Presentation on theme: "Surveying the Components of an Effective Elementary Writing Program Matt Copeland, KSDE Writing Consultant Kansas State Department of Education 785-296-5060."— Presentation transcript:
Surveying the Components of an Effective Elementary Writing Program Matt Copeland, KSDE Writing Consultant Kansas State Department of Education 785-296-5060 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Survey (available electronically on KSDE Writing homepage)
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 1. Students are not doing enough writing. The only way to improve student writing is to have students write. Writing is a skill, and as such, only improves with much (guided) practice. Survey Questions: A1, A2, B2, B6, B7
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 2. Writing is sometimes assigned rather than taught. Too often, students are being asked to write to higher standards without the proper level of instructional support. As a result, students may be writing more frequently but not really showing the level of progression we expect. Survey Questions: A1, A3, A4, B4, B5, C1-C7, E1-E6, F2, G2, G6
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 3. Under-achieving writers are asked to write less than their peers. With struggling writers, the tendency of some teachers is to slow down and assign less—expectations are lowered. Students in the low track are more likely to do less writing and more worksheets. Students who need twice as much writing instruction, end up receiving half the instruction of others. Focused Reflection: A1, A2, B2, B6, B7
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 4. English language learners are often short-changed as well. Expectations and standards for ELL students are often too watered-down and classroom activities offer no hint of authentic reading and writing experiences. How can students improve their reading and writing of English if they are not provided high-quality instruction and opportunities to practice these skills? Focused Reflection: A1, A2, B2, B6, B7
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 5. Grammar and usage instruction is ineffective or ignored. Worksheets and/or a blind eye to grammar and usage do not work. Langer (2002) identifies effective instruction in this area as a “balanced approach” of learning opportunities: 1.separated instruction—where rules are taught; 2.simulated instruction—where students apply rules in reading and writing; and 3.integrated instruction—where students apply skills to real- world situations. Survey Questions: E4, E5, E6
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 6. Students are not given enough timed- writing instruction or practice. Many of the skills needed to write well on demand differ from those needed to write a worthwhile process-based piece. Students need practice in both of these realms to be prepared for their futures. Focused Reflection: A1, A2, B2, B6, B7
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 7. Some teachers have little or no knowledge of district-level or state-level writing standards. Do an informal survey of teachers in your building: How many Kansas standards are there in writing? How many Kansas benchmarks are there in writing? What types of writing are assessed on the Kansas Writing Assessment at the 5 th, 8 th, and 11 th grade levels?
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 8. Writing topics are often mandated with little thought about the prior knowledge and interests of students. If we want students to become lifelong writers, students must see writing as intrinsically important—not just another school assignment. Fostering student buy-in for writing comes from balancing teacher- mandated topics (which can be open-ended) with giving students choices of interesting writing assignments. B1, B3, B4, B5, B7, E3
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 9. Teachers are doing too much of the work. Students are not doing enough. Too many teachers are allowing too many students to get away with too little work: teachers should not accept writing completed without effort; students must know writing isn’t “finished” after a first draft; (A1, A5, E1-E6, F6, F7) teachers shouldn’t be the ones to “fix” student writing. (A3, E1-E6)
Top 10 Writing Wrongs in Schools (Gallagher, 2006) 10. Teachers need additional time and resources to help in assessing student writing. When to assess, how to assess, and what to assess are issues that remain cloudy for many teachers. These issues and the possibility of drowning in the paper load have discouraged many a teacher from giving students the frequent writing experiences they need. C6, D3, D6, D7
Righting Writing Wrongs: Six Pillars of Writing Success 1. Students need a lot more writing practice. (Gallagher, 2006) The National Commission on Writing (2003) is suggesting that schools aim to double the amount of time most students spend writing. A1, A2, B2, B6, B7
Righting Writing Wrongs: Six Pillars of Writing Success 2. Students need teachers who model good writing. (Gallagher, 2006) Students learn by seeing the writing process in action, being modeled consistently by the best writer in that classroom—the teacher. Teachers modeling good writing strategies helps students to internalize those same strategies, letting them see how the work is done “in the field.” F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7
Righting Writing Wrongs: Six Pillars of Writing Success 3. Students need many opportunities to read and study other writers. (Gallagher, 2006) Students who read a lot come to class better prepared to bloom when writing instruction is introduced. Voluminous reading alone does not make the writer, but those students who are readers come to the writing task with a marked advantage. G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6
Righting Writing Wrongs: Six Pillars of Writing Success 4. Students need choice when it comes to writing topics. (Gallagher, 2006) Choice fosters a feeling of ownership in the writer. With ownership, a writer is much more likely to see the process through to full fruition. Choice drives better revision. The prime determiner in whether a student will spend meaningful time revising a draft is whether or not she cares about the writing. B3, B4, B5
