English sol institute



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English SOL Institute

  • English SOL Institute
  • Elementary Writing Strand
  • Teaching Writers in Grades K-5
  • Susan Swift, M.Ed.
  • Middlesex County Public Schools

Elementary 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
  • Key Points in Writing

Elementary 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
  • Key Points in Writing

“Every study of young writers

  • “Every study of young writers
  • I’ve done for the last twenty
  • years has underestimated
  • what they can do. In fact,
  • we know very little about the
  • human potential for writing.”
  • —Donald Graves, A Fresh Look at Writing (p.99)

What memories do you have about writing during your elementary years?

  • Did you have any positive experiences or memories that gave you confidence?
  • Did you have any negative experiences that may have hindered your motivation/development?
  • Take the next few minutes to reflect on this. Write down what comes to mind.
  • Quickwrite – students are given a specific amount of time to quickly gather their thoughts about something. They record their thoughts and ideas on paper.

NCTE Beliefs about Writing

  • People learn to write by writing.
  • Writing is a process.
  • Writing is a tool for thinking.
  • Writing, reading, and speaking are related.
  • Writing grows out of many different purposes.
  • Conventions of finished and edited texted are important to reader.
  • Composing occurs in modalities and technologies.
  • Assessment of writing involves complex, informed human judgment.

What do writers need?

  • Students need:
  • to learn to write by writing.
  • a consistent approach – the writing process.
  • a direct and explicit instruction in writing.
  • models of good writing, from teachers and literature.
  • daily practice – time and opportunity.
  • formative feedback.
  • the opportunity to share their writing with others.

A Brief History: Writing Instruction during last 5 decades

  • 1960s: Traditional approach
  • 1970s: Shift to process
  • 1980s/1990s: Inclusive of writer’s craft
  • 2000s/2010s: Problem solving approach

Model of Gradual Release (R.Routman)

  • Gradual Release of Responsibility (Pearson and Gallagher, 1993): Graphic

What does this model look like in Writing?

  • The Writing Process
  • Generating Ideas
  • Prewriting
  • Drafting
  • Revising and Editing
  • Sharing
  • “Writers don’t improve their craft unless they have a real purpose, a real audience, and a real investment in their writing.” – Mem Fox

Kindergarten Writing

  • K.12 – Students will write for a variety of purposes, including narrative writing, informational writing, and functional writing
  • Narrative: Write, dictate, and draw to narrate an event
  • Informational: Write, dictate, and draw to state factual information
  • Functional: Write, dictate, and draw to label things, make lists, and respond to literature

Kindergarten, continued

  • Students should have assigned and self-selected topics
  • Students share writing with others
  • 1. Why draw?
  • 2. Interactive Writing
  • 3. Concepts about print
  • 4. Continuum of writing development

What does Kindergarten Writing look like?

1st Grade Writing

  • 1.13 Students will:
  • generate ideas, use prewriting strategies
  • write, revise, and edit written work
  • write using a variety of formats, including narrative, informational, and functional writing
  • The writing process is directly and explicitly taught: Generating ideas, prewriting using graphic organizers, drafting, revising, editing, final copies.
  • Technology is utilized for writing and publishing.

1st Grade Writing, continued

  • Narrative writing includes an introduction, 2 events in sequence, and a conclusion
  • Informational writing includes an introduction, some factual information, and a conclusion
  • Functional writing includes lists, letters, reports, and messages
  • Poetry is included
  • Revision: Adding descriptive words, focusing on one topic, addressing comments of teachers and peers
  • Editing: Complete sentences, begin sentences with a capital letter, capitalize I and proper nouns, spell sight words correctly

What does 1st Grade writing look like?

2nd Grade Writing

  • 2.12 The student will write stories, letters, and simple explanations.
  • a) Generate ideas before writing.
  • b) Organize writing to include a beginning, middle, and end for narrative and expository writing.
  • c) Expand writing to include descriptive detail.
  • d) Revise writing for clarity.
  • Narrative writing includes a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Students write simple and compound sentences.
  • Students write declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences.
  • Revision also includes adding and deleting words.

