Writing Interventions That Really Work Jim Wrightwww.interventioncentral.org
Workshop Agenda In this section of the workshop, we will: • Analyze the subskills that make up ‘writing ability’ • Identify barriers that can prevent students from being effective writers • Review effective writing interventions
Elbow Group Activity: When was your ‘writing breakthrough’ point? • In your group, discuss when each member felt that they reached the ‘breakthrough’ point when they felt they were competent writers. • Be prepared to share your discussion with the larger group.
The Act of Creating a Piece of Writing Is… • Not a single unitary skill but instead is a… • Spectrum of interrelated skills and… • A process of plan, write, revise
‘Style’ Content Punctuation Spelling Syntax Grammar Written Expression: A Spectrum of Skills
Students must learn that writing is a process not a product. The Horse in Motion Eadweard Muybridge, 1904
Barriers to Writing The physical act of writing…
Middle Bronze Age Alphabets Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Hieratic Script Early & Later Greek Alphabets Proto-Canaanite Alphabet Phoenician Alphabet Origins of the Latin Alphabet Latin (Western) Alphabet
Origins of the Latin Alphabet:Phoenician Alphabet Source:Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenician_alphabet
Origins of the Latin Alphabet:Early Greek Alphabet Boustrophedon: ‘ox trail’: Script alternates between left-to-right and right-to-left Source:http://www.translexis.demon.co.uk/new_page_2.htm
Barriers to Writing Spelling…
GHOTI George Bernard Shaw’s Spelling of ‘FISH’… • ‘F’ as in ‘ENOUGH’ • ‘I’ as in 'WOMEN • ‘SH’ as in ‘NATION’
‘Simplified’ Spelling behaviour behavior defence defense enough enuf receive reseev incandescent inkandesent
Barriers to Writing Grammar…
"If all the grammarians in the world were placed end to end, it would be a good thing." • Oscar Wilde
Grammar: A Definition “Grammar is the study of rules governing the use of language. The set of rules governing a particular language is the grammar of that language; thus, each language can be said to have its own distinct grammar.” Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/
Grammar’s Dueling Perspectives: Who Defines Good and ‘Bad’ Grammatical Usage? • Descriptivists: Collect neutral ‘field study’ information of ‘the patterns through which meanings are typically created in functional speech and writing’ • Prescriptivists: Set grammatical rules for how language ought to be used Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/
The Complexities of English Grammar: A Sampling Tense: Future tenses (from Wikipedia): • Simple future: "I shall/will listen." This is used to express that an event will occur in the future, or that the speaker intends to perform some action. • Future continuous: "I shall/will be listening." This is used to express an ongoing event that has not yet been initiated. • Future perfect: "I shall/will have listened." This indicates an action which will occur before some other action in the future: Normally two actions are expressed, and the future perfect indicates an action which will occur in the future but will, at the time of the main future action expressed, be in the past (e.g. "I will know the tune next week because I will have listened to it"). • Future perfect continuous: "I shall/will have been listening." Expresses an ongoing action that occurs in the future, before some other event expressed in the future. Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/
The Complexities of English Grammar: A Sampling Tense: Verb Moods (from Wikipedia): • Indicative, or declarative, mood:the simplest and most basic mood. (Examples: I am walking home. We are very happy.) • Subjunctive mood: used to express counterfactual (or conditional) statements, and is often found in if-then statements, and certain formulaic expressions NOTE: Casual spoken English rarely uses the subjunctive, and generally restricts the conditional mood to the simple present and simple past. (Example: If I were you, I would bet on the lottery) • Imperative mood: used for commands or instructions. (Examples: Let me do the talking, Put the package down on the table.) Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/
Synergistic Relationship Between Reading & Writing • Spelling • Vocabulary • Grammar • Syntax • Style • Genre Reading Writing
‘Elbow Group’ Activity: What are common student writing concerns in your school? • In your ‘elbow groups’: • Discuss the most common writing problems that you encounter in your school(s). At what grade level do you typically encounter these problems? • Be prepared to share your discussion points with the larger group.
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." • Mark Twain
"Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good." • Samuel Johnson
"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs." • Henry Ford
"When I sit at my table to write, I never know what it’s going to be until I'm under way. I trust in inspiration, which sometimes comes and sometimes doesn't. But I don't sit back waiting for it. I work every day." • Alberto Moravia
Writing Sample Using the ‘Writing Skills Checklist’, determine the 1 or 2 most important features in this writing that should be targeted for intervention. [If lost on an island] I woud drink water from the ocean and I woud eat the fruit off of the trees. Then I woud bilit a house out of trees, and I woud gather firewood to stay warm. I woud try and fix my boat in my spare time.
Using the ‘Writing Skills Checklist’, determine the 1 or 2 most important features in this writing that should be targeted for intervention. Existing is being unique. Existence, reality, essence, cause, or truth is uniqueness. The geometric point in the center of the sphere is nature’s symbol of the immeasurable uniqueness within its measurable effect. A center is always unique; otherwise it would not be a center. Because uniqueness is reality, or that which makes a thing what it is, everything that is real is based on a centralization.