Righting Writing Wrongs: Six Pillars of Writing Success 5. Students need to write for authentic purposes and for authentic audiences. (Gallagher, 2006) Student writing improves when their purpose for writing is clearly identified and personally significant and when they are writing for a wide range of audiences both inside and outside of school. A2, B2, B3, B6, B7
Righting Writing Wrongs: Six Pillars of Writing Success 6. Students need meaningful feedback from both the teacher and their peers. (Gallagher, 2006) Student writing also improves when they receive regular, on- going, constructive feedback on their work both from the teacher, other students in the classroom, and other individuals outside of the classroom. C2, C3, C5, C6, D3, D6, D7, E3, F3, F6
Key Elements of Writing in the Elementary School Personal Experience Personal Experience –In order to write, students must have something about which to write. –Sometimes they need teachers to help them recognize these writing opportunities. –There is no need to contrive situations or isolate writing from real experiences. (Writing in the Real World, 1996) B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7
Key Elements of Writing in the Elementary School Talk as an Integral Part of Writing Talk as an Integral Part of Writing –Discussion before, during, and after writing— both in groups and in individual conferences— can generate ideas for and improve the quality of student writing. (Writing in the Real World, 1996) A2, A5, B4, B5, C1, C3, C5, C6, D3, D4, D6, D7, E1, E2, E3, F1, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, H2, H6
Real-World Reasons to Write Real-World Reasons to Write –Writing occurs best when students have a variety of real reasons for writing: a variety of real purposes, for a variety of real audiences, in a variety of real contexts. Key Elements of Writing in the Elementary School (Writing in the Real World, 1996) A2, B1, B2, B3, B6, B7
Key Elements of Writing in the Elementary School Acceptance and Praise of Each Writing Effort Acceptance and Praise of Each Writing Effort –Writing is a risk-taking operation. –Students trust that their writing will be accepted and valued. –This trust is a prerequisite for their continued willingness to engage in writing. (Writing in the Real World, 1996) A1, B4, F1-F7, H1, H3, H5, H6, H7
Characteristics of an Effective Elementary Writing Program Teachers: Teachers: –must write to, for, and with students (F1-F7); –must know the attitudes, interests, and backgrounds of their students; –must focus on effective writing strategies and elements of the writing process (A1-A5, E1-E6, G1-G6,); –must assess continually (D1-D7, H1-H7); –must share samples of their own writing in process and in final form (F1-F7); and –must help parents value children’s writing (C7, H2, H5). (Writing in the Real World, 1996)
Characteristics of an Effective Elementary Writing Program Students: Students: –need daily opportunities to write (A2); –need daily opportunities to share writing (D7); –need opportunities to select their own writing topics (B5);
Characteristics of an Effective Elementary Writing Program Students: Students: –need opportunities to participate in pre-writing (invention) activities (A1, A5); –need opportunities to experiment with language (C5, D7, E1, E3, H3, H6); –need time allotted for multiple drafts (A1, H7); (Writing in the Real World, 1996)
What the Writing Process is NOT… One Student’s View of the Writing Process: Step 1: Wait Patiently Step 2: Get Hit by Lightning Bolt of Inspiration Step 3: Write Wonderful Paper Step 4: Get Picked apart by Cruel Teacher (Black, 1991)
Characteristics of an Effective Elementary Writing Program Students: Students: –need writing as an extension activity for literature study (or any new content) (C2); –need collaborative writing experiences; –need opportunities to write for authentic purposes, audiences, and contexts (A2, B2, B7); and –need cumulative writing folders and/or portfolios (H1- H7). (Writing in the Real World, 1996)
Characteristics of an Effective Elementary Writing Program Parents: Parents: –should promote and encourage writing by using all naturally occurring opportunities for writing; –should encourage writing as they model it through their daily interactions; –should help children make connections between reading and writing; and –should celebrate and praise attempts. (Writing in the Real World, 1996)
Teacher/Building Reflection –my personal strengths and my personal areas for improvement? –the strengths of our school and the school’s areas for improvement? In light of this information and in reviewing the survey questions, what areas appear to be….
Classroom/School Goal Setting Create two individual and two school goals: This school year I will increase my personal use of to times per year. This school year I will increase my personal use of ________(strategy)_________ to ___(#)___ times per year. This year our school will increase our use of to times per year. This year our school will increase our use of ________(strategy)_________ to ___(#)___ times per year.
Communication from KSDE about Writing KSDE Writing Homepage KSDE Writing ListServ (email me to be added to this list) Contact me directly Phone (785) 296-5060 Email email@example.com
Bibliography Black, K. (1991). Student’s view of the writing process. Journal of Reading, 34 (3). Gallagher, K. (2006). Teaching adolescent writers. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. Langer, J. A. (2002). Effective literacy programs: Building successful reading and writing programs. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Bibliography (cont’d) National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools and Colleges. (2003). The neglected “R”: The need for a writing revolution. New York: College Board. Available online. Writing in the real world: The primary grades. (1996). Raleigh NC: North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. Available online.