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Writing Across the Curriculum. April 2010. Students need to write in every subject. Writing builds knowledge & understanding. Writing can be used to assess student knowledge & understanding . Students need more explicit instruction in informational text. “But this isn’t English class!”.

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but this isn t english class

Students need to write in every subject.

  • Writing builds knowledge & understanding.
  • Writing can be used to assess student knowledge & understanding.
  • Students need more explicit instruction in informational text
“But this isn’t English class!”

In the Language Arts classroom we have started to draw on… writing process theories and…writing workshop methods to help children learn writing. If students are able to use writing to help themselves learn, these theories and methods must find a place in the other disciplines. When content-area teachers know writing from the inside, through reading about how others in their fields have written, observing student writers, and writing themselves, they can begin to tap this most powerful tool for making sense of experience. And they can reject what customarily passes for writing in the content areas: short-answer, fill-in-the-blank, and essay tests, and, still the worst

offender… the written report.

  • Nancie Atwell, Coming to Know: Writing to Learn in the Intermediate Grades
writing should be integrated every day

Writing to Learn (capture thinking)

  • Writing to show understanding (use interests, content knowledge)
  • Writing like an expert in…

--Katie Wood Ray

Writing should be integrated…every day!
writing to learn


  • Notes
  • Lists
  • Reflections
  • Fiction with facts
  • What you think and why
  • Summarizing
Writing to Learn
examples the collins writing program

In eight lines or more, write the things you know or questions you have about…

  • What do you think this…means? Why do you think so?
  • On the topic we discussed yesterday, fill five lines or more about the ideas you understood best. Least.
  • If you were going to solve…what would you do differently?
Examples The Collins Writing Program
demonstrating content knowledge wacky we searches

Wacky fashion show

  • The Evening News
  • Recipe Poems
  • Top Ten Lists
  • Movie Preview
  • A Day in the Life of a Cell
  • Cartooning a Fact
  • The Crazy Advice Column
  • Goofy Greeting Cards
  • Dolls with Accessories
  • The Good News…The Bad News…
Demonstrating Content Knowledge: Wacky We-Searches


  • Audience
  • Form
  • Topic (+strong verb)
video example lewis clark

Observe how the teacher supports the process of writing

  • What do you notice about students?
  • What do you notice about the environment?
  • What ideas do you have integrating writing into content areas? Genres?
Video example: Lewis & Clark