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Cedartown Middle School : 2014-2015. PLC Presentations. School-wide Writing Initiative. Cedartown Middle School: 2014-2015. Overview of Initiative. Scheduled weekly writing in all classes. Attention to building fluency and set skills according to grade and department specifications.

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school wide writing initiative
School-wide Writing Initiative

Cedartown Middle School: 2014-2015

overview of initiative
Overview of Initiative
  • Scheduled weekly writing in all classes.
  • Attention to building fluency and set skills according to grade and department specifications.
  • Quarterly writing prompts to assess students’ growing fluency and understanding; using this to raise expectation and increase complexity
  • Ultimate focus and goal of text-based evidence, synthesis of information, and complex analysis.
quarterly writing assessments
Quarterly Writing Assessments
  • Based on weekly routine writing coupled with other written assessments, students will respond to quarterly grade-level prompts.
  • Grade levels will create grade-appropriate extended response prompts to distribute on selected writing dates.
  • Teachers will complete a rubric and will provide feedback/evaluation for each response.
quarterly writing assessments1
Quarterly Writing Assessments

These writing assessments will…

  • require students to support with recently-learned content material
  • be open enough to allow students to use a variety of possible content as appropriate evidence
  • provide students choice between approved prompts
  • be rigorous and require depth from students
  • align with the upcoming Georgia Milestones

These writing assessments will not…

  • be easy, brief, or closed response
quarterly writing assessments2
Quarterly Writing Assessments


  • MJ emails department chairs to have them reach out to department members regarding prompts
  • Department members discuss amongst selves and team to create prompt ideas based off recently-covered standards, skills, and topics
  • Ideas are sent to department chairs by an assigned date and time
  • Department chairs forward ideas to MJ
  • MJ selects prompts to distribute to each grade level
  • Students respond to prompts on assigned dates
prompt planning time
Prompt Planning Time
    • These should be standards-driven and should require students to incorporate content understanding in their responses.
    • You need a prompt with student responses along with teacher feedback and grading on our meeting either 9/9 or 9/10.
    • As a team, set specific expectations for writing to communicate to students prior to writing.
    • Consult DOK examples and other Intranet resources.
reminders next steps
Reminders/Next Steps
  • Finalize prompt ideas to begin implementation next week. Have prompts available for admin viewing.
  • Grade one prompt per month for a daily grade to enter into PowerSchool. Quarterly writing will count as test grades.
  • Choose one prompt per month to provide feedback to students for improved written responses in your subject area.
  • We will meet Sept. 9 and Sept. 10 as departments/grade levels to go over prompts, student samples, and your feedback.
reminders next steps1
Reminders/Next Steps
  • In tomorrow’s department meeting, continue discussions about writing prompts that are appropriate to your subject area.
  • Determine as a department your expectations for student writing – mechanics, response length, organization, etc.
    • Minimum: complete sentences, attention to spelling, appropriate punctuation, a specific # of sentences.
    • Set this and distribute to all department members and email to me.
plc lesson plan
PLC Lesson Plan

Cedartown Middle School: 2014-2015

  • Feedback on Writing Initiative
  • “Best Practices” from Weeks 1 and 2
  • Alternative ideas for writing prompts
  • Tomorrow’s Q1 whole-school writing prompt
reminder of goals and purposes
Reminder of Goals and Purposes
  • To have students use evidence to support a writing prompt aligned with your curriculum.
  • To assess students’ depth of understanding by having them explain, support, prove, synthesize, and apply content knowledge.
  • To integrate writing in all disciplines to prepare for Georgia Milestones rigor.
writing initiative
Writing Initiative

Cedartown Middle School


What was your approach during Weeks 1 and 2?

What worked and what didn’t work?

What can you share to help a colleague?

reminders on the basics
Reminders on the Basics…
  • Tie all prompts to the subject matter.
  • Your prompts should be complex in design.
  • Post clear expectations for writing.
  • Modeling writing for students will help them succeed.
  • You are not expected to grade every week, however.... ASSESS! ASSESS! ASSESS!
writing initiative1
Writing Initiative

Cedartown Middle School





best practices example 1
Best Practices: Example 1
  • Use a famous quotation to anchor the purpose for writing and/or the context for writing.


  • Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “We are not makers of history, we are made by history.” Analyze the truth behind King’s quotation by tying his belief to your recent studies. You need at least five sentences of supporting detail. Include a comparison/contrast of King’s ideas to your example.
best practices example 2
Best Practices: Example 2
  • Is the required weekly writing taking up too much of your class time? That’s fine – this is an excellent way to divide your room into groups/stations!
best practices example 3
Best Practices: Example 3
  • Weekly writing does not have to always take the form of structured paragraphs. Get creative!


R: Role

A: Audience

F: Format

T: Topic


TV audience


African safari encounters


“Shark Tank”



best practices example 4
Best Practices: Example 4
  • Create your writing prompt to venture into DOK 3 and 4 territory by creating a scenario to evaluate in addition to having students use evidence from their recent studies.


Sarah had the following problem on a test: -6 + 4 + 2(-10)

Her work is shown below.  Write her a letter explaining where she made a mistake, and explain the correct way to solve the problem.

-6 + 4 + 2(-10)

-6 + 4 + (-20)

-2 + (-20)


other successful approaches to consider
Other Successful Approaches to Consider
  • End your lesson with your writing prompt after you have covered key content as a way of formatively assessing your students as they exit.
  • Tie your writing prompt in as a deeper level extension of the prior night’s homework.
  • Use your weekly writing as a higher-stakes assessment from time to time.
writing initiative2
Writing Initiative

Cedartown Middle School

Q1 Writing Prompt

and Rubric

**Tomorrow in Homeroom!**

q1 writing prompt fyi
Q1 Writing Prompt FYI
  • Either project the prompt or make copies for students.
  • All students 6-8 will write on the same prompt for Q1 as a baseline comparison across all grade levels.
    • If students have trouble responding to the prompt, grade-specific choices have been provided.
  • Use the accompanying rubric to grade and give back during next week’s homeroom.
    • Use this as a teachable moment of grade-level expectations for writing and to discuss the expectations of Georgia Milestones.
    • Exemplars will be provided for each grade levels for comparison.