give up and
  • leave some of the long lines. I am so very happy
    that I
  • got to go to the very best amusement park in the

Writing With Details/ Creating Mind
PicturesVote Story 1 versus Story 2
  • Story 1
  • Billy came toward me. He was mean. He was
    riding his bike toward me.
  • His bike stopped. He looked really, really
    mad! He walked close to me.
  • I was scared that he might hurt me.
  • Who are you? he asked.
  • Im Jose, I said.

Mind Picture Story 2
  • Traveling at lightening speed, Billy drove his
    bike wildly down the steep hill. I began to
    tremble. After moving in only the day before, I
    had already learned that Billy was the town
    bully. Even the grown-up were terrified of him!
    He was headed straight for ME!
  • His tires screeched as he slammed down his
    sneakers to stop. I think I even saw smoke
    rising from the asphalt street. His beady eyes
    squinted, his nostrils flared, his mouth was
    drawn tight as he glared at me. Wild red hair
    stood straight up from his freckled face. My
    life flashed before me.
  • I gasped. I could almost picture his dirt
    filled nails going right into my neck as he
    strangled me slowly. Would it hurt?, I
  • Who are you, Geek?, he growled through a
    space between his two front teeth.
  • Uh - uh, Im Bobby and I just moved in
    yesterday, I whispered under my breath. I
    prayed it was not my last breath.

Sentence Fluency
  • This trait focuses on the rhythm and cadence of
    the piece. How does it sound to the ear?
  • Listen for smoothness flow
  • Variety of sentence beginning
  • Differences in sentence lengths
  • Variations in general patterning
  • How does this look at intermediate?
  • Are they beginning to
  • Use rhythmic language
  • Vary sentence beginnings, lengths, and structures
  • Begin sentences in ways that hook them to the
  • preceding sentences (transitions)

Sentence FluencyLinks to instruction
  • Pointing out fluency when reading good
  • Writing and listening to poetry
  • Combining/detangling sentences
  • Wordiness and parallel construction
  • Sentence fragments variety

Activities to Help Students With Sentence Fluency
Adapted from 61 Traits of Writing, Ruth Culham
  • Twisted Twister- Have students participate in a
    tongue twister contest to build up their oral
    fluency. This helps them focus on the way
    language sounds. Purchase A Twister of Twists,
    a Tangler of Tongues- Alvin Schwartz or find some
    on the Internet. Invite students to create their
  • Reading Aloud to Yourself-Have students read
    aloud to practice fluency and to experience
    writing that is easy to read aloud.
  • Ive Got Rhythm- Read aloud poetry that has
    natural language, not poetry that works so hard
    at rhyming that the natural flow is lost.
  • Music to Our Ears- Listen to classical music like
    Peter and the Wolf and Circus of the Animals to
    develop fluency. Let them listen as they close
    their eyes. Then have them listen a 2nd time,
    inviting them to pick a section and write a
    description of what they think is happening.

  • Slinky City- Divide students into groups of 5 and
    give each group a slinky. As you read a piece
    aloud that has little variety, have students
    stretch their Slinky to match the length of each
    sentence. After reading quite a few sentences,
    ask them to stop and discuss what they noticed.
    Were all sentences the same length or were some
    short and snappy while other were long and
    languid? Next, read a piece that does have
    variety in sentence length and structure. Decide
    which piece was more fluent, held their
    attention, and had variety in length and
    structure. Create a class chart that establishes
    criteria for what good sentences should look
  • Choral Reading- Nothing helps students see the
    difference a pause or inflection can make more
    than trying to read a passage or poem aloud with
    other people simultaneously. They need to plan
    where to breathe, stop start, and raise lower
  • End With a Noun- Sentences are more powerful when
    ended with a noun

  • A rolling stone gathers no moss. (noun) If a
    stone rolls, hardly any moss with be gathered.
    (verb) If you dont want moss to gather on a
    stone, roll it. (pronoun) When trying to rid a
    stone of moss, roll it quickly. (adverb) If you
    roll the stone, the moss
  • will become smooth. (adjective)
  • Flipping sentences- Write several sentences on
    sentence strips, cutting apart each word. Divide
    students into groups of 3 and have them assemble
    the sentence. Once completed, ask them to
    rearrange the sentence using the same words. On
    the reverse of some words, there will be capital
    letters or punctuation marks so that the 2nd
    sentence will be correct.
  • Sentence Fragments Bee- Ask one student at a
    time, Is this a sentence or a fragment? as you
    give them an example written on an overhead. To
    remain standing, the student must give the
    correct answer. The last student standing is the
  • Which Is Better? Share 2 versions of a piece of
    writing. They will have the same content, but
    very different sounds. Example
  • We went to the beach. It was sunny. It was
    warm. We had fun. We flew kites. We ate hot
  • We spent a warm, sunny day at the beach
    eating snacks and flying kites.
  • Next, let students practice sentence

