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Promoting Literacy in the Classroom Through Writing-to-Learn Strategies Guided-Free Writing Harry G. Lang Rachel C. Lewis.

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Presentation on theme: "Promoting Literacy in the Classroom Through Writing-to-Learn Strategies Guided-Free Writing Harry G. Lang Rachel C. Lewis."— Presentation transcript:

1 Promoting Literacy in the Classroom Through Writing-to-Learn Strategies Guided-Free Writing Harry G. Lang Rachel C. Lewis

2 Objectives By the end of this session, you will be able to: 1. Describe the difference between learning to write and writing-to-learn as emphases in the education of deaf students. 2. Use various informal writing-to-learn strategies as best practices in your teaching. 3. Explain the benefits of writing-to-learn in terms of assessing content learning and the development of literacy in deaf learners.

3 Writing To Learn For five minutes, discuss with one or two people near you the difference between writing to learn andlearning to write. What do you think is the value of each of these emphases for deaf students? [Please do not advance the slides until you are done.]

4 Writing To Learn Writing-to-Learn strategies can enhance English literacy skills, but this is not the primary purpose. Rather, Writing-to-Learn is a useful approach to constructing knowledge – that is, learning CONTENT. Writing-to-Learn also helps teachers to evaluate how students are interpreting activities and discussions and building new conceptions.

5 Writing to Learn How do we (and our students) construct knowledge through experiences and discussions? Social constructivists view: 1. Learning is an active process 2. Learning is a dialogical process

6 Writing to Learn Another important element of the constructivist approach is bringing the students own life experiences into the discussions.

7 There are many types of writing-to- learn strategies. Most are informal writing in the sense that they are used for dialogue. The focus is not on correcting grammar and spelling. Rather, the focus is on discussing the content. Writing to Learn

8 Writing-to-Learn does NOT steal time away from the teaching of content. The primary focus of the writing is on the content.

9 The emphasis on the use of informal writing activities should be on writing as interactive andfunctional communication. Writing can build self esteem. It can encourage vocabulary development, which is critical to reading comprehension, but care should be taken in grading language skills in non-English courses.

10 Many Forms of Writing-to-Learn Guided-Free Writing End-of-Class Reflection Creative Piece Double Entry Rewriting an Excerpt Biographical Sketch (at least a dozen other forms)

11 Guided-Free Writing

12 Activity In the movie linked on the next slide you will see a full, unopened can of Coke placed in a plastic bucket of water. Before viewing the movie, please write down your prediction of what will happen to the can of Coke when it is placed in the water.

13 Activity View Film Clip GF1GF1

14 Activity Next, please write down your observation of what happened when the can of Coke was placed in the water.

15 Activity Third, please write down your explanation/conclusion of why this happened.

16 Activity Next, before viewing the movie on the next slide, please write down your prediction of what will happen to the can of Diet Coke when it is placed in the water.

17 Activity View Film Clip GF2GF2

18 Activity Again, please write down your observation of what happened when the can of Diet Coke was placed in the water.

19 Activity And finally, please write down your explanation/conclusion of why this happened.

20 Guided-Free Writing You just experienced the basic steps of guided-free writing. Importantly, each student was cognitively engaged in this activity, thinking about the science and not waiting for another student to answer questions.

21 Guided-Free Writing The brief writing activities, often just one sentence (or a few words) long, allowed the teacher to see how each student was constructing knowledge from the activity.

22 Guided-Free Writing On the following slides are some examples of deaf students writing from a study with 11 science teachers around the country. See: Lang, H.G., & Albertini, J.A. (2001). Construction of meaning in the authentic science writing of deaf students. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 6,

23 Guided-Free Writing Student 1 Prediction: Coke put water will sink. Diet Coke put water will float. Observations: I am right Coke was sink. I am right. Diet Coke was float. Conclusions: Coke was to much surger and Diet Coke was Surger Free no Surger.

