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Reading, Writing, & Social Studies. Part I: Reading Part II: Writing. “Good writing”. Minimal writing. Lots of writing. W hat’s happening in YOUR classroom?. “Bad writing”. Problem:

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slide1

Reading, Writing, & Social Studies

Part I: Reading

Part II: Writing

slide4

“Good writing”

Minimal writing

Lots of writing

What’s happening in YOUR classroom?

“Bad writing”

slide5

Problem:

ELA teachers can’t do it all; students need writing practice and instruction, especially for research and critical thinking in all of their content-area classes.

Students can’t be expected to learn how to think and write like historians in their English classes; they need instruction and practice in their Social Studies classes.

slide6

Reality check:

Make a list of the kinds of writing you do outside the classroom.

Items you do well

Share your list with a neighbor…

Items you do poorly

Note to kids

Shopping list

Email message

Message about a phone call

Reminder to self to do something

Discussion on Facebook

Notes for class

Directions (how to get somewhere)

Summary of a faculty committee meeting

Article for an academic journal

DBQ

Artifact to be graded

Proof that I know something

slide7

Text

CONTEXT

Subject

Writer

Reader

slide8

Text

How anxious is the writer?

How skilled is the writer?

How well does the writer understand the assignment?

How well does the writer know the conventions for this kind of writing?

What does the writer know about the subject?

Subject

Writer

Reader

What does the writer think the reader expects him/her to say or do?

What factors (time constraints, distractions, fatigue, health) might affect the writer?

CONTEXT

slide9

What does the writer know about the subject?

Subject

Writing to learn.

Using writing to discover, clarify, or make sense of new information or ideas.

Low stakes or ungraded.

Writer is his or her own audience.

Writing to show learning.

Writer

Using writing to demonstrate what the writer has learned.

Moderate to high stakes.

Teacher is the primary audience.

slide10

Learn

Show Learning

Low Stakes & High Stakes Writing

“The goal of low stakes assignments is not so much to produce excellent pieces of writing as to get students to think, learn, and understand more of the course material.”

Peter Elbow

Exit Slip: Write two or three main points from today’s class, plus any questions you still have.

Exam Question: Write and answer two items for an exam based on information from today’s class.

Micro-essay: On one side of an index card, summarize the key points from today’s class.

Poem: Express key ideas as a poem (haiku, limerick, etc)

slide11

What does the writer know about the subject?

Subject

Writer can focus on the subject…

…without worrying about writing skills

…without worrying about conventions

Writer

…without worrying about grades

slide12

Text

Once the writer knows the subject…

…the focus can shift to the text.

What should the final product look like?

What rules must I follow?

Writer

slide13

Teach the format:

rules, conventions, and anything else that might affect the grade

Provide samples:

Excellent

Adequate

Inadequate

slide15

The anXiety Factor:

GRADES

“But I’m not an English teacher!”

Writer

Reader

History teachers can teach how to write a DBQ, science teachers can teach how to write a lab report, and English teachers can teach how to write literary criticism.

“But you ARE a history teacher, and historians don’t write the way English teachers do!”

slide16

The anXiety Factor:

Make two lists:

More anxiousLess anxious

Items you do poorly

Previous failures

Lack of confidence

Lack of knowledge

Previous successes

Confidence

Knowledge

Items you do well

slide17

The anXiety Factor:

Clear GOALS* so students know what is expected

Clear MODELS of successful work

Lots of PRACTICE with low-stakes/no-stakes writing

Success opportunities to create CONFIDENCE

A “culture of writing” in which writing is the norm, not something extra, unknown, or scary

slide18

The anXiety Factor:

Clear GOALS* so students know what is expected

Clear MODELS of successful work

*GOALS should be clearly explained:

Scoring criteria

Rubric

slide19

Pause to Process

(or Write to Learn)

List 2 or 3 points you find useful or that you want to challenge

Explain your list to a neighbor

slide20

Our Goals:

Help students LEARN the material

Accurately ASSESS what they have learned

Use “write-to-learn” assignments

Use “write-to-show-learning” assignments

Design

Assign

Explain/Model

Practice

Perform

Assess

slide21

Traits of Successful / Unsuccessful Assignments…

Traits of Successful Assignments

Students have a degree of choice

Students are interested in the work

Students have a personal connection

Work is relevant to student goals

Assignment is concrete & specific:

*clear instructions

*clear expectations

Teacher provides tools (scaffolding) and feedback along the way

Models of successful & unsuccessful work are provided

Includes low stakes elements before high stakes performance

Is appropriate for students’ ability level and confidence level

Traits of Unsuccessful Assignments

High stakes without adequate practice

Task is artificial (i.e., meaningless)

Format is unclear

Some terms are undefined

Work has no clear value to students

Work is beyond students’ capabilities

Work is outside students’ comfort zone

Work is outside students’ trust zone

Work is overwhelming

Think of your assignments. Which traits best describe them?

slide22

Heuristicfor Creating Effective Writing Assignments

Task:

What do I want students to do?

What will students learn from completing this task?