Omitting Too Many ands or thens
  • I have a little sister and her name is Ashley.
    She is so cute. And she knows it! She is only
    two years old and she smiles all the time.
  • And sometimes she gets mad at me. I dont like
    it when she plays with my dolls and stuffed
    animals and games and books. I tell her to stop
    and she always screams and then I get in trouble.
    And my mom always thinks I am the one who
    started it and then Ashley just smiles.
  • One day, maybe my mom will think it is Ashleys
    fault and then I will smile and smile and smile
    and then I will think she is cute again.

Getting Kids to Vary SentencesWrite one of each
of the following sentence on sentence strips. On
the reverse side of the two words that can start
each sentence, write a capital letter. Cut up
each sentence and have the students construct the
sentences in two ways. This will strengthen
sentence fluency.
  • The boy rushed to school as he ate his
  • As he ate his breakfast, the boy rushed to
  • The team went out for pizza after winning the
  • After winning the game, the team went out for
  • The shy boy raised his hand, even though he was
  • Even though he was scared, the shy boy raised
    his hand.
  • The young child refused to admit she was sleepy
    although it was midnight.
  • Although it was midnight, the young child
    refused to admit she was sleepy.
  • The boy wondered what the scratching noise at
    his window was long into the night.
  • Long into the night, the boy wondered what the
    scratching noise at his window was.
  • He realized how cold the water was after
    jumping into the pool.
  • After jumping into the pool, he realized how
    cold the water was.

Practice Sentence Building
  • The girl walked.
  • The boy ran.
  • The dog barked.
  • The tree grew.
  • The father picked up the child.
  • The car groaned.
  • The teacher taught.
  • The bird flew.
  • The children worked.

  • This trait reflects the general
  • correctness of the piece. Has it been
  • edited/proofread?
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar Usage
  • Paragraphing
  • Capital Letters
  • How does this look like at intermediate?
  • Proper use of infinitives, participles, clear
    pronouns and antecedents
  • Correct use of hyphens, dashes, brackets, and
  • Applying the spelling of bases and affixes to

ConventionsLinks to instruction
  • Difference between editing and revising
  • Learning and using symbols
  • Model using clear examples in simplified contexts
  • Provide extensive opportunities to receive
    instruction and feedback.

Activities to Help Students With Conventions
Adapted from 61 Traits of Writing, Ruth Culham
  • The Conventions of Conventions- Examine the word
    conventions itself. Discuss, What are the
    conventions of
  • - a holiday dinner?
  • - a baseball game?
  • - the school lunchroom?
  • - a typical day at school?
  • Ask what conventions help traffic flow. What
    would happen if we didnt have traffic
    conventions? Relate their responses to writing
    and what happens when we dont have conventions
    or use them correctly.
  • Conventions Game- Go over basic conventions that
    you know your students can handle on their own.
    Now, tell them you want them to follow some new
    directions such as putting commas where
    semicolons should be, spelling every 3rd word
    incorrectly, capitalizing only words that
    shouldnt be etc. Then give students the
    opportunity to read their pieces aloud and ask
    them if it was difficult to read. Make a list of
    reasons for having rules.

  • Take it Out- Rewrite a short story or passage by
    omitting all punctuation, capitalization, and
    indentation, if appropriate. Group students
    together and ask them to put all conventions back
    in. Have them share and compare their edited
    versions with the original and note any
  • Be Accountable- At the beginning of the year, ask
    students to decide for which types of errors they
    should be held accountable. Be realistic and
    dont let them overdo their list! Throughout the
    year, add conventions to the list when new skills
    have been mastered.
  • Reading Backwards- To check for spelling errors,
    have students read their pieces backwards. That
    way, they focus on each word and dont get caught
    up in the meaning of the words.

  • Silent Interview- Ask a student to come to the
    board. Each of you should have a different color
    marker or chalk. Start by writing a question.
    Have the student answer the question on the next
    line. Continue in this fashion until you have
    several sentences. Next, discuss what would be
    needed if this dialogue was written in a story
    where they couldnt see the speakers.
  • Dialogue Posters- Have students examine dialogue
    from writing pieces and have them create a list
    of Rules for Writing Dialogue.

Name that trait.
  • Who is your audience? What do they need to know?
  • What is the MAIN thing you want to tell our
  • Do you have enough information on your topic?
  • What is the purpose of this paper? Do you think
  • that purpose would be clear to a reader?
  • Do you have a favorite part? Why is it your
  • Are there any unneeded details you could cut?
  • Lets read just your lead. Will it grab the
  • attention?
  • 8. Did you tell things in a logical order?
  • 9. Lets just read your conclusion. Does it
    leave your
  • reader thinking? Hungry for more?

