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Writing Across the Curriculum: Exploring the 6 Traits

Writing Across the Curriculum: Exploring the 6 Traits



A workshop designed to look at the basics of the 6 traits and how they can apply to the teaching of writing across the curriculum

A workshop designed to look at the basics of the 6 traits and how they can apply to the teaching of writing across the curriculum



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Writing Across the Curriculum: Exploring the 6 Traits Writing Across the Curriculum: Exploring the 6 Traits Presentation Transcript

  • WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM Exploring the 6 Traits Shanghai American School, Pudong Campus Shanghai, China February 11, 2008 Presenter: Fay Leong
  • Expectations?
    • What do you
    • hope
    • to get out of this
    • workshop?
  • How do you feel about teaching writing? Edvard Munch, The Scream , 1893
  • Why do we write?
    • The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Essential questions
  • What kind of writing do we expect our students to be learning/doing?
  • Once we know the purpose, what characteristics make good writing?
  • Writing Frameworks
  • No framework = a big mess
    • When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.  
    • Enrique Jardiel Poncela
    • (Spanish playwright, 1901 – 1952)
  • Different frameworks
    • 6+1 Traits
    • RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic)
    • To use any framework you must first decide on the form of writing that you want
  • Different Forms
    • One example:
    • Recount - the news, events, timelines ;
    • Procedure - flowcharts, recipes ;
    • Description - events, objects, points of view ;
    • Report - order and manipulate information ;
    • Explanation - cause and effect, how and why ;
    • Argument - generate and evaluate solutions to problems ;
    • Discussion - perspective, evaluation, thinking
    • David Whitehead, Writing Frameworks: Easy-to-Use Structures for Creating Confident, Successful Writers, 2003
  • 6+1 Traits
  • What is the 6+1 Traits format?
    • Ideas
    • Organization
    • Word Choice
    • Voice
    • Sentence Fluency
    • Conventions
    • Presentation
    Traits are simply the building blocks of writing
  • Ideas
    • Required content
    • Key focus should be obvious - supported by relevant details that expand on that focus
    • Message clearly conveyed.
    • Not predictable
    • Presenting insight/depth within the theme
  • Organization
    • A strong framework/structure
    • Central idea maintained throughout
    • Must suit the purpose (report, analysis, expository)
    • Has a clear beginning
    • Direction is obvious and controlled throughout – providing substance
    • Connections between ideas provide the foundation of the piece/structure
    • Has an emphatic ending that brings closure to the central idea/theme
  • Voice
    • The writer behind the words is obvious
    • A clear sense of engagement
    • ‘Jumps’ off the page
    • How do you want to help the student create this?
    • Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto.
    • Ray Bradbury
  • Word Choice
    • The language suits the purpose
    • Precise
    • Rich
    • Engaging
    • Writer has carefully chosen words that gives depth to the ideas
    • Careful use of everyday words as well as subject specific vocabulary
  • Sentence Fluency
    • Is the writing stilted?
    • Is it confusing?
    • Does the writing help the message/story/report, or does it obscure it?
  • Conventions
    • Mechanics – Depends on grade level and standards and benchmarks for that subject
    • Correct usage of grammar
    • Paragraphing
    • Use of capitals
    • Punctuation.
  • Presentation
    • Decide on the visual and verbal elements
    • Subject specific
    • Dependent on the purpose of the piece
  • Writing Assessments
  • Creating Writing Assessments
    • P urpose
    • P rocess
    • P roduct
    • Know what you want from your students
  • Things to think about
    • From K-12, what forms of writing does your subject expect (a writing continuum)?
    • At your grade level, what processes do you want them to have?
    • Continuum + Skills + Content
    • Required Assessments
  • Rubrics: Scoring writing assessments
  • Rubrics: the positives
    • Outlines what’s expected
    • Makes sure teacher and student have worked out the requirements of the assessment
    • Good check-in
    • Grading process is clear
  • Rubrics: the negatives
    • Do students really read them?
    • Time-consuming to make
    • Outcome is sometimes not a good fit to the letter/number grade
  • I need direction!
    • Know the purpose of your assessment
    • Identify your grading criteria
    • Keep it simple
    • Set up your basic rubrics for the criteria
    • Modify 6 Traits examples for specific ideas/content and organization
  • To Re-cap
    • Ask yourself:
    • What is your writing continuum (K-12) within your subject?
    • What do you want to have at your level?
    • Where are the students coming from?
    • Where are they going?
    • Where can we come together across the curriculum to help our students be confident writers no matter what the content or genre?
    • The pen is the tongue of the mind
    • Miguel de Cervantes
  • Acknowledgements
    • Art of Europe, Munch – The Scream , www.artofeurope.com/munch/mun3.htm
    • Camel smile, Aha Jokes, www.ahajokes.com/crt313.html
    • Daredevils: human pyramid, pib.nic.in /.../pg26jan2003/26012003.html
    • Ideas, www.allposters.com/-sp/Ideas-Posters_i838569_.htm
    • Keystone Search, www.keystonesearch.com/contact.php
    • Learning Resources, www.learningresources.com/product/improving+s ...
    • Northwestern Regional Educational Laboratory, 6+1 Trait® Writing, http://www.nwrel.org/assessment/department.php?d=1
    • Pocket compass, The Magnetic Compass: History, www.solarnavigator.net/compass.htm
    • Tom’s cartoons, Mad Faces, protonicus.studentenweb.org /.../? tutnr =2
    • Writing Frameworks, Silver Creek CSD, October 30, 2006, http://www.slideshare.net/TGray/writing-frameworks/