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Writing Across the Curriculum. Presenter: Sandra Brewer Language Arts Instructional Coach Muskogee Public Schools. Writing to Learn. “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” Of Studies Francis Bacon O.

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writing across the curriculum

Writing Across the Curriculum

Presenter: Sandra Brewer

Language Arts Instructional Coach

Muskogee Public Schools

OWP-S. Brewer

writing to learn
Writing to Learn

“Reading maketh a full man;

conference a ready man; and

writing an exact man.”

Of Studies

Francis Bacon


OWP-S. Brewer

writing across the curriculum using journals
Writing Across the CurriculumUsing Journals
  • Personal journals
  • Dialogue journals
  • Reading logs
  • Learning logs
  • Double entry logs
  • Simulated journals
  • Language arts notebooks

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

reading logs
Reading Logs
  • Students respond to stories, poems, and informational books they are reading in reading logs.
  • They write and draw entries after reading, record key vocabulary words, make charts and other diagrams, and write memorable quotes.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

learning logs
Learning Logs
  • Students write in learning logs as part of social studies and science theme cycles and math units.
  • They write quickwrites, draw diagrams, take notes, and write vocabulary words.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

uses of learning logs by teachers
Uses of Learning Logs by Teachers

 Assess what students already know about a topic before teaching

 Discover what students are learning

 Check on confusions and misconceptions

  • Monitor students’ attitudes toward subject
  • Assess students’ learning of a concept after teaching (McGonegal, 1987)

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

learning logs in science
Learning Logs in Science

Observation Logs:

 Students make daily entries to track the growth of plants or animals. In the logs students describe the changes they observe using words describing shape, color, size, and other properties.

  • Students make entries during a theme cycle.

 Take notes during teacher presentations

 Take notes after reading or viewing films

  • Take notes at the end of each class period
  • The entries may be in list form, in clusters, in charts, in maps, or in paragraphs.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

learning logs in social studies
Learning Logs in Social Studies

• Students keep learning logs as part of theme cycle in social studies.

 Write in response to stories and informational books

 Note interesting words related to the theme.

 Create timelines

 Draw diagrams, charts, and maps

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

learning logs by eighth graders on a civil war theme
Learning Logs by Eighth Graders on a Civil War theme

 Informal quickwrites about the causes of the war

 A list of words related to the theme

  • A chart of major battles in the war
  • A Venn diagram comparing the Northern and Southern viewpoints
  • A timeline showing events related to the war
  • A map of the United States at the time of the war with battle locations marked
  • Notes after viewing several films about the Civil War era
  • A list of favorite quotes from Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

double entry journals
Double-Entry Journals
  • Students divide each page of their journals into two columns and write different types of information in each column.
  • Sometimes they write quotes from a story in one column and add reactions to the quotes in the other or
  • Write predictions in one column and what actually happened in the story in the other.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

excerpts from a fifth grader s double entry journal about the lion the witch and the wardrobe
Excerpts from a Fifth Grader’s Double-Entry Journal about The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

In the Text

Chapter 1

  • “I tell you this is the sort of house where no one is going to mind what we do.”

Chapter 5

  • “How do you know?” he asked. “that you sister’s story is not true?”

Chapter 15

  • “Still they could see the shape of the great lion lying dead in his bonds. They’re nibbling at the cords.’

My Response

  • I remember the time that I went to Beaumont, Tx to stay with my aunt. My aunt’s house was very large. She had a piano and she let us play it. She told us that we could do whatever we wanted to.
  • It reminds me of when I was little and I had an imaginary place. I would go there in my mind. I made up all kinds of make-believe stories about myself in this imaginary place. One time I told my big brother about my imaginary place. He laughed at me and told me I was silly. But it didn’t bother me because nobody can stop me from thinking what I want.
  • When Asian died I thought about when my Uncle Carl died
  • This reminds me of the story where the lion lets the mouse go and the mouse helps the lion.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

simulated journals
Simulated Journals
  • Students assume the role of a book character or a historical personality and write journal entries from that person’s viewpoint.
  • Students include details from the story or historical period in their entries.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

diary entries from a fifth grader who assumed the role of betsy ross
Diary Entries from A Fifth Grader Who Assumed the role of Betsy Ross

May 15,1773

Dear Diary,

  • This morning at 5:00 I had to wakeup my husband John to get up for work but he wouldn’t wake up. I immediately called the doc. He came over as fast as he could. He asked me to leave the room so I did. An hour later he came out and told me he had passed away. I am so sad. I don’t know what to do.

June 16, 1776

Dear Diary,

  • Today General Washington visited me about making a flag. I was so surprised. Me making a flag! I have made flags for the navy, but this is too much. But I said yes. He showed me a pattern of the flag he wanted. He also wanted six-pointed stars but I talked him into having five-pointed stars.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins


July 8,1776

  • Dear Diary,
  • Today in front of Carpenter Hall the Declaration of Independence was read by Tom Jefferson. Well, I will tell you the whole story. I heard some yelling and shouting about liberty and everyone was gathering around Carpenter Hall. So I went to my next door neighbors to ask what was happening but Mistress Peters didn’t know either so we both went down to Carpenter Hall. We saw firecrackers and heard a bell and the Declaration of Independence was being read aloud. When I heard this I knew a new country was born.
  • June 14, 1777
  • Dear Diary,
  • Today was a happy but scary day. Today the flag I made was adopted by Congress. I thought for sure that if England found out that a new flag was taking the old one’s place something bad would happen. But I’m happy because I am the maker of the first American flag and I’m only 25 years old!

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

language arts notebooks
Language Arts Notebooks
  • Students take notes, write rules and examples, draw diagrams, and write lists of other useful information about language arts in these notebooks.
  • Students use these notebooks during minilessons and refer to the information during literature focus units and reading and writing workshop.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

review on writing across the curriculum
Review on Writing Across the Curriculum
  • Students write in seven kinds of journals: personal journals, dialogue journals, reading logs, double-entry journals, language arts notebooks, learning logs, and simulated journals.
  • Dialogue journals are especially useful for students leaving English as a second language.
  • Reading logs, double-entry journals, and simulated journals are often used during literature focus units.
  • Learning logs and simulated journals are used for across-the-curriculum theme cycles.
  • Even young children can draw and write in personal journals and reading logs

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins

review wac cont
Review WAC cont.
  • Teachers teach minilessons about how to write in journals.
  • Students often share entries with classmates, although personal journal entries are usually private.
  • Four strategies that students use as they write in journals are quickwriting, clustering, sketch-to-stretch, and cubing.
  • Teachers monitor students’ writing in journals by reading selected entries, not by correcting misspelled words and other mechanical errors.
  • The focus in journal writing is on developing writing fluency and using writing as a tool for learning.

OWP-S. Brewer/G. Tompkins