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Using the 6+1 Writing Traits and Developing Student Writing Portfolios

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  1. Using the 6+1 Writing Traitsand Developing Student Writing Portfolios presented by Cheri Lynn Gregory www.InHisDelight.com justcheri@aol.com

  2. They are NOT: A “writing program” A “quick fix” Successful in worksheet-dominated classrooms Meant to be learned in a 75 minute seminar They ARE: A common language to talk about writing Shared vision of what good writing looks like in all forms of writing An assessment tool for teachers and students A model to use in a writing process classroom What are the 6+1 Writing Traits?

  3. What are the 6+1 Writing Traits? Some “givens” about writing: • Hard things take time.

  4. What are the 6+1 Writing Traits? Some “givens” about writing: • Hard things take time. • Writing is a hard thing to do.

  5. What are the 6+1 Writing Traits? Some “givens” about writing: • Hard things take time. • Writing is a hard thing to do. • Tomorrow we’ll be better than we are today.

  6. What are the 6+1 Writing Traits? Some “givens” about writing: • Hard things take time. • Writing is a hard thing to do. • Tomorrow we’ll be better than we are today. • Next year we’ll be better than we are this year.

  7. What are the 6+1 Writing Traits? WRITE is too big an idea for our students to grasp • So, we teach them the Writing Process with lots of “baby steps” along the way

  8. What are the 6+1 Writing Traits? REVISE is too big an idea for our students to grasp • So, we teach them to look at each of the 6+1 Traits individually

  9. What are the 6+1 Writing Traits? • Ideas • Organization • Voice • Word Choice • Sentence Fluency • Conventions • (Presentation)

  10. How are the Traits Scored? 5 = STRONG • Shows control and skill in this trait • Many strengths present in this trait • Not perfect, but on its way in this trait

  11. How are the Traits Scored? 4 = EFFECTIVE • Strengths outweigh weaknesses in this trait • Minimal revision needed in this trait • Solid grade-level performance in this trait

  12. How are the Traits Scored? 3 = DEVELOPING • Strengths and weaknesses are about equal in this trait • About “half-way home” in this trait • Minimal grade-level performance in this trait

  13. How are the Traits Scored? 2 = EMERGING • Need for revision outweighs strengths in this trait • Isolated moments hint at what writer is attempting in this trait • Below grade-level performance in this trait

  14. How are the Traits Scored? 1 = NOT YET • A bare beginning in this trait • Writer is not showing any control in this trait • Far below grade-level performance in this trait

  15. How are the Traits Scored? #1 concern is always the child, not the paper. • Voice involves some risk; is my class a place where some risk can be taken? • Focusing on one trait at a time prevents you from swamping the student with too much feedback at once • Find one strength: excite student to build on it • Pick one trait to work on: movtivate student to grow • Only comment on papers that will still be re-worked!

  16. Trait 1: IDEAS • Topic is narrow and manageable • One, clear main idea supported with details • Quality details beyond the obvious • Accurate details • Readers’ questions anticipated & answered • Clear and focused • Details enrich and develop theme • Understanding of topic demonstrated • Fresh and original ideas apparent

  17. Trait 1: IDEAS Paper Title:Skateboarding Grade:6th My T-Shirt slogan would say “Skateboarding, What a life to live.” I would choose this slogan because skateboarding is one of my favorite hobbies. I learned skateboarding from one of my old best friends. He taught me tricks. But then he moved to Texas and I havent seen him for sevral years.

  18. Trait 1: IDEAS 5 = STRONG Shows control and skill in this trait . . . Many strengths present . . . Not perfect, but on its way 4 = EFFECTIVE Strengths outweigh weaknesses in this trait . . . Minimal revision needed . . . Solid grade-level performance 3 = DEVELOPING Strengths and weaknesses are about equal for this trait . . . About “half-way home” . . . Minimal grade-level performance 2 = EMERGING Need for revision outweighs strengths for this trait . . . Isolated moments hint at what writer is attempting . . . Below grade-level performance 1 = NOT YET A bare beginning for this trait . . . Writer is not showing any control . . . Far below grade-level performance

  19. Trait 2: ORGANIZATION • Original title captures theme • Inviting introduction • Structure matches purpose and audience • Organization flows smoothly • Thoughtful ideas show how ideas connect • Logical and effective sequence of details • Effective placement of details • Controlled pace • Satisfying conclusion

