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6 + 1 Traits of Writing. What are the 6+1 Traits?. Ideas Organization Voice Word Choice Sentence Fluency Conventions AND. PRESENTATION. Advantage of adding this puzzle piece is that we have a shared understanding of what is expected!. Ideas – “Digging for Sapphires”.

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what are the 6 1 traits
What are the 6+1 Traits?
  • Ideas
  • Organization
  • Voice
  • Word Choice
  • Sentence Fluency
  • Conventions

AND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Advantage of adding this puzzle piece is that we have a shared understanding of what is expected!

ideas digging for sapphires
Ideas – “Digging for Sapphires”

Why students struggle with ideas:

  • Students think faster than they can write.
  • Students write what they think we want to hear. They do not write for themselves.
IDEAS. . .
  • Ideas make up the content of the piece of writing.
  • Ideas are the “heart of the message.”

Organization is the internal structure of the piece.

Organization is the “thread of meaning or the logical pattern.”


Ideas with focus and details galore…In your head, on paper, on the computer and more.

Time to think about order, how to get it down right, There are so many options, you can get writer’s fright. The ideas need purpose, direction, and shaping, Decisions on how . .will be all to your making.

thoughts continued
Thoughts Continued. . .

Reason and logic, compare and contrast, Detailed analysis, or present to past. Information you’ve given in just the right doses, Events proceed logically –no hocus pocus.

Organization is the name of this trait,

From beginning to end and a middle, top-rate.

Transitions, pacing, sequencing, too; There’s plenty to think out, lots of writing to do.

Five-paragraph themes may seem ever so neat, But as a way to organize, they’re hardly complete.

Formula writing is nothing so hot, Try writing with insight, freshness, and thought.

If you think that it’s easy, we’ll just see about that, Getting it right is like herding cats.

The ideas are out there—now grab them and shake, Good organization takes skill and imagination to make.

--Ruth Culham

the organization trait
The Organization Trait

Organization is the anchor of good writing.

“It assures the reader that all is well at the helm.”

Ruth Culham

VOICE . . . .

Voice is the



word choice
Word Choice
  • Rich, Colorful,


“Moves and

enlightens the


student voices need to be heard
Student Voices Need To Be Heard

“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”

John Jakes

why do writers struggle with voice
Why do Writers Struggle with Voice?
  • Voice is hard to define.
  • “Boring is good???”
  • It’s a Bit Too Personal!
  • Fallacy – Some forms of writing don’t require voice???
sentence fluency

“The way the writing appears to the ear, not just to the eyes”

sentence fluency1
Sentence Fluency

“It’s fine writing that keeps the audience rapt: it’s carefully honed cadences: it’s the marvelous satisfaction of the sensual rhythm of perfect prose.”

Mern Fox

why is sentence fluency a challenge
Why is sentence fluency a challenge?
  • Overemphasis on correctness
  • Writing classrooms are too quiet.
  • It’s harder than it looks!

“Very few sentences come out right the first time.”

  • Level of Correctness
  • Grammar and Mechanics

“There seems to be little value in marking student’s papers with corrections of mechanics apart from actual writing, and even less value in teaching grammar in order to instill these conventions.”

Constance Weaver

why learning conventions is a challenge
Why learning conventions is a challenge?
  • Students don’t see the connection.
  • We’re always searching for the answers ourselves.
  • We don’t encourage risk-taking.
  • We put too much emphasis on programs that teach conventions.
address parental concerns about conventions
Address Parental Concerns about Conventions:
  • It takes several drafts to work to correctness.
  • Be sure that parents see the work while it is in progress, as well as the final product.
  • Be sure that parents know what is being marked on a paper.
  • Parents need to realize that good writing is more than just good use of grammar.

Form and Layout

“Is this piece of writing pleasing to the eyes?”

presentation is everything
Presentation is Everything!
  • Handwriting matters!

“Presentation is like rolling out the welcome mat to invite the reader into your world.”

presentation of the paper
Presentation of the Paper
  • Uniform spacing
  • Legible and consistent writing
  • Appealing use of white space
  • Use necessary bullets, side headings, and other markers
  • Effective integration of text with illustration, charts, graphs, maps, and tables.
when assessing a paper
When Assessing a Paper. .

Neatness Does


consistent and shared ideas of writing help us as teachers to
Consistent and Shared Ideas of Writing help us as teachers to
  • develop a shared understanding of what “good” looks like.
  • use a common vocabulary to describe qualities of writing.
  • practice assessing with consistency and accuracy.
so we can
So we can:
  • Use assessment results to provide meaningful feedback to students.
  • Align assessment with instruction to enhance our teaching of writing.
write write write
Write, Write, Write
  • Writing is maybe the single most important skill that we can teach our students.
  • Writing helps students to grow in other subject areas as well as ELA classes.
  • Writing what is on one’s heart helps a person to grow spiritually and emotionally.
performance tasks
Performance Tasks
  • Provide opportunities for students to express themselves in other ways than the traditional class assignments
  • Provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively and individually
  • Provides varied assessments of learning.