Why do we want content area teachers to teach writing in their classrooms?
Writing Across the Content Areas This involves implementing writing processes within all subject areas including social studies, math, science, and language arts.
Why do we want content area teachers to teach writing? Isn’t this the responsibility of language arts teachers?
Writing across the content areas helps students become active learners and thinkers.
With the implementation of the “NEW” 4 th grade writing test, content area teachers are REQUIRED to teach writing in their classes.
How will this affect your teaching practices??
Here are some “real world” ways that teachers have implemented writing across content areas…
Writing and Digital Learning Environments
Can video games and digital activities make students better writers?
Although we use technology everyday in schools, much of students writing with a computer occurs with a word processor…
How B O R I N G!
How many of you have ever played a video game?
What makes video games fun?
Why do you play them?
Why do kids like video games?
35% of most video game players are under the age of 18 (Entertainment Software Association, 2007).
Digital Learning Games:
Goals of Anytown Multi-User Virtual Environment
Reduce the time that teachers spent answering administrative questions
Increase students voluntary writing
Increase writing achievement as measured by standard assessments.
44 students, 2 classes, 4 th grade
“ Modeling Reality Characteristic: Putting the learner in a space that is not too different from their own experience.
Students used a digital learning environment to help them with their writing.
Students role: Newspaper Reporter
Teachers role: Newspaper Editor
Students used chat, email, and “telegrams” to communicate with one another.
Students received “tips” and additional information by clicking on icons/pictures.
Sometimes, students had to earn their responses.
Four Types of Tasks
Writing Quests: Descriptive/persusive writing
Mystery: Ability to narrate experiences, provide evidence of solution
Creative Writing: Generate poems and short stories in response to writing
Reflection Quests: How well students defended their responses.
Students engaged more in narrative structures and free choice writing.
The class that used technology completed 26 voluntary writing activities, compared to the class who did not use the program that completed 0 voluntary writing activities.
After day 4, teachers spent a significantly less amount of time answering administrative questions, and in turn had more time to spend teaching their students.
What can you do in your classroom?
What if you don’t have access to digital technology?
Think about what makes video games fun?
Teachers: Build in external motivators within your content area writing instruction so that students will develop intrinsic motivation.
Read All About it!
A Classroom Newspaper Integrates the Curriculum
WHO? First grade classroom
WHAT? Teacher implemented the idea of building a class newspaper around the curriculum.
Focus: Science and Social Studies Themes
Children documented their work in small notebooks.
Students rotate jobs every week, so they are exposed to all jobs within a newspaper.
On Friday’s the students completed their articles for the newspaper and prepared for their classroom publication.
PICTURE OF PAPER
Picture of Paper
Benefits of implementing a newspaper in your classroom
Children are highly motivated to use literacy and math skills in content areas, and they are learning to write in all content areas.
Working on communication and literacy in a fun and meaningful way.
Children’s reading and writing improved and they became more aware of their learning.
Notebook Writing in 3 fifth grade science classrooms
Hands-on instruction/learning by doing combined with writing about it.
Two critical factors in student writing/notebook entries included:
1.) Nature of science instruction
2.) Teachers role in facilitating notebook use
-How does the teacher organize writing?
What kinds of opportunities are available for students to write?
Attention/feedback given to students writing
Notebook writing went beyond general descriptions.
Included a statement of purpose
Written record of investigations
Procedures, strategies, explanations of what they did and the results they achieved.
How were the notebooks used during science instruction?
In the beginning of the unit, teachers told students about the purposes of writing in their notebooks and gave them time to write down their ideas.
Students shared what they had written which served two purposes:
1.) Reinforce the purpose of notebook writing.
2.) Teachers could monitor what students wrote .
When students couldn’t find an answer during their experiment, or didn’t know what to do, the teacher would refer them back to their notebooks.
Student: “How do I get this piece to work”?
Teacher: “Why don’t you go back and check in your notebook. I am sure you wrote something down that will help you with your question”.
The notebooks were great tools for recording observations, hypothesis, and processes.
Students were highly influenced by their teachers in terms of what they would write.
Teachers didn’t provide a lot of feedback to students regarding the quality/substance of the students work.
Example: Feedback included checkmarks or questions like “Where are your labels?”
What can you do for optimal learning?
Think about how we can integrate science and writing.
Take an active role in integrating writing and science.
Provide MEANINGFUL feedback….remember why video games are so popular…feedback and incentives!
Connecting Mathematics and Writing Workshop: It’s Kinda Like Ice Skating +
“ There was a lot to think about and I got frustrated and struggled and then I played with my numbers. Then, I got to hang of it. It was kinda like going ice skating. Hard at first but fun at the end”.
Purpose: Build a bridge between writing and mathematics.
Teacher implemented math notebooks to help her students improve in their ability to write about math.
Students were able to write detailed responses during science and social studies. However, during math they were unable to apply literacy skills.
During math, her talented, wonderful third grade writers tended to freeze up or fall apart.
Developed a journal for students to use during math.
Mini-Workshop on illustrations to support understanding.
Writing in math journals extended the students thinking about the strategies they used to problem solve in math.