  20. Trait 2: ORGANIZATION Paper Title: Older vs. Younger (2nd paragraph of a paper) Grade: 9th But being a younger sibling has its own problems. First of all, we have to deal with hearing, “Why can’t you be more like your big brother/sister?” We have to deal with the pressure of living up to the “example” of our older siblings. Then, there are those who think that they are so much better than we are, just because they are a year or so older: the power hungry ones. They even see one year as a big gap. Then we have to deal with being told, “I’ve lived longer, so I know better.” Plus, younger siblings are constantly having to put up with annoying older siblings who absolutely hate it when we go through their stuff, but somehow they exercise their right to go through ours. Such injustice!

  21. Trait 2: ORGANIZATION 5 = STRONG Shows control and skill in this trait . . . Many strengths present . . . Not perfect, but on its way 4 = EFFECTIVE Strengths outweigh weaknesses in this trait . . . Minimal revision needed . . . Solid grade-level performance 3 = DEVELOPING Strengths and weaknesses are about equal for this trait . . . About “half-way home” . . . Minimal grade-level performance 2 = EMERGING Need for revision outweighs strengths for this trait . . . Isolated moments hint at what writer is attempting . . . Below grade-level performance 1 = NOT YET A bare beginning for this trait . . . Writer is not showing any control . . . Far below grade-level performance

  22. Trait 3: VOICE • Writing individual, compelling, engaging • Risks taken • Flavor and texture apparent • Appropriate voice chosen for audience • Writing honest and personal (narrative) • Commitment shown (persuasive/exposatory) • Voice makes reader think about point of view • Voice control and consistency throughout piece • Strong interaction between reader and writer

  23. Trait 3: VOICE Paper Title: Letter of Complaint Grade: 8th Hey Buddy! Listen up! This is your mouth speaking! I was invented for talking, so you had better pay attention! First of all, man, what are you thinking? Here’s a lesson in life: when food comes right off the stove, it’s hot. Do you understand second-degree burns? And please don’t shovel it all down in a half second! Trust me, buddy, it’s not going anywhere. I don’t need to work that hard. Second, do you really need to eat your own cooking? I mean, that’s why McDonalds was invented, right? At least their food has flavor! (No, I don’t consider “burnt” a real flavor!) And when you eat your own “cooking,” please don’t bite the tongue. It’s in enough pain from having to deal with your concoction, anyway!

  24. Trait 3: VOICE 5 = STRONG Shows control and skill in this trait . . . Many strengths present . . . Not perfect, but on its way 4 = EFFECTIVE Strengths outweigh weaknesses in this trait . . . Minimal revision needed . . . Solid grade-level performance 3 = DEVELOPING Strengths and weaknesses are about equal for this trait . . . About “half-way home” . . . Minimal grade-level performance 2 = EMERGING Need for revision outweighs strengths for this trait . . . Isolated moments hint at what writer is attempting . . . Below grade-level performance 1 = NOT YET A bare beginning for this trait . . . Writer is not showing any control . . . Far below grade-level performance

  25. Trait 4: WORD CHOICE • Accurate and specific topic words • Words and phrases create pictures • Individual and effective natural language • Striking words and phrases • Lively and energetic verbs • Precise nouns and modifiers • Effective word and phrase placement • Everyday words used well • Standard American English used consistently

  26. Trait 4: WORD CHOICE Paper Title: The Field (Paragraph 1) Grade: 9th The warmth of the sun embraces the field like a mother hugging her child. The wind gently sways the overgrown grass, sending light kisses over my cheeks. I see at least five shades of green, each blending perfectly into the next so no one calls attention to itself. Speckles of tiny purple flowers adorn the pasture. Who would have thought green and purple could complement each other so? As my eyes roam this immense field, they are greeted with an occasional buttercup, glowing and vibrant as a young child, bringing life to an otherwise dull, subtle pasture.

