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Writing from Sources, Part 2


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This presentation (part 2) describes how teachers can help students to build confidence in writing from sources through low-risk classroom activities.

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Writing from Sources, Part 2

  1. 1. Writing from Sources Emily Kissner June 2014
  2. 2. Agenda 1. Why write from sources? (see Part 1) 2. Steps for synthesis (see Part 1) 3. Unpacking the process 4. Classroom activities
  3. 3. The