Writing in the Content Areas Barb Hansen Educators’ Summer Symposium June 3, 2008
Plan, Goals, Objectives • Practice a variety of writing strategies to offer as models for student writing • Create new ideas for using writing to increase student learning • Gather ideas to share with colleagues who would like to do more writing in their content areas
Reading Writing Listening Speaking Viewing Non-verbal communication Fundamental Purpose: to communicate knowledge and understanding Components of Literacy
Difference between Reading and Writing • READERS form a mental representation of thoughts written by someone else • WRITERS formulate their own thoughts, organize them, and create a written record of them using writing conventions • EACH REQUIRE THEIR OWN DEDICATED INSTRUCTION
Cause for Alarm Writing Next Report (2007)
From Writing Next Report • Strategies for planning, revising and editing writing. • Collaborative writing to plan, draft, revise, and edit. • Prewriting to generate or organize ideas • Inquiry activities to develop ideas and content • Writing as a tool for learning content
21st Century Skills • Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes • Learning and Innovation Skills • Creativity and Innovation Skills • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills • Communication and Collaboration Skills • Information, Media and technology Skills • Life and Career Skills
Levels of Writing • Impromptu (Casual/Just for Me) • Informal/Informational • Enhance understanding of subject matter before, during and after learning • Assess student mastery of content • Effective starting points for more formal writing • Formal/Published • Writing on Demand • Assessments • Prompted writing • Writing for real purposes
And the experts say… • “Writing is a vehicle for communication and a skill mandated in all aspects of life.” (Strategies for Teaching Writing)
Values to Writing… • Writing helps students make personal connections to the information they learn. • No two students will have the same reaction to what they have learned or bring the same experiences and knowledge to the learning process. • Writing helps students make the information their own.
Student Writing Question: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g., abdomen) Answer: The body is consisted into three parts – the branium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The branium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five vowels – A, E, I, O and U.
Modeling If you expect it, they will do it, but you have to show them how. “Modeling isn’t one way of influencing people. It’s the only way.” ~ Albert Einstein
Acrostic Vocabulary • Students spell a major concept down the page • Brainstorm and list facts about the concept that fully describe it Writing to Win
Focused Free Writing • Activate prior knowledge before introducing new content • Commit thinking to writing during instruction to focus discussions • Reflect on what they’ve learned
No-Research Paper • Essays or term papers that demand careful analysis and synthesis of large amounts of information from the textbook • Teacher-assigned topic centered around a main concept • Five themes of geography • Scientific method • Tools for problem solving in algebra
R.A.F.T.S. Prompts Define the following for a student in the form of a writing prompt: • R – role of the writer • A – audience • F – format • T – topic • S – Strong verb
R.A.F.T.S. Examples • You are Romeo (role of the writer), writing a letter (format) to Juliet’s parents (audience), asking for her hand in marriage (topic). • A denominator (audience) wants to know why he always has to be on the bottom half of a fraction (topic). You are the numerator (role of the writer). Write him/her a poem (format) to explain why (strong verb).
More R.A.F.T.S. Examples • Imagine that you are Goldilocks’ mother (role). Explain (strong verb) to Goldilocks (audience) the importance of using good manners (topic). • The leaves from a tree (audience) would like to know why they are changing color (topic). Pretend you are a scientist (role) and write them a letter (format) to explain (strong verb) why.
Purposes of Writing • Compare/Contrast • Describe • Sequence/Order • Persuade • Cause and Effect • Problem and Solution • Reflection
Mental Models and Graphic Organizers • Help students generate ideas for more formal writing • Give structure to random thoughts and ideas • Ultimate goal of a Graphic Organizer – students use them without the teacher providing the structure
Mental Models for Organization • Hand – expository (descriptive or topical) • Car – narrative • Ladder – procedure, sequence • t – two-part writing (compare/contrast, cause/effect) • Hamburger – persuasive
Compare/ContrastOrganize information around likenesses and differences Either…Or Common Ground Quad Clusters
Either … Or • Students answer a question in one of two ways (must make a decision) and explain fully why they answered it that way. Question: Answer: Explanation: Which is harder to forget, an embarrassing moment or the Pledge of Allegiance? Writing to Win
Quad Clusters • Students explain how one word in a cluster of four words is different from the other three and how the three that form a group are distinctive. • Open Quad Cluster – any of the four could be “correct • Target Quad Cluster – one of the responses is “obviously logical” Writing to Win
Quad Cluster Examples • Timpani, bass drum, snare drum, bells • Snickers, Laffy Taffy, licorice, Jelly Bellies • Battery, fuse, muffler, cable • Software, hardware, cd-rom, disk • Palette, brush, canvas, easel • French, Spanish, Greek, German • AYP, AMO, NCLB, AARP
Quad Cluster Practice Softball Golf Football Soccer
Describeorganize information to describe characteristics, persons, places or things Spider Facts Creating a Metaphor
Creating a Metaphor Focus of Metaphor: _____________________________
Sequence/OrderOrganize information in chronological order in the sequence or order in which the information occurred Storyboardin’ Picture Board Go Figure!
Storyboardin’ • Create a title for an event or process • Brainstorm a list of steps or events and organize into the appropriate sequence • Create the visuals to represent the steps • Write captions that summarize the visuals • Use the storyboard as an outline to write an essay or story Using Writing to Learn Across the Content Areas
Picture Board Let’s test our artistic skills…
Go Figure! Share the story problem:
PersuadeOrganize information to argue a point of view or to convince others to think or act differently From Two Perspectives
From Two Perspectives • Students share their point of view about an issue, situation or information with support • Identify an individual or group who might have a quite different point • Persuade someone to accept or reject the topic based on reason. Using Writing to Learn Across the Content Areas
Cause and EffectOrganize information in a causal network. Both Effect and its causes are explained with supporting examples, facts and details What If Planning a Cause and Effect Paper
What If The Way It Happened: What might have happened differently that would have changed the course of events: _____ _____________________________________________ _____ _____________________________________________ _____ _____________________________________________ _____ _____________________________________________ _____ _____________________________________________ How things would be different today without this change:
Planning a Cause and Effect Paper Causes Effect Cause Effects
Problem and SolutionOffer solutions for an identified problem; explore ramifications of each solution and determine the one that is most viable Superheroes, Geniuses and Famous People Writing a Story Problem
Reflectextend, clarify and refine thinking and learning in the content area Say It Again, Sam! Make Connections Give Me 3 – 2 - 1
Say It Again, Sam! • Select quotations from famous people or characters important to the content • Write the quotations including the person to whom it is attributed • Students rewrite the quotation to provide a clear picture of the author’s intent Using Writing to Learn Across the Content Areas