What does 2nd Grade Writing look like?

Two Domains of Writing

  • Beginning in 3rd grade, students need to be taught the elements of:
  • Composing/Written Expression – how a writer relates a message, using organization, focusing on one topic, and how a writer uses language to reach audience: descriptive words, mood, voice, vocabulary
  • Usage/Mechanics – Grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure

3rd Grade Writing

  • 3.9 The student will generate ideas, use prewriting strategies using graphic organizers, talk to peers about writing, write narrative and informational pieces, revise, and edit writing.
  • Students will identify their audience and purpose
  • Teachers will incorporate mentor texts as a model for writing
  • Organize writing according to form: Narrative, Informational (including reports), Letters, Poetry
  • Students will write a short informational report, using the proper resources, and following the correct steps
  • Students need to write on demand for short periods of time

What does 3rd Grade writing look like?

4th Grade Writing

  • 4.7 The student will write cohesively for a variety of purposes.
  • a) Identify intended audience.
  • b) Focus on one aspect of a topic.
  • c) Use a variety of pre-writing strategies.
  • d) Organize writing to convey a central idea.
  • e) Recognize different modes of writing have different patterns of organization.
  • f) Write a clear topic sentence focusing on the main idea.
  • g) Write two or more related paragraphs on the same topic.
  • h) Use transition words for sentence variety.
  • i) Utilize elements of style, including word choice and sentence variation.
  • j) Revise writing for clarity of content using specific vocabulary and information.
  • k) Include supporting details that elaborate the main idea.
  • Teachers will incorporate mentor texts as a model for writing.
  • Students will write 2 or more paragraphs about one topic.
  • Organize writing according to form: Narrative, Informational (including reports), Letters, Poetry
  • Students will write a short informational report, using the proper resources, and following the correct steps.
  • Students need opportunities to write on demand for short periods of time.
  • Use technology to gather information, write, revise, edit, and publish writing.

What does 4th Grade Writing look like?

5th Grade Writing

  • 5.7 The student will write for a variety of purposes: to describe, to inform, to entertain, to explain, and to persuade.
  • a) Identify intended audience.
  • b) Use a variety of prewriting strategies.
  • c) Organize information to convey a central idea.
  • d) Write a clear topic sentence focusing on the main idea.
  • e) Write multiparagraph compositions.
  • f) Use precise and descriptive vocabulary to create tone and voice.
  • g) Vary sentence structure by using transition words.
  • h) Revise for clarity of content using specific vocabulary and information.
  • i) Include supporting details that elaborate the main idea.

5th Grade Writing

  • Students will write multiple paragraphs about one topic.
  • Organize writing according to form: Narrative, Informational (including reports), Persuasive, Letters, Poetry
  • Students need opportunities to write on demand for short periods of time.
  • Use technology to gather information, write, revise, edit, and publish writing.

What does 5th Grade Writing look like?

Six Word Memoir

  • Said to have originated with Hemingway
  • Book: Not Quite What I Was Planning, Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Larry Smith and Rachel F
  • AARP runs columns on specific topics, such as cheating death, best advice, love
  • Ex: Cheating Death –
  • “House on fire, pool below, jumped.” (Helen G, 80)
  • “Kidney from son. A life returned.” (John G, 64)
  • “Heart hurts! Hunky paramedics help. Hurray!” (Susan A, 61)

Six Word Memoir

  • Not Quite What We Were Planning
  • Six Word Memoirs by Mrs. Nixon’s 3rd
  • Grade Class (S. New Jersey)
  • Two sisters. Two dogs. Life hard!!!
  • Two sisters, one brother, equals fun.
  • Love life most of the time.
  • Nine years stacked within my soul.
  • Eat, sleep, like to play sports.
  • One class. Six words. What’s yours?

Let’s Write!

  • Take a few minutes to think about writing and The Writing Process in grades K-5.
  • How could you “sum it up” in a Six Word Memoir?
  • Write for 3 minutes.

Contact Information

  • Susan Swift, M.Ed.
  • sswift@mcps.k12.va.us

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.


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