  27. Trait 4: WORD CHOICE 5 = STRONG Shows control and skill in this trait . . . Many strengths present . . . Not perfect, but on its way 4 = EFFECTIVE Strengths outweigh weaknesses in this trait . . . Minimal revision needed . . . Solid grade-level performance 3 = DEVELOPING Strengths and weaknesses are about equal for this trait . . . About “half-way home” . . . Minimal grade-level performance 2 = EMERGING Need for revision outweighs strengths for this trait . . . Isolated moments hint at what writer is attempting . . . Below grade-level performance 1 = NOT YET A bare beginning for this trait . . . Writer is not showing any control . . . Far below grade-level performance

  28. Trait 5: SENTENCE FLUENCY • Easy flow, rhythm, and cadence • Well-built and strong sentences for easy reading • Sentences underscore and enhance meaning • Sentences vary in length and structure • Sentence fragments used appropriately • Natural dialog, if used • Purposeful and varied sentence beginnings • Creative and appropriate use of connectives

  29. Trait 5: SENTENCE FLUENCY Paper Title: The Field (Paragraph 2) Grade: 9th In the background, I hear a live concert. Birds sing the melody to a song only they know, accompanied by bees’ monotone humming. A white butterfly dances happily above the pasture in pursuit of the perfect flower. Finding one suitable, it lands gracefully to partake of the sweetness behind the flower’s brilliant colors. An occasional lady bug dots the field.

  30. Trait 5: SENTENCE FLUENCY 5 = STRONG Shows control and skill in this trait . . . Many strengths present . . . Not perfect, but on its way 4 = EFFECTIVE Strengths outweigh weaknesses in this trait . . . Minimal revision needed . . . Solid grade-level performance 3 = DEVELOPING Strengths and weaknesses are about equal for this trait . . . About “half-way home” . . . Minimal grade-level performance 2 = EMERGING Need for revision outweighs strengths for this trait . . . Isolated moments hint at what writer is attempting . . . Below grade-level performance 1 = NOT YET A bare beginning for this trait . . . Writer is not showing any control . . . Far below grade-level performance

  31. Trait 6: CONVENTIONS • Correct spelling • Correct choice of frequently confused homonyms • Accurate and creative punctuation • Consistent correct capitalization • Effective paragraphing • Correct grammar and word usage • Creative use of conventions to enhance meaning

  32. Trait 6: CONVENTIONS Paper Title: The Field (Paragraph 3) Grade: 9th Take in a deep breath, my friend. Be welcomed by a smell too magical for words. Close your eyes. Taste the sweetness of this quiet (yet annoyingly loud), dull (yet amazingly vibrant), overlooked (yet so richly enchanting), dead (yet buzzing with life) field. Hold onto it; do not let it go. For all too soon, it will be nothing more than a memory.

  33. Trait 6: CONVENTIONS 5 = STRONG Shows control and skill in this trait . . . Many strengths present . . . Not perfect, but on its way 4 = EFFECTIVE Strengths outweigh weaknesses in this trait . . . Minimal revision needed . . . Solid grade-level performance 3 = DEVELOPING Strengths and weaknesses are about equal for this trait . . . About “half-way home” . . . Minimal grade-level performance 2 = EMERGING Need for revision outweighs strengths for this trait . . . Isolated moments hint at what writer is attempting . . . Below grade-level performance 1 = NOT YET A bare beginning for this trait . . . Writer is not showing any control . . . Far below grade-level performance

  34. +1: PRESENTATION • Handwriting has consistent slant, clearly formed letters, and uniform spacing • Appropriate font and font size if word processed • White space directs reader to text • Proper use of title, side heads, page numbering, and bullets • Effective illustrations, charts, graphs, and tables • Neat and readable

  35. How Do 6+1 Help Us Teach Students to Write Well? #1: We focus on their STRENGTHS so they know what they are doing well and can keepondoingit well! #2: We note their areas needing growth, teach short lessons to help them learnnewskills, and have them practiceon their own writing.

  36. How Do 6+1 Help Us Teach Students to Write Well? #1: We focus on their STRENGTHS so they know what they are doing well and can keepondoingit well! What can we say are some STRENGTHS of this piece of writing?

  37. Focus on Strengths A Christmas tree. It all starts out when a farmer plants the seeds to make some trees. About one year later it comes to that time of year to where it is time to have that special tree in your house. So that tree sees people come and go, taking all the other trees around him being cut down, roped, and taken home. The Christmas tree is really sad, because he is the last one left and nobody wants him, so he doesn’t drink water from his roots for two days.

