Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Strategies to Guide Students Through Reasearch Paper Writing

Here is a post on a blog, courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

Blog: Strategies to guide students through the research-paper process
Edutopia.org (9/28)

I am posting this even though it is not directly linked to 6+1 traits.  However, it talks about building context and engaging students.  It does speak to the best practices of building ideas, etc. that are included in 6+1 so I am publishing here.  I think it is a pertinent topic for high school and some middle school teachers.

Writing and the SAT?

Recently I received a post from ASCD Smart Brief:

School invests more effort in instructing students how to write

A Rhode Island high school has responded to poor student performance on a state science test by requiring writing assignments throughout students' coursework. Sophomores at Mount Hope High School now take writing tests in several subjects; educators have learned to assess the writing to ensure students know how to express concepts learned in classes. The program is credited with improving student performance on the science tests -- which include writing -- by 8 percentage points this year. The Providence Journal (R.I.) (free registration)

After reading the post, it made me think about the importance of having Maine High School students involved in this type of writing.  In Maine, all of our high schools students are required to take the SAT to graduate.  Given the importance of the assessment, I am asking classroom teachers to think about the possibility of crafting assignments aligned with the SAT.  Perhaps this will help our students when faced with this challenge.

If you have any ideas that you use or have thought about, please post a comment.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 22, 2009, Jay Middle School Team

We met on the 22nd and as usual we had a great time:)  I learn so much from this group:)

We spent a fair amount of time accessing the wiki we set up for the project.  We chose this format because it will provide a quick efficient way for teachers to provide a way to use and measure collaborative writing in their classrooms.  We will keep you updated:)

We spent the remainder of our time discussing the writing process model 6+1 traits is built on.  Following is a schematic that has woven the traits into the various stages of the process.

I believe this is the strength of 6+1 traits.  It is a method of approaching writing that honors every stage and provides a rubric to give teachers and students alike a concrete, defined goal.

We also began the discussion regarding the need to reflect on our own writing process and recognize/nurture each student's individual writing process.

We do not think or process the same way.

Consequently, we can cause damage by insisting students process as directed.  This does not imply a free for all, but a level of awareness and collaboration between teacher and student.

   TAKEN from WNY Education Associates   

We will be looking more closely on how we develop
  that awareness when we meet in October.

Here is a resource you may want to visit.  WNY Education Associates

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jay Middle School will meet again on September 22, 2009

We will be meeting tomorrow after school and will be discussing 6 + 1 and the philosophy it is based on.

Here is a quote for us to consider.

"Assessment is not the private property of teachers. Kids can learn to evaluate their own writing. They must take part in this. . .it is central to the growth of writing. Even before they write, they need to know about what makes writing strong or effective. And they need to know the criteria by which their own writing will be judged."

Marjorie Frank

If You're Trying to Teach Kids How to Write...
You've Gotta Have This Book!,
1982, p. 17

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jay MS September 15, 2009

We had our first meeting after school on the 15th. It was a great meeting.

The staff at Jay are all committed to kids and lifelong learning. We have 7 - 8 sometimes - working as a team. They cover language arts, content area, special education, and title one.

We began by reviewing the schedule. We have planned our days so I will be coaching during the day in their classrooms and meeting for two hours after school so we can debrief and explore the next trait. (Photos and lessons will be posted on this site for all to share:) )

As we discussed our plans for the year, we touched on many of the concerns small schools are facing in today's economy - less planning time, longer days, bigger classes. These conditions have changed the delivery of services - cutting back on integrated units (no time to plan together), focusing on the content in order to meet the diverse needs in the classroom.

However, not too surprisingly, this group was more concerned with this change and the impact on students than they were with the extra work load. How inspirational!

We are all looking forward to implementing this program at the middle school and then on to the high school next year. This will provide the students with common instruction and language - as well as allowing teachers to meet individual needs.

Stay tuned - we meet again next week.