If I am trying to assess something, what am I trying to assess?

What will I learn from reading the student work? (What will the work show me?)

Sequencing:

Can the task be broken into sub-tasks, or steps?

Must students complete the steps in a specific order?

Have I taught the skills and content necessary for each step?

Writing Processes:

How do I want students to complete the work – alone/pairs/groups? home/school?

Will they practice any parts of the assignment in class?

Have I provided written instructions, along with grading criteria?

Have I provided information about length, format, use of sources, and other key elements?

(adapted from Edward White, Assigning, Responding, Evaluating, 4th ed.)

slide23

Heuristicfor Creating Effective Writing Assignments

Audience:

Who is the intended audience – me (as teacher) or an imagined audience?

Could I expand the audience beyond only the teacher?

Has the class adequately discussed how to write for this particular audience?

Schedule:

When will students work on the assignment?

How much time will they need inside and outside class?

Do I need to build in deadlines for stages of the project?

How does this assignment fit with what comes before and after it in the course?

Assessment:

How will I evaluate the work?

What constitutes a successful response to the assignment?

Have I discussed the criteria with the students?

Have I completed the assignment myself? If so, what problems did I encounter?

How can the assignment be clarified or otherwise improved?

(adapted from Edward White, Assigning, Responding, Evaluating, 4th ed.)

slide24

Explain key terms, especially VERBS:

List – name one by one, with comments as appropriate

Outline – give a plan for proceeding in a logical order

Summarize – state the main points in a concise way

Review – give a quick survey of several positions

Interpret – Explain in detail what something means

Prove – Provide evidence to show that something is true

Define – Present in detail the essential traits of something, and show how if differs from similar things

Be sure your verbs match the applicable standards.

(adapted from Edward White, Assigning, Responding, Evaluating, 4th ed.)

slide25

Aspects on Which to Comment:

Accuracy of content presented

Appropriateness of the material

Depth/development of ideas

Quality of ideas

Organization of ideas

Likely audience reactions

Stylistic issues

Grammar/mechanics issues

From Straub & Lunsford, 12 Readers Reading

slide26

Ways to Respond:

Make a correction ("there" "their“)

Give a command ("Move this sentence to the opening paragraph")

Make a judgment

*Absolute ("Awkward transition"; “Good point”)

*Subjective ("I like this subject is trivial"; “I like this revision”)

Offer a suggestion ("You might try to soften the tone here")

Request a change ("Can you use a more precise word here?")

Request additional information ("Can you give an example of x?")

Ask a question

*Closed ("Did you really mean to put this in passive voice?")

*Leading ("How can you tie this point to the preceding one?")

*Open ("What are some counter-arguments you might address?")

React subjectively ("I laughed out loud when I read this line!")

Give a related assignment ("Review the punctuation chapter")

Acknowledge effort ("I can tell you're trying to add depth here")

Offer encouragement ("I see improvement since last time")

From Straub & Lunsford, 12 Readers Reading

slide27

Continuum of Responses

Critical response, diagnosis, or advice

Descriptive or observational response

Supportive, noncritical response

Minimal, nonverbal, noncritical response

OR…

No response

slide29

A rubric should…

…list the criteria being evaluated

…describe a performance at each rating level

Ideally, the rubric should use similar language for each level within a category, so raters compare “apples to apples” when making judgments about that particular feature.

Also ideally, students should have models of each performance level for each category.

slide30

Kinds of Rubrics

Analytical

Holistic

Score = sum of scores for individual traits

Score = reader’s impression of overall quality

Usually Formative:

intended to help thewriter identify specificareas to work on

Usually Summative:

intended only tomeasure the qualityof the writing

Quicker & easier

Yields more information

BOTH can be useful

slide33

Be transparent about grades

Save time

Avoid bias

Identify the target

Prepare students for statewide tests

Why USE rubrics?

slide34

Cautions:

A rubric designed for someone else’s assignment might not be useful for measuring student performance on your assignment.

To be of any value to students,

a rubric must be distributed

at the beginning of an assignment,

not at the end.

slide35

Remember:

Not all aspects of an assignment are equal. If something MATTERS more, it should COUNT more (in terms of points on the rubric).

slide36

Using Writing to Learn and to Show Learning

Design

Assign

Explain/Model

Practice

Perform

Assess

Repeat

Repeat

Repeat

slide37

Pause (Again) to Process

List 2 or 3 new strategies you plan to implement (or at least try) in your classes this year

Explain your plans to a neighbor

slide39

Fire

by Judy Brown

When we are able to buildopen spaces in the same waywe have learnedto pile on the logs,then we can come to see howit is fuel, and absence of the fueltogether, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a loglightly from time to time.A fire growssimply because the space is there,with openings in which the flamethat knows just how it wants to burn can find its way.

What makes a fire burnis space between the logs,a breathing space.Too much of a good thing,too many logspacked in too tightcan douse the flamesalmost as surelyas a pail of water would.

So building firesrequires attentionto the spaces in between,as much as to the wood.

(Teaching with Fire, ed. by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner)