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  1. English SOL Institute • Elementary Writing Strand Sensory-Enabled Writing Strategies for Virginia’s New Standards Liz Phillips Appalachian Writing Project

  2. Elementary Writing Key Points in Writing • Writing to convey a concise message begins in Kindergarten and moves through grade 3 when students will write a short report • Student use of graphic organizers begins at grade 1 • Beginning in grade 4, students write multi-paragraph essays

  3. Elementary Writing Key Points in Writing • Persuasive writing begins in 5th grade • Students in grades 3-5 should have practice writing on demand, for shorter time frames, and over extended periods of time

  4. Why Are We Here Today? • “Roger Ebert, [famous for] writing movie reviews—and he's still writing today—he's never written a review that said, ‘Harry Potter is my favorite movie and in this review I'm going to tell you three reasons why.’” • —Kelly Gallagher • Choice Literacy Podcast, 2011 • (Author of Write Like This)

  5. Oral and Written Languages Need a Bridge for Connection • “Overall, students agreed that they struggle with writing because they do not like being corrected for things a teachers says they “do wrong.” Students don’t understand the teacher’s point of view, and when editing they don’t honestly see the “mistakes” that the teacher later marks in pen. Students claimed they felt defeated before they even started planning a response to a formal prompt.” • Liz Phillips • Code-Switching research paper on Southern Appalachian Dialects (AWP/NWP, 2009)

  6. Objectives • Use a few hands-on techniques to help young writers discover they are purposeful, effective writers. • Recognize the importance of ever-changing online resources that help students become better writers.

  7. Hands-On Methods[to model author’s purpose] • Give Me a Hand Technique • Can Sam and Sue Sense? • Snapshots • Edit Anchors

  8. Importance of Modeling • “I think early elementary teachers get this. They write in front of their kids all the time. But again, I think as kids get older, teachers assume kids know how to write, and I think it's a dangerous assumption. I don't think we ever finish learning how to write. We just learn how to write better.” • —Kelly Gallagher • Choice Literacy Podcast, 2011 • (Author of Write Like This)

  9. Give Me a Hand Technique • There is POWER in using the hand! • Students can— • learn five words quickly • remember five facts longer • use five key concepts • name five things to remember • ask or answer five questions • name five sequential events in a story • tell five steps to make or do something • find five facts from one research source (and collect five hands before writing a light research report) Liz has been using this concept since 1987 with her own daughters, children she tutored before becoming a teacher, and every year she has taught middle school. The technique works for any assignment in any discipline! PK—Post-secondary!

  10. Give Me a Hand Technique • There is POWER in using the hand! • Teachers can use the hand to— • teach five content-area facts • teach five key words • target five elements in a story • target five writing skills • teach five steps • Teachers can use a hand • stamp to remind a class, • a small group, or a single • child to use Give Me a Hand. • Achievement is in the palm • of your hand! The hand on Liz’s classroom wall that shows a writing assignment’s FIVE KEY TARGETS. Another hand targets behaviors.

  11. Writing to Read Research • “Teaching students how to write strengthens their comprehension, fluency, and word reading skills. Increasing how much students write improves how well they read…Note, however, that the effects of these writing practices on reading are likely to be minimal for students who write infrequently or receive little to no explicit instruction in how to write (23).” • In other words, struggling writers, who are likely struggling readers, must have explicit instruction in how to write if we expect them to become better writers and ultimately better readers.

  12. Can Sam and Sue Sense?Graphic Organizer Activity Look at today’s writing prompt: Your dog is lost. Sam wants to help you find your dog, so give a description. Using a sentence strip, tell your dog’s name. Describe your dog. Thread your sentence through Sam’s head. Can his brain see your dog exactly the way you do? (Use hand helper if you want.) Color Size Other distinguishing features Edit/revise your description on the same strip. Adjectives Verbs Show your partner. Can you improve your description some more? Rewrite your sentence on a new strip.