  38. Focus on Strengths Wait. A little boy comes to the tree and says, “Wow! Mommy! Daddy! I want this one!” So the parents come over to it and ask the boy, “Are you sure you want this one?” And the boys replies, “Yes! Yes! Please!” They find the owner of the farm, ask him how much he wants for the tree. He says, “You can have it for free!” They put it in the back of their truck and take it home.

  39. Focus on Strengths They get home and the boy helps his father take the tree inside and set it up. When the tree is finally in the place they want it in, the boy and his mother start to decorate the tree. The tree is so happy that he sticks his branches out as far as he can and makes them as green as could be. Finally about an hour later the tree is finally finished.

  40. Focus on Strengths The boy tells his mom, “Okay, one more thing.” The boy goes running into the kitchen and comes out with what appears to be a glass of water. The boy walks over to the tree, bends down, and pours it into the vase holding the tree’s trunk. The tree loves it. Then the boy’s father lifts the boy up and the boy puts the star on top of the tree. And that’s how the tree made the best Christmas ever.

  41. Focus on Strengths IDEAS: 1 2 3 4 5 ORGANIZATION: 1 2 3 4 5 VOICE: 1 2 3 4 5 WORD CHOICE: 1 2 3 4 5 SENTENCE FLUENCY: 1 2 3 4 5 CONVENTIONS: 1 2 3 4 5 (Presentation): 1 2 3 4 5

  42. How Do 6+1 Help Us Teach Students to Write Well? #2: We note areas needing growth, teach short lessons to help them learnnewskills, and have them practiceon their own writing. What can we say are some areas needing growth, based on this piece of writing? What skills does this student need to learn and practice?

  43. Areas Needing Improvement A Christmas tree. It all starts out when a farmer plants the seeds to make some trees. About one year later it comes to that time of year to where it is time to have that special tree in your house. So that tree sees people come and go, taking all the other trees around him being cut down, roped, and taken home. The Christmas tree is really sad, because he is the last one left and nobody wants him, so he doesn’t drink water from his roots for two days.

  44. Areas Needing Improvement Wait. A little boy comes to the tree and says, “Wow! Mommy! Daddy! I want this one!” So the parents come over to it and ask the boy, “Are you sure you want this one?” And the boys replies, “Yes! Yes! Please!” They find the owner of the farm, ask him how much he wants for the tree. He says, “You can have it for free!” They put it in the back of their truck and take it home.

  45. Areas Needing Improvement They get home and the boy helps his father take the tree inside and set it up. When the tree is finally in the place they want it in, the boy and his mother start to decorate the tree. The tree is so happy that he sticks his branches out as far as he can and makes them as green as could be. Finally about an hour later the tree is finally finished.

  46. Areas Needing Improvement The boy tells his mom, “Okay, one more thing.” The boy goes running into the kitchen and comes out with what appears to be a glass of water. The boy walks over to the tree, bends down, and pours it into the vase holding the tree’s trunk. The tree loves it. Then the boy’s father lifts the boy up and the boy puts the star on top of the tree. And that’s how the tree made the best Christmas ever.

  47. Areas Needing Improvement IDEAS: 1 2 3 4 5 ORGANIZATION: 1 2 3 4 5 VOICE: 1 2 3 4 5 WORD CHOICE: 1 2 3 4 5 SENTENCE FLUENCY: 1 2 3 4 5 CONVENTIONS: 1 2 3 4 5 (Presentation): 1 2 3 4 5

  48. Skills to Teach/Practice • Organization: Strong openings • Organization: Pacing • Voice: Express “personality” • Word Choice: Avoiding repetition • Word Choice: Specific, vivid words • Sentence Fluency: Varied lengths • Sentence Fluency: Varied styles

  49. Teaching the Traits Set up a filing system • Collect lesson plans for each Trait • Keep samples of writing for each Trait • If one piece of writing demonstrates several Traits, make several copies and file one in each folder • Materials to use when teaching specific aspects of a Trait • Start looking at the world through ”6+1 eyes” • Find/Make bad samples of my own writing

  50. Teaching the Traits Set up Writing Portfolios for each student • After teaching a writing skill lesson, have students select a piece of their own writing with which to practice the new skill • Don’t start a totally new writing project • Draw from pre-written work • Assess informally by walking around and reading • Have students “flag” this revision with a Post-It note with date and assignment name so you can find it easily in their portfolio for formal assessment • Worksheets are not practice; real writing is practice!