After Reading:Reviews notes, continues to think about material read, reskims text When Reading:Taking notes, ‘interacting’ with author’s ideas, content Before Reading:Previewing text, developing a ‘reading plan’ Reading WRITING Planning:? Writing:? Revision:? Reading & Writing: Performance Time-Line Sources:Pressley, M., & Wharton-McDonald, R. (1997). Skilled comprehension and its development through instruction. School Psychology Review, 26(3), 448-467. Gersten, R., Baker, S., & Edwards, L. (1999). Teaching expressive writing to students with learning disabilities: A meta-analysis. New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities.
Fluency: Have Students Write Every Day Short daily writing assignments can build student writing fluency and make writing a more motivating activity. Poor writers gradually develop into better writers when they are prompted to write daily--and receive rapid feedback and encouragement about that writing. The teacher can encourage daily writing by: • giving short writing assignments • allowing time for students to journal about their learning activities • requiring that they correspond daily with pen pals via email • even posting a question on the board as a bell-ringer activity that students can respond to in writing for extra credit. Source: Graham, S., Harris, K. R., & Larsen, L. (2001). Prevention and intervention of writing difficulties for students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 16, 74-84.
Cover-Copy-Compare (Murphy, Hern, Williams, & McLaughlin, 1990) Students increase their spelling knowledge by copying a spelling word from a correct model and then recopying the same word from memory. Give students a list of 10-20 spelling words, an index card, and a blank sheet of paper. For each word on the spelling list, the student: • copies the spelling list item onto a sheet of paper, • covers the newly copied word with the index card, • writes the spelling word again on the sheet (spelling it from memory), and • uncovers the copied word and checks to ensure that the word copied from memory is spelled correctly. Repeat as necessary.
Monitoring to Increase Writing Fluency(Rathvon, 1999) Students gain motivation to write through daily monitoring and charting of their own and classwide rates of writing fluency. • Assign timed freewriting several times per week. • After each freewriting period, direct each student to count up the number of words he or she has written in their daily journal entry (whether spelled correctly or not). • Have students to record their personal writing-fluency score in their journal and also chart the score on their own time-series graph for visual feedback. • Collect the day’s writing-fluency scores of all students in the class, sum those scores, and chart the results on a large time-series graph posted at the front of the room. • Raise the class goal by five percent per week.
A Memory Device for Proofreading (Bos & Vaughn, 2002) When students regularly use a simple, portable, easily memorized plan for proofreading, the quality of their writing improves significantly. • Create and have students refer to a classroom with the SCOPE proofreading elements: Spelling: Are my words spelled correctly; Capitalization: Have I capitalized all appropriate words, including first words of sentences, proper nouns, and proper names?; Order of words: Is my word order (syntax) correct?; Punctuation: Did I use end punctuation and other punctuation marks appropriately? Expression of complete thoughts: Do all of my sentences contain a noun and verb to convey a complete thought?
Stimulate Writing Interest With an Autobiography Assignment (Bos & Vaughn, 2002) Assigning the class to write their own autobiographies can motivate hard-to-reach students who seem uninterested in most writing assignments. Have students read a series of autobiographies of people who interest them. Discuss these biographies with the class. Then assign students to write their own autobiographies. (With the class, create a short questionnaire that students can use to interview their parents and other family members to collect information about their past.) Allow students to read their autobiographies for the class.
"The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn't write." • Anonymous
Use Selective Proofreading With Highlighting of Errors To prevent struggling writers from becoming overwhelmed by teacher proofreading corrections, select only 1 or 2 proofreading areas when correcting a writing assignment. • Create a student ‘writing skills checklist’ that inventories key writing competencies (e.g., grammar/syntax, spelling, vocabulary, etc.). • For each writing assignment, announce to students that you will grade the assignment for overall content but will make proofreading corrections on only 1-2 areas chosen from the writing skills checklist. (Select different proofreading targets for each assignment matched to common writing weaknesses in your classroom.)
Use Selective Proofreading With Highlighting of Errors: Cont. • To prevent cluttering the student’s paper with potentially discouraging teacher comments and editing marks: • underline problems in the student’ text with a highlighter and • number the highlighted errors sequentially at the left margin of the student paper. • write teacher comments on a separate feedback sheet to explain the writing errors. Identify each comment with the matching error-number from the left margin of the student’s worksheet. TIP: Have students use this method when proofreading their own text.
Spelling; Run-on and incomplete sentences 1 Rewrite this run-on sentence as two separate sentences. 2 Not clear. Rewrite. Consider starting the sentence with ‘The concept of …’ 1 2 Selective Proofreading With Highlighting of Errors Tommy Ridgeway Dec 1, 2006 Mrs. Richman
"A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason." • Margaret Atwood