Supporting Literacy in the Content Areas: Science, Math, & Social Studies
Five Characteristics common to all 90/90/90 Schools • A focus on academic achievement • Clear curriculum choices • Frequent assessment of student progress and multiple opportunities for improvement • An emphasis on non-fiction writing • Collaborative scoring of student work
Writing in the content areas: • Writing focuses on challenging students with the kind of writing they will be required to do in the real world. • Provides a way to assess student understanding and recognize misconceptions. • Allows students to discover or recognize their own thought processes through their writing • Is a way to move toward higher-order thinking in the subject areas
Content area writing • Science: hypotheses, procedures to answer questions, research findings, conclusions, next steps all summarized in lab reports, T-charts (graphic organizers), labeling diagrams • Math: tables, story problems, graphs, descriptions of patterns and problem solving techniques, writing new problems, graphic organizers • Social Studies: descriptions of primary sources (photos, journals, newspapers, maps, documents, photographs, etc), generating first person accounts, research findings, arguments for deliberations
Moving toward cross-curricular “higher-order thinking” with writing tasks • Remembering—Retrieving relevant knowledge from long-term memory • Understanding—Constructing meaning from instructional messages, including oral, written, and graphic communications • Applying—Carrying out or using a procedure in a given situation • Analyzing—Breaking material into its constituent parts and determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose • Evaluating—Making judgments based on criteria and standards • Creating—Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole, reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure (p. 31) • Being metacognitive—Being aware of one's own comprehension and being able and willing to repair comprehension breakdowns when they occur
Model “understanding performances” with writing tasks • 3-week nutrition unit for 4th-graders • Performances ~ students demonstrate: • Understanding of 6 types of food in the food pyramid by classifying food from commercials in pyramid schematic (science/math/writing) • Understanding of food labeling by making tables out of food information (math) • Practical understanding of nutrition by developing nutritious menus (writing) • Journaling food intake (science/writing/math with caloric tabulations) • Writing letters to consumers (writing/social studies) • Dramatizing grocery store experiences (arts/writing) • Writing commercials focusing on nutritional values
Writing in the Middle School • Writing Rubric • Student-Teacher Conference Worksheet • Writing Prompts • The Writing Process
WRITING TO IMPROVE THINKING • Students have to process what they know, in any given subject, on any given topic; no matter what the subject of writing. • Purpose at the High School is to improve thinking in every subject- inevitably yielding better results for all students in all subjects and on written performance assessments. • Writing prompts are developed by content area teachers in collaboration with English teachers. • Writing Day!- One hour writing delay schedule. • Drafts submitted to content area teachers to edit for content, improve thinking and encourage students to expand ideas.
High School continued… • Students develop final copies based on the VC K-12 rubric and comments specific to rubric areas. • Final copies, along with rough drafts, are handed in to English/ Social Studies teachers for evaluation in improvement of ideas and expanded thinking. • Writing counts as 10% of English/ Social Studies grade. • Our goal at the High School is to develop a community of thinkers and writers, as well as to promote conversations about writing among students, faculty and administrators.
Incorporating Writing Into Content Area Instruction • Topic: __________________ • Examples of Writing Assignments:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What Are Rubrics? • According to Heidi Goodrich Andrade: A rubric is a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work. • It determines what counts within a piece of writing. • Furthermore, it conveys the degree of quality for each specified criterion from excellent to poor. • Andrade, H. “Understanding Rubrics.” Educational Leadership (1997): 54(4).
Why Use Rubrics? • Rubrics can be powerful tools for both teaching and assessment. • Rubrics help students become more thoughtful judges of quality writing. • Rubrics reduce the amount of time teachers spend evaluating work. • Rubrics help teachers accommodate different learning abilities. • Rubrics can be easy to use and explain to students if the correct approach and vernacular is used.
How Is The Rubric Incorporated Within Each Grade Level? • Grading – refer to color codes rubrics • Grade Level Tasks – see handout