  13. Informing Writing Research • Many teachers, but especially content-area teachers, indicate that their preparation to teach writing is inadequate (e.g., Kiuhara et al., 2009). If such writing assessment practices are to become a positive and routine aspect of classroom life, then the professional development that teachers receive at college, through their schools or school district, and from their profession must provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to implement them effectively (37).” • In other words, the teaching of writing should be modeled by every teacher regardless of content area; this means that teachers who may not recognize the importance of teaching writing in their subject area may need extra training in order to become confident teachers of writing in subjects including science, social studies, and even math.

  14. SnapshotsGraphic Organizer(Landscape) Example of how to use this graphic organizer: Prompt: A spider runs across the kitchen table while you are doing your homework. Without thinking, you smash it. Your cat was chasing the spider and glares at you for spoiling her fun. Write to compare/contrast the points of view of both the spider and the cat. Label the first cell SPIDER. Label the second cell CAT. Explain the events and emotions leading up to the spider’s death. Be sure to choose words to make each creature’s voice be heard by the reader! Another use: Use this form for light research projects, a page per source. The prompt can be the question the research answers or the assignment itself.. • Great for: • compare/contrast word choice to fit audience • compare/contrast tone in point of view • compare/contrast two characters • compare/contrast beginnings (middles or ends) • compare setting to main character’s behaviors • compare climax to character’s reaction • (The helping hand can be used for reminders.)

  15. SnapshotsGraphic Organizer(Portrait) EXAMPLE ONE: Prompt: Explain the water cycle. EXAMPLE TWO: Prompt: Summarize four important events that take place before Percy gets to the farmhouse at Camp Half Blood. EXAMPLE THREE: Prompt: The school board is getting ready to buy a new textbook series. Which would you prefer—traditional books or an electronic textbook you can read on a computer, cell phone, or tablet? Compose a letter to your principal that states your preference and gives solid reasons and examples that support your opinion. You can use the helping hand for reminders or as a mini-rubric. The film cells can be used for marginalia.

  16. Edit Anchors Booklet Students need a checklist to follow as they write. Unfortunately, young writers often rush through a checklist without deeper thinking. There is no need for students to race through the editing process when they use this method. There are very few places to “check” a box. Instead, students have to document the improvements they have made to their writing assignments. The size of the booklet encourages students to actually write more (without realizing it). All student writing, when turned in for a grade, must include the Edit Anchors booklet.

  17. Digital Explorations Guided Learning: Letters Bubble Brainstorm Free Brainstorm Bubble Organizer • ReadWriteThink Letter Generator Interactive Concept Games ABCYA Interactive Games for Basic Concepts Comic Generator Write Comics Site

  18. Guided Learning: Letters

  19. Bubble Brainstorm: Lost Dog

  20. Interactive Concept

  21. Comics Generator

  22. Sources • Crickmer, Janet Justice etal. “Middle School Students Make Their Mark with Marginalia: An Effective Method of Facilitating Reading Comprehension.” Virginia English Bulletin, v 58 n 1, pp. 43-54. • Graham, Steve and Michael Hebert. “Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading.” Carnegie Corporation of New York/Vanderbilt University. (2010): Web 14 June 2012. <>. • Graham, Steve, etal. “Informing Writing: The Benefits of Formative Assessment.” Carnegie Corporation of New York/Vanderbilt University. (2011): Web 14 June 2012. <>. • Phillips, Lizbeth J. “Helping Early Adolescent Students Find Southern Appalachian Dialect Code-Switching Traits in Casual and Formal Writing.” Appalachian Writing Project/University of Virginia’s College at Wise. July 2010. • Sibberson, Franki and Kelly Gallagher. “Writing Models with Kelly Gallagher.” Podcast Transcript. Choice Literacy. (2011): Web 12 Jun 2012. <>.

  23. Contact Information • Email— • • or • Land Mail— • Wallace Middle School • 13077 Wallace Pike • Bristol, VA 24202

  24. Disclaimer Reference within this presentation to any specific commercial or non-commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Virginia Department of Education.