24 Guided-Free Writing Student 1 had the science correct. The teacher could follow up with the spelling of sugar, but should remain focused on the science. Some science teachers collaborated with English teachers to have the writing re-examined in English class following science class.

25 Guided-Free Writing Student 2 Prediction: Water will up a little Observations: It want up a little/coke sick Conclusions: Water didnt go up/And Diet Coke float on the water. Diet is liter then coke cola.

26 Guided-Free Writing The focus of this activity is on relative density (that is, comparing the density of water with the density of the can of liquid). Student 2 was not incorrect in predicting the water level would rise. An experienced teacher will know that by sick the student meant sink. Follow-up dialogue is almost always helpful in promoting the construction of knowledge. The dialogue can be helfpul for enhancing general literacy as well.

27 Guided-Free Writing In the following slide, another student describes in-depth the difference between what happened with the Coke and Diet Coke. While the language is not always easy to understand, the student had the science right. In this case, teachers using writing-to-learn strategies as best practices will need to learn the best balance for staying focused on the science (or math) and helping the student with general English literacy. In terms of motivating students to learn, focusing on what the student does right is as important (or more so) than focusing on what is not right.

28 Guided-Free Writing I know about weight mean heavy or light how many number of weight, mass. Coke will heavy than diet Coke not same kind of diet Coke and Coke. I want know what about water, soda will in the water? I think that Coke will more weight Wait see? Well I am right that Coke is heavy Why because Coke has much of sugar. Cans is Coke in the water is deep. Coke is different mass of the diet Coke is light. I think that Coke is much sugar. I learned only that Coke much sugar diet coke fake sugar for body is diet, coke is body is fat. Coke too much sugar. I think Coke not good for body, diet Coke good for body is diet.

29 Guided-Free Writing Mathematics Example: In a math class, a teacher asked her students to predict what the following equation will look like when graphed:

30 Guided-Free Writing Predict what the graph of will look like. Student Prediction: Will look like an angle with up. Student Observation: The graph become a wilder because 1/2 will wilder.

31 Guided-Free Writing Predict what the graph of will look like. Again, the student had the correct answer but the English was difficult to read. By an angle with up, the student meant a V-shaped graph By wilder the student meant wider.

32 Guided-Free Writing: Teacher Reflection Did the writing strategy help you assess your students comprehension of the concept being taught? The students understood how the graph shifted up and down and how to find the vertex. Would you use the strategy again? If so, what would you do differently? I would write the question in their journal. Some time was wasted with students copying the question.

33 Guided-Free Writing Film Clip GF3 illustrates how a mathematics teacher gives instructions to her students about making a prediction in the first step of her lesson on equations.GF3

34 Guided-Free Writing Film Clip GF4 illustrates another mathematics teacher who has two groups of students. They both have the same size cylinder. One group was asked to double the cylinders radius and the other group was asked to double the cylinders height.GF4 The prediction has been made by the students. In the next step, the teacher gives instructions to her students about doing the computations and observing what actually happens to the volume.

35 Guided-Free Writing Film Clip GF5 illustrates how this mathematics teacher now gives instructions to her students about using guided-free writing to write one sentence explaining WHY the two groups have different answers.GF5 She hopes that the students will discover that doubling the radius will quadruple the volume, while doubling the height will only double the volume, since the formula for the volume of a cylinder is V= π r 2 h

36 Guided-Free Writing In a science class, students are given cups of oil, syrup, and alcohol and they are first asked to predict in writing what will happen to the three liquids if mixed together.

