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Ideas and Content The writing is clear, focused and interesting. It holds the reader’s attention. Main ideas stand out and are developed by supporting details suitable to audience and purpose. The writing is characterized by • clarity, focus, and control. • main idea(s) that stand out. • supporting, relevant, carefully selected details; when appropriate, use of resources provides strong, accurate, credible support. • a thorough, balanced explanation/exploration of the topic; the writing makes connections and shares insights. • content and selected details that are well-suited to audience and purpose.
Organization The organization enhances the central idea(s) and its development. The order and structure are strong and move the reader through the text. The writing is characterized by • effective sequencing and paragraph breaks; the organizational structure fits the topic, and the writing is easy to follow. • an inviting beginning that draws the reader in and a satisfying sense of resolution or closure. • smooth, effective transitions among all elements (sentences, paragraphs, ideas). • details that fit where placed.
Voice The writer has chosen a voice appropriate for the topic, purpose, and audience. The writer demonstrates commitment to the topic, and there is a sense of “writing to be read.” The writing is expressive, engaging, or sincere. The writing is characterized by • an appropriate level of closeness to or distance from the audience (e.g., a narrative should have a strong personal voice, while an expository piece may require extensive use of outside resources and a more academic voice; nevertheless, both should be engaging, lively, or interesting. Technical writing may require greater distance.) • a strong sense of audience; the writer seems to be aware of the reader and of how to communicate the message most effectively. The reader may discern the writer behind the words and feel a sense of interaction. • a sense that the topic has come to life; when appropriate, the writing may show originality, liveliness, honesty, conviction, excitement, humor, or suspense.
Word Choice Words convey the intended message in an interesting, precise, and natural way appropriate to audience and purpose. The writer employs a broad range of words which have been carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed for impact. The writing is characterized by • accurate, specific words; word choices energize the writing. • fresh, vivid expression; slang, if used, seems purposeful and is effective. • vocabulary that may be striking and varied, but that is natural and not overdone. • ordinary words used in an unusual way. • words that evoke clear images; figurative language may be used.
Sentence Fluency The writing has an easy flow and rhythm. Sentences are carefully crafted, with strong and varied structure that makes expressive oral reading easy and enjoyable. The writing is characterized by • a natural, fluent sound; it glides along with one sentence flowing into the next. • variation in sentence structure, length, and beginnings that add interest to the text. • sentence structure that enhances meaning. • control over sentence structure; fragments, if used at all, work well. • stylistic control; dialogue, if used, sounds natural.
Conventions The writing demonstrates strong control of standard writing conventions (e.g., punctuation, spelling, capitalization, grammar and usage) and uses them effectively to enhance communication. Errors are few and minor. Conventions support readability. The writing is characterized by • strong control of conventions. • effective use of punctuation that guides the reader through the text. • correct spelling, even of more difficult words. • correct capitalization; errors, if any, are minor. • correct grammar and usage that contribute to clarity and style. • skill in using a wide range of conventions in a sufficiently long and complex piece. • little need for editing.
“We can’t expect students to produce excellent, complicated, effective writing if they’re receiving little instruction in it”. (Jones, 1995, p. 22)
Eleven Elements of Effective Adolescent Writing Instruction: Writing Strategies Summarization Collaborative Writing Specific Product Goals Word Processing Sentence Combining Prewriting Inquiry Activities Writing Process Study of Models Writing for Content Learning Writing Next, 2007
Study of Models – Anchor Papers ODEhttp://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=527 Clackamas ESDhttp://www.clackesd.k12.or.us/cie/writing.html O.P.E.N. Practice Scoringhttp://openc.k12.or.us/scoring/
The Write WayQuestions for Table Discussion What is the degree of emphasis on non-fiction writing is your school/district? What are the roadblocks and/or promising practices in your school/district? Based on this article, what changes in practice do you recommend for your school/district?
[T]he preponderance of writing instruction research shows that systematic practice in combining and expanding sentences may increase students’ repertoire of syntactic structures and may also improve the quality of their sentences, when stylistic effects are discussed as well. Thus, sentence combining and expansion are viewed as a primary (and accepted) writing instructional approach, one that has emerged from research findings holding that a sentence combining approach is far superior to traditional grammar instruction. (Carolyn Carter, The Absolute Minimum Any Educator should Know & Teach Students About the Sentence, iUniverse, 2003)
Explicit Instruction Describe/explain – reason for use Demonstrate or model Use exemplars Guided practice with specific feedback Independent practice with reteaching What similarities do you see between Explicit Instruction and Self-Regulated Strategies?
Word Processing and Writing Instruction http://blogs.scholastic.com/classroom_solutions/2010/11/basic-technology-skills-in-english-class.html http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Improving_Student_Writing_Using_Technology http://www.thewritingteacher.org/writing-blog-home/2008/10/1/research-based-best-practices-for-teaching-writing-a-discuss.html
Sentence Combining Resources Introduction to Sentence Combining, by Richard Nordquist http://grammar.about.com/od/tests/a/introsc.htm Combining Sentences, by Tony Cimaskohttp://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/3/4/
Sentence Combining Resources Sentence Combining: Teaching Rules of Sentence Structure by Doinghttp://www.interventioncentral.org/index.php/writing/122-sentence-combining-teaching-rules-of-sentence-structure-by-doing
Enhance Writing Skill with Sentence Combining: Writing Exercises Don’t Have to Be Boring by Terrie Leigh Reifhttp://www.suite101.com/content/enhance-writing-skill-with-sentence-combining-a211148
Sentence Combining Resources Also check Amazon.com, Heinemann.com, and simply “googling” sentence combining to find other resources.
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