  • Describe the voice of this piece in just one
    word. Is
  • Is it the right voice for this kind of
  • 11. did you use strong verbs? Words like squash,
  • lunge, rush, fume, gallop, provoke, zoom,
  • 12. Do you know the meanings of the words you
  • 13. Did you stretch a little to try a new word?
  • 14. Do your sentences begin in different ways to
  • interest?
  • 15. Are some sentences long and some short so the
  • does not get monotonous?
  • Is it easy to read your paper aloud?
  • 17. Circle all the words you think might not be
    spelled right.
  • Look at each place you began a new paragraph.
  • you think theyre in the right spots?
  • Did you leave out any punctuation marks?
  • 20. Write down what you think is the strongest
    trait in this
  • paper.

Keys to Success in Modes
  • Narrative
  • Write a story - Dont make a list
  • Remember that a good story makes a point
  • Create some tension - a problem to solve, a
  • whats-going-to-happen-next kind of feeling
  • Do NOT write a bed-to-bed story of everything
  • that happened to you that day only tell what
  • matters

  • Be clear
  • Teach your reader something new - do not fill
  • your paper with things everyone knows
  • Imagine you are writing to someone who is
  • bored - make it lively
  • Explain one, two, or three key points dont try
  • to tell everything
  • Write as if you find your topic very interesting

  • Outline the issue(s) or problem clearly for
    readers so
  • they get it
  • Choose ONE position and stick with it - do NOT
  • change sides halfway through your paper
  • Give reasons for believing what you do - think
  • the consequences if people do not agree with
  • Your personal opinion is not a reason - you need
  • facts, examples, or experience to support your
  • argument
  • Consider the other side - show how or why their
  • argument is not as strong as yours

  • Paint a picture for the reader
  • Put the reader right at the scene
  • Appeal to ALL senses - sight, sound,
  • smells, feelings, taste

10 Things you can do now
  • Emphasize process over product.
  • Encourage multiple forms of writing.
  • Encourage personal revision/editing.
  • Encourage teaming among students.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for students
  • to be assessors.
  • Provide resources - let students help!
  • Use the print all around us.
  • Involve parents as coaches.
  • Encourage students to create their own
  • checklists, posters, etc.
  • 10. Talk trait language in all content areas.

Youre Probably Teaching the 6 Traits Now!
  • Do you.
  • Brainstorm? Do research? Make lists? Do
  • Ask readers questions? Use sensory
    details? Pick
  • out favorite details? Work on making the
  • message crystal clear?
  • Youre teaching ideas!
  • Organize information? Group things together that
  • together? Look for patterns? Write more than
    one lead?
  • More than one conclusion? Work on transition
    words like
  • next, therefore, after a while? Think how
    order helps make
  • information interesting?
  • Youre teaching organization!

  • Identify the audience? Think about what the
  • already knows? Wants to know? Adjust the
  • for the audience? Help students find their
    individual voice?
  • Leave their personal mark on a piece of
    writing? Make sure voice/tone matches purpose?
    (e.g., business letter vs.
  • narrative)?
  • Youre teaching voice!
  • Stretch your students knowledge of word
  • Explore how words are used in the literature you
  • Keep lists of favorite and least favorite
    words? Brainstorm alternatives for tired
    words? Encourage students to define specialized
    terminology (e.g., for math or science)?

  • personal notebooks of favorite words?
  • students to teach YOU new words?
  • Youre teaching word choice!
  • Read aloud to students? Read often - and from a
    variety of
  • written sources (tech writing, poetry, business
    writing, novels, etc.)? Encourage students to
    read their own work aloud? Check sentence
    beginnings for variety? Show students how to
    vary sentence length by sentence combining and
    detangling? Work on tips for good sentences
    (e.g., avoiding There is or There are
    beginnings avoiding run-ons)? Keep
    informational/technical pieces short, crisp, and
    to the point?
  • Youre teaching sentence fluency!

  • Ask students to proofread their work? Use
  • spell checkers or other resources? Teach
    students to use
  • copy editors symbols? Provide
    opportunities for students
  • to practice editing on text that is not their
    own? Model
  • editing using your own writing? Ask students
    to be editors for
  • YOU? Post copy editors symbols on the wall
    for quick
  • reference? Practice editing daily - if only
    for a few minutes?
  • Post the 100 most frequently used words for
    easy spelling
  • reference? Model use of dictionaries,
    handbooks, and other
  • resources?
  • Youre teaching conventions!

The End!