Writing for Grades 4-12 in Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math Writing Across the Curriculum: Dr. Nicholle Schuelke University of Sioux Falls
Topics: • Setting the Stage: Creating a Writing Classroom • Hidden Curriculum: Implied Assumptions • Writing-for-Real Tenets: Assertions for Teachers • Write-to-Learn Practices • Journal/Learning Log/Notebook Uses • Tapping the Power of the Metaphor • The Classroom as Text: Wall Text and Text Tours • Parent Conferences—Student Conducted • Metacognitive Activities: Reflection on Learning
Community of Learners and Writers • Consider your randomly selected Distinction. • Write a paragraph explaining that Distinction and why it is important [meaning and importance]. • Homework Assignment: In today’s class lottery you selected one Distinction at random. For tomorrow, write a paragraph explaining that Distinction and why it is important. Also, select [two] other Distinctions and write separate paragraphs explaining their meaning and importance. These [three] paragraphs are your ticket of admission to tomorrow’s class session. Be prepared to share.
Distinction • Acknowledgment • Appreciation • Commitment • Communication • Compassion • Contribution • Cooperation • Individuality • Respect • Responsibility • Risk • Support • Trust
Distinction Discussion • Sharing: • Let students review their “definitions” and give a time limit to “wander” the classroom to do two things: compare the words selected and isolate what ideas might be present. • Go through the Distinctions and ask who wrote about [acknowledgement, risk…] and have students read their definitions. Keep track so eventually everyone has a turn speaking. • Follow-Up: Compile a class anthology containing student definitions of the terms discussed. Later in the year, conduct activities based on one or more Distinction. Use the Distinctions purposely in your dialogue—written and spoken—throughout the academic year.
Letter of Introduction • Write a letter of introduction telling me about yourself and how you feel about [writing/reading/science/social studies/math]. Please include your view on the following points: • Important information about you. • How you feel about [your discipline]. • Anything that is difficult for you about [your discipline]. • Things about [discipline] you did last year that were successful for you or that you liked. • Things about [discipline] you did last year you didn’t like or that weren’t successful for you. • Goals you have for yourself in [discipline] this year. • What you expect of me as your [discipline] teacher. • Anything else you want to share with me.
Teacher Response Letters to Students • Share what surprises/interests you. • Restate certain student ideas (statements or sentences) back to the students by quoting them and responding or questioning. • State how you can understand or not understand something students address in their letters. • Offer thanks that restates a concept present in the student letter.
Purpose of Writing: Revealing Resistance and Responding • Hidden Curriculum • Writing is something you do to get a grade. • The main purpose of school writing is to tell the teacher what the teacher already knows, not to explore a topic or idea. • A second purpose of school writing is to provide diversionary busy work (“time filled”) so that the class is occupied. • A third purpose of school writing is to serve as a management threat to student or as actual punishment for misbehavior. • Features of writing such as intelligence, quality of development, clarity, and logical support are merely the subjective opinions of the teacher. • Feedback from teacher are really corrections in disguise, and the purpose is solely to justify the grade.
Writing-for-Real Tenets • Every student is a writer and has ideas she or he wants to communicate. • Every student writes at his or her ability level. • Writers are more invested in writing when they select their own topics. • Writers are inspired by models, especially those created by their peers. • Teachers who share their writing with students provide powerful coaching. • Writers discover their voice when they read their writing aloud to peers. • Student writers should publish frequently for audiences beyond the teacher. • Writing is a recursive process: invest, rehearse, draft, revise, edit, publish. • Writers consider audience, purpose, and topic when they compose. • Volume + Variety = Fluency
Write-to-Learn Practices [Write-to-Think] • QuickWrite(2-5 minute write to explore thinking; collect and read aloud; from-the-floor sharing; informal assessment) • TO BEGIN INSTRUCTION • What do you already know about this? • What questions do you have from your reading? • Write one key point from yesterday’s lesson. • What is something important for you to know about this topic? • DURING INSTRUCTION • What do you think about this information? • How is this like ? • What is a significant question you would ask? Why? • What do you think will happen next? • Identify a potential problem or issue. • AFTER INSTRUCTION • What is something important you learned today? • What do you think are the two most important points? • Write three things you would say to explain this to a younger child (or adult). • What did you do to participate today? • What would you like to know more about? • What did you enjoy and/or not enjoy about this discussion? • What is something you are doing to help yourself learn? • What is something you have accomplished since we began this topic? • What might think about this idea/topic? • What do you not understand? • How could you use this to ?
Write-to-Learn Practices [Write-to-Think] • Journal/Learning Log/Notebook Uses • Determine rules. Simple instructions. Clear, direct language. • Labels and titles. Consider potential prompts from the “learner’s notebook.” • Number of questions. Frequency of logs. • “What else do you have to say?” • Reviewing the Journal/Log/Notebook • Title: “What I Know About How I [write, read, calculate, study history, understand science]” • Consider the entries within the log, list titles, and then comment on learning, questions, and concerns. • Peer Models: Share excerpts from logs with classmates to observe how peers responded to a particular topic.
Tapping the Power of the Metaphor • Quick-Write: • “When I write, I…” • Metaphorical Thinking as Image-Making • Select one or two “trigger words.” • List the traits, components, and qualities of your choice word(s). • Brainstorm Free-Writing: “The writing process is like ____ because…” • Create a drawing that depicts the process about writing you began in the free-write.
Tapping the Power of the Metaphor Semantic Charts School is…Game or Contest • Ask students to generate a list of metaphorical words and phrases. • Develop list of random characteristics • METHOD • Competition to get grades • Recognition for winning • Students against teachers • Teachers like coaches • Cheating frowned upon • Self-discipline matters • Teamwork helps
The Classroom as Text: Wall Text &Text Tours Wall Text Text Tours • Purpose: introduce, clarify, review, summarize. • Form: notes, outlines, illustrations, pictures. • Uses: to serve as a reference work and to honor student input. • Seated vs. “print walks” • Preplanned text tour vs. “spur-of-the-moment” text tour
Parent Conferences—Student Conducted • Basic Idea: The student conducts a half-hour learning conference with his/her parent [or other vested adult], without a teacher present, sharing a portfolio of learning (writing, projects, texts, quizzes, other course materials). • Student responsibilities: • Course objective alignment • Explain Parent Conference assignment to parent • Set a conference date and give portfolio to parent prior to the meeting • Conduct a half-hour conference. Read at least two works outloud. • Reflect on the experience in a journal entry (the parent is also invited to offer feedback).
Parent Conferences Student Parent • What did you learn by examining your work with one of your parents? • What questions did your parent have about your [writing]? • How has your [writing] improved since last fall? • What are your current [writing] strengths? • What areas of your [writing] need improvement? • What did you learn about your child’s [writing] through the Parent Conference? • What suggestions do you have regarding your child’s [writing]? • What comments do you have about the Parent Conference?
Metacognitive Activities: Reflection on Learning Lessons Learned Letter to Future Students • “What important lessons have you learned so far this year?” • “Using your original Distinctions definitions, cite specific examples of instances when you or another classmate “practiced” each of the three Distinctions.” • Purpose: inform incoming students (next year) about this class, the instructor, and what to respect. • Reiterate the Distinctions.