37 Guided-Free Writing This student submitted a drawing showing the liquids in a glass cylinder, but the predictions were not related to relative densities. A. How does the liquid look? 1. Syrup weight, sticky, browny, sweet 2. Alcohol bitter, liquid, wet, smooth 3. Oil slippery, yellow, smooth

38 Guided-Free Writing This student also submitted a drawing Guess the layers --- alcohol --- oil --- syrup

39 Guided-Free Writing In the next step, the student recorded the observation after the liquids were mixed. List the layers in order (observation) --- oil --- alcohol --- syrup

40 Guided-Free Writing Using guided-free writing, the third step for this teacher would be to ask them to describe WHY they observed the liquids in that order. This is an opportunity to see if they are learning that the different liquids have different densities relative to the others.

41 Guided-Free Writing In the Lang & Albertini study, science teachers tried a variety of guided-free writing-to-learn activities. In the following slide, a teacher asked the students to predict what would happen to a column of worms over time (long-term activity as compared to short-term activity with the Coke and Diet Coke)

42 Worms: Contribution to an Ecological System Student Conclusion: After a week, I dumped all of my soil out and MAN did I see more tiny worms just look likes baby ones. Some of the leaves were smaller because the worms ate the leaves. The newspaper were tangled on the soil because I put too much water in the column. My concern about how come do I have more worms that before? How do they make more babies? Do they have sex or have some kind of talent to make babies?

43 Worms: Contribution to an Ecological System This teacher had also requested that the students ask any questions they may have. As shown in the previous slide, the students construction of knowledge led to some excellent questions, which (as shown in the next slide) induced additional discussion in the following class.

44 Teacher Reflection: Social Constructivism What did I think of their conclusions? I liked that it raised questions and hypotheses as to what happened. I like the writing about the experience because it really solidifies thinking. Often they will raise questions or mention something in passing and that is exactly what happens it gets passed up and not followed up on….Most were curious about worm reproduction (and upon thinking about it I became quite curious about worm reproduction myself! Yikes, how does it happen??). So we will research sexual and asexual reproduction and figure out the love life of the common worm.

45 Guided-Free Writing Another teacher reflected in general on this writing-to-learn approach: On the subject of guided-free writing, I think the process takes longer because of stopping to write, but I find that the students will write because they have something worthwhile and visible to write about. Whereas, before I was having them do lab reports after everything was done and they were like filling in the blank and I did not feel the true concept was understood. I prefer the guided free [approach] also because students are writing and communicating with me at the same time and I was getting a more accurate picture of exactly who understood and who did not.

46 Example of guided-free writing from a Social Studies class: What can you predict (before reading) about Russias climate and geography? Deaf students writing: What I can predict is that Russias geography is bigger than other country but it has less mountain, lake. The climate is very badly not alike we have in here it always snow all the time less spring, summer. I am not sure about that season. I bet it will have that kind of season.

47 Example of guided-free writing from a Social Studies class: What did you learn about Russias climate? Students writing: I have learned about Russias climate is that they had about degrees latitude with 20 degrees temperature in north of Russian same as Alaska it could be pretty cold up there but in Pennsylvania is about degrees temperature not that bad but it is cold too.

48 Guided-Free Writing Some teachers noted that this particular informal writing strategy promoted the development of thinking skills as well as learning content.

49 Guided-Free Writing Another teacher noticed transfer of learning. Teacher: The writing from Joe definitely blew me away with his analogy of the miniature pumpkin to the mapping of the earth. I knew right away he understood the mapping of the earth….I was not looking for that connection, but was thrilled by it when I read it! I had him share his writing with the class and the others understood his observation better.

50 Guided-Free Writing Social Constructivism Teacher Reflection: I would agree that the guided-free writing could help us assess concepts and misconceptions, as evident in this students writing. Many times in sign language, students seem to understand and then write about it and its a different perspective. Sometimes, it will take many tries and then also I do use my students that have a clear understanding of the concept to teach the ones that dont.

51 Guided-Free Writing Summary Guided-Free Writing can be very useful in helping a teacher to assess how each student is constructing new knowledge by building upon prior knowledge. Students will also learn to write while using writing-to-learn activities, but the focus in the content areas should be primarily on the subject matter learning.

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