moving in the "write" direction: learning to write, writing to learn

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  1. 1. Moving in the Write Direction Learning to Write Writing to Learn Writing Assessment Scoring Training Allison Mackley and Renee Owens 2009 - 2010
  2. 2. Essential Questions What does instruction need to look like in order to support students in their writing? How can teaching writing strategies actually enhance and support content standards? If teachers and students invest time and effort in developing writing strategies, how will this impact student success in our district?
  3. 3. Agenda Understanding the PSSA Writing Assessment Describing the work of the Writing Framework Committee Understanding the modes of writing Defining components within the domains of writing Writing in the content areas: writing process Recognizing the PSSA performance levels Scoring by domain focus: inter-rater reliability Identifying implications for teaching and learning (Writing-to-Learn)
  4. 4. Expected Outcomes Teacher will have a common understanding of benchmark writing Teachers will be able to explain and apply the mode specific PA Writing Rubric to actual student papers in their own content areas. Teachers will be able to defend a score that they assign. Teachers will develop Writing-to-Learn prompts to encourage development of focus, content, organization and style in student writing.
  5. 5. Background of PSSA In 1999 Pennsylvania adopted academic standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening and Mathematics. Standards identify what a student should know and be able to do at varying grade levels. Annual PSSA is a standard based, criterion-referenced assessment used to measure a student's attainment of the academic standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards. Every student in the 5th , 8th , and 11th grade is assessed in writing. Students in 5th grade are assessed in two modes of writing (narrative, informational or persuasive). Students in 8th and 11th grade are assessed in two modes of writing (informational and persuasive writing).
  6. 6. Writing Framework Committee In 2004 the DTSD Writing Framework Committee was established. Each core subject area, the learning support team, and the encore team are represented on this committee. Task 1 - Research Task 2 - Make recommended changes. Task 3 - Evaluate proposed changes and create a plan of implementation. The Writing Scope and Sequence that was developed by this committee will guide our instruction. During 2009-2010 school year Committee will revisit their work to incorporate Collins Writing
  7. 7. Narrative Mode Purpose: Tell a story Recall an experience or event Create, manipulate, interpret reality Require writers to closely observe, explore, and reflect upon a wide range of experiences Organization/Structures: Chronological Beginning, Middle, End
  8. 8. Informational Mode Purpose: Share knowledge by reporting on events or experiences Convey messages, instructions or ideas by explaining, summarizing, instructing, categorizing, or defining Make connections between the familiar and the unfamiliar Analyze or evaluate information through judging, ranking, hypothesizing, or generalizing Organization/Structures: compare/contrast cause/effect problem/solution definition process analysis Illustration spatial
  9. 9. Persuasive Mode Purpose: Convince or persuade the reader to take action or to formulate an opinion Refute arguments that are contrary to the writers point of view or position Organization/Structures: compare/contrast cause/effect problem/solution illustration definition process analysis
  10. 10. Focus The single controlling point made with an awareness of task about a specific topic. Single controlling point (purpose or intended emphasis) Awareness of task (format and mode: narrative, informational or persuasive) Specific topic (narrow subject)
  11. 11. Content/Ideas The presence and development of facts, examples, anecdotes, details, opinions, statistics, reasons, explanations and/or ideas. Presence (information is clear, focused and compelling) Development (in-depth understanding of topic, significant details, layering of details)
  12. 12. Why do students struggle with focus and content? Writing is complex. Creating new visions and texts is hard very hard. Writing is a way for students to discover what they think and what they have to say. Even though students have amazing ideas in their minds, it is hard for them to recognize these ideas, select those that are worthy topics for writing, and then get them down so readers clearly understand the content of the piece. Often student writers take the easy way out and list or summarize their ideas. 6+1 Traits of Writing Ruth Culham
  13. 13. Why do students struggle with focus and content? Students think faster than they can write. Students have to understand that they cant write about everything they have to narrow their ideas down to those that are manageable. Through elaboration and details, students bring their ideas to life. 6+1 Traits of Writing Ruth Culham
  14. 14. Why do students struggle with focus and content? Students dont write for themselves. Many students play the writing game in order to please the teacher. How long does it have to be? Is this what you want? Is this right? Does my paper say what you want to hear? If students are truly ever to see themselves as writers and not just finishers, they have to be honored for the struggle not just the outcome. 6+1 Traits of Writing Ruth Culham
  15. 15. Organization The order developed and sustained within and across paragraphs using transitional devices and including introduction and conclusion Developed (thoughtful structure) Sustained (guides reader) Across paragraphs (smoothly embedded never too obvious) Transitional devices (well-crafted transitions) Introduction (unforgettable opening) Conclusion (leaves reader with strong impact)
  16. 16. Why do students struggle with organizing their writing? Rigid organization is often overvalued. Teach students to be the best writers they can be, knowing there will be lumps and bumps along the way. Understand that the five paragraph format is not the only way to organize, but it is a good place to begin. Provide strategies that encourage long-term growth not just improvement on a standardized test. 6+1 Traits of Writing Ruth Culham
  17. 17. Why do students struggle with organizing their writing? Organization is really hard. There is no right way to organize, but there is a right way to think about it: The overall effect of good organization should be to showcase the ideas. There are techniques that students can learn, ranging from simple tricks to sophisticated strategies. 6+1 Traits of Writing Ruth Culham
  18. 18. Why do students struggle with organizing their writing? We look for a one-size-fits-all program. No one way to organize a paragraph or a whole paper can be right for every writing situation. Student writers need an array of organizational strategies from which to choose in order to make their ideas shine. Organization and ideas work hand in hand. To organize a text well, one must have meaty ideas that can be grouped logically to form a beginning, middle and end. 6+1 Traits of Writing Ruth Culham
  19. 19. Style Developmentally, students should have a solid foundation of strategies to narrow their focus, elaborate on ideas and organize their writing before style is fully developed.
  20. 20. Style The choice, use and arrangement of words and sentence structures that create tone and voice Choice, use and arrangement of words (exact language, striking language, natural language) Sentence structures (fluency the rhythm and flow of sentences; variety of sentence length and structure) Tone (attitude of the author toward the audience and/or characters) Voice (individuality, perspective, expressiveness, sensitivity to audience, enthusiasm for a topic, confidence)
  21. 21. The Writing Process A Universal Method Prewriting Choosing a subject Gathering details Drafting Developing ideas Revising Improving content and organization to clarify or strengthen the idea (focus, content, organization, style) Editing Making the text more readable and understandable through correct use of conventions (grammar, mechanics, usage, sentence formation, spelling) Publishing Sharing with your teacher, peers, friends, family members and/or community
  22. 22. Cyclical and Recursive
  23. 23. Possible Formats Meet the needs of your content area. Essay Wiki Blog post/response Memo Email (reminder, information exchange, recommendation, announcement) Lab report Letter (application, complaint, request, informative, promoting something) Proposal Trial (statement of defense, opening statement, closing statement) Editorial News release Advertisement Manual Newsletter Public service announcement Evaluation Journal Analysis of data Critique Review Postcard Graph with written illustration Debate statement See for a variety of format types from the National Library of Medicine.
  24. 24. Gradual Release of Responsibility Model Share Guide Independent Practice
  25. 25. Classroom Instruction in Action Model the domain and mode. Provide expert modelsexpands access to writing beyond the students abilities. Provide student models. Share the responsibility. Write with your students to model writing strategies. Write in the chosen format to anticipate challenges. Create short pieces of writing that focus on the mode and domain; teacher scribes.
  26. 26. Classroom Instruction in Action continued Gu


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