Writing Across the Curriculum Ideas for Engaging Students in Writing and Learning
There is unique power to be found in good nonfiction – the power to illuminate facts and make learning about the world delicious. That’s what draws me to it as both a reader and a writer. However, it is a challenge to write a nonfiction account in a manner that truly breathes life into the subject. Michael O. Tunnell
Nonfiction • Nonfiction structures challenge students to connect concepts, to organize, and to discover what they understand about a topic or idea. • Writing nonfiction helps children hone their thinking and cement their understandings in unique ways.
Scavenger Hunt List all the nonfiction structures and features you can find in the texts your group has.
Question/answer Cause/effect Compare/contrast Problem/Solution Lists How-to Directions Chronological order Description Nonfiction Structures
Photographs with captions Sidebars with facts related to the text Headings in different sizes from the text Excerpts Quotes by prominent people in the field Names, dates, facts, figures, statistics, technical terms Table of contents Glossary Index Introduction Graphs Maps Boldface words Diagrams with labels Bubbles with words or thoughts Nonfiction Features
Nonfiction Features • What did you learn from the feature? • How does it help you as a reader? • How does it help you as a learner? • What do you notice about the frequency of the feature? What methods do you use for teaching students to read and write those structures and features in your content area?
Planning for Writing that Relies on the Acquisition of Knowledge • Expect transfer of skills learned in writing workshop • Common language • Expect students to use mentors • Study content writing Qualities of good writing your students acquire through writing curriculum will impact their writing work in all content areas. For this to happen every teacher must see themselves as a teacher of writing.
Reading with Writers’ EyesSearching for Patterns • Classification: The Nervous System • Comparisons: Confucianism/Daoism • Characteristics: Binoculars
Paragraph Patterns for Classification • State the main category in one sentence • Use a colon to present the subcategories as a series. • Subcategory 1 – function and characteristics • Subcategory 2 – function and characteristics • Subcategory 3 – function and characteristics
Paragraph Patterns for Comparisons • Use a semicolon to compare ___; ___. • Use a comma + conjunction to compare ___, but (however, on the other hand) ___. • Use the both/and structure Both ___ and___ (have something, do something, are something) ___.
Paragraph Patterns for Characteristics • A (whole) ___ consists of (a) ___ which serves to ___. • The purpose of the (part) ___ is to ___. • (Part) ___ and (part) ___ work together to ___.
Vocabulary Hats • Students need to be guided through vocabulary that can wear more than one hat – have more than one meaning.
Vocabulary Hats • Some words have a different meaning depending on the subject area.
Making it Successful • Develop a bank of strategies used in all classes. • Develop a common language used in all classes. • Use strategies on a daily basis. • Model for students using teacher and student samples • Bring student samples to the table for discussions
Bibliography • Robb, L. (2004). Nonfiction Writing From the Inside Out. New York: Scholastic. • Benjamin, A. (1999). Writing in the Content Areas. New York: Eye on Education. • Daniels, H. (2004). Subjects Matter: Every Teacher’s Guide to Content-Area Reading. New Hampshire: Heinemann. • Fletcher, R. Portalupi, J. (2001). Nonfiction Craft Lessons. Maine: Stenhouse. • Caulkins, L. (1991). Living Between the Lines. New Hampshire: Heinemann. • Burkhardt, R. (2003). Writing for Real: Strategies for Engaging Adolescent Writers. Maine: Stenhouse. • Davis, J. & Hill, S. (2003). The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing. New Hampshire: Heinemann. • Daniels, H & Semelman, S. ( 1998). A Community of Writers. New Hampshire: Heinemann. • Harvey, S. (1998). Nonfiction Matters: Reading, Writing, and Research in Grades 3-8. Maine: Stenhouse. • Allen, J. (1998). There’s Room for Me Here: Literacy Workshop in the Middle School. Maine: Stenhouse. • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/WAC/ • http://www.sfasu.edu/lalac/bibliog.html • www.ncte.org • Sorenson, S. Encouraging Writing Achievement: Writing across the Curriculum. • ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication Digest #62 • http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/weeklytips.phtml/54