Why Focus on Writing? Brainstorm: How is writing used in K-12 settings? Students use writing to…? How is writing used in post-secondary settings (e.g., college/university, workplace, personal)? Adults use writing to…?
Importance of Writing Individuals use writing… In K-12 schooling To acquire and demonstrate knowledge To succeed on assessments In higher education To gain admittance To interact with information In the work place To collaborate To communicate with stakeholders In their personal lives To connect with family and friends To deal with stress
Current Writing Achievement in U.S. National Assessment of Education Progress, 2011
Structure of the Writing Practice Guide Table of Contents Review of Recommendations Acknowledgements Levels of Evidence Introduction Recommendations 1-4 Glossary Appendix Practice Guide Authors Conflicts of Interest Rationale for Levels of Evidence
Overview of Practice Guide Recommendations The panel made 4 recommendations in the practice guide. Provide daily time for students to write Teach students to use the writing process for a variety of purposes Teach students the foundational skills of writing Create an engaged community writers
Teach students to write for a variety of purposes. 1. Help students understand the different purposes of writing. 2. Expand students’ concept of audience. 3. Teach students to emulate the features of good writing. 4. Teach students techniques for writing effectively for different purposes.
Think-Pair-Share What is your knowledge of writing purposes, genres, and audiences? Reflect, and then share with a table member You can only teach what you know! Provide opportunities for teachers to develop their own knowledge of purposes, genres, and audiences within a school/grade
WHY DO WE WRITE? Help students understand the different purposes of writing.
Writing Purposes Purpose drives all decision making in writing Why am I writing this? What do I hope to accomplish? What is the best genre to accomplish my purpose?
Thinking about Writing Purposes On your handout, brainstorm 5 different writing purposes Writing to… For right now only concentrate on the writing purpose column
Thinking about Writing Purposes There are many different purposes for writing. Four common purposes are: To describe To narrate / entertain To inform To persuade There are genres that relate to each purpose, but genres can be used for various purposes
First Steps: Talk about purposes for writing all of the time! Reading: What was the writer trying to accomplish with his writing? Were they successful? Why or why not? Writing: What are you trying to do with your writing? What do you want your audience to feel or do as a result of your writing?
Make the connection Have students write for real purposes! Help them identify what genre might fit best with their purpose. Allow them to take their writing out for a trial run!
WHO DO WE WRITE FOR? Expand students’ concept of audience.
Audience Audience goes hand in hand with purpose. It also drives many of our decisions. Who am I writing for? Who will read what I write? Audience impacts tone and word choice
Developing this skill Activities Have students identify their audience as part of the prewriting process Help students to identify characteristics of their audience Have students write about the same topic for different audiences Students need the opportunity to write for real audiences! Assign writing where you are not the primary audience Allow students receive feedback from real audiences Help students identify with their audience
Thinking about Audience Go back to your handout Writing Purposes, Genres, and Audiences For each purpose, brainstorm two different genres that will meet that purpose, and two different audiences that would read that genre
Goal Setting Engagement Have students set specific goals for their writing based on purpose, audience, and genre Build student engagement and motivation to write Putting it together
Have students set specific goals for their writing based on purpose, audience, and genre I will persuade my mom to let me play basketball this summer by writing a persuasive letter that includes three good reasons. I will entertain my peers by writing a personal narrative that includes language that makes them laugh. I will teach first graders about outer space by writing a feature article that includes definitions for all content area words and a glossary. 23
Build student engagement and motivation Allow students to choose their audience and purpose. Creating assignments that are “real world” or meaningful to students. Help students have a personal stake in the writing. Create a supportive environment where students feel safe to write
WHAT DO GOOD WRITERS DO? Teach students to emulate the features of good writing.
Using Mentor Texts – First Steps Determine instructional goals? What is the focus: Structure Word choice Sentence structures Leads or conclusions Something else?
Using Mentor Texts -- Selecting Text Teachers should select texts that: Include features related to instructional goals Are appropriate to students’ reading level Have exemplary models of the feature
Using Mentor Texts – Sources Use texts from a variety of sources Published texts Textbooks Teacher created writing Peer samples
Think-Pair-Share What have been some of your experiences using mentor text? Are there good sources you have found in your teaching? Reflect, and then share with a neighbor
Using Mentor Text – Exploration Focus on exploration of features related to instructional goals Develop questions Model how to explore a text Provide students opportunities to practice Genre exploration supports both reading and writing!
Explore Mentor Texts! Activity 1 One purpose of mentor texts can be to explore the components of a specific genre. Activity – WWW, What-2, How-2 Who is the main character? When does the story take place? Where does the story take place? What do the characters do or want to do? What happens then? How does the story end? How do the characters feel?
Explore Mentor Texts! Activity 2 Another purpose of mentor texts can be to compare different genres. Activity – Genre Exploration What is the same across two or more genres? What is different across two or more genres? How would you summarize the key features of each genre?
Using Mentor Texts – emulating text Once students understand the features of the text, they can use this information to create their own writing Students need modeling and guided practice before they can do this independently I do ~ we do ~ you do
Explore Mentor Texts! Activity 3 Mentor texts can also provide a model for students to emulate. Activity – Emulating Text Provide students with a sample text Identify key features Provide frames for younger / less experienced writers Encourage creativity
Roadblocks There’s not time in the school day to teach these skills. The school’s writing or English language arts curriculum doesn’t cover these topics. The state assessments ask students only to write in one particular genre. If I spend time teaching other genre and purposes I’m not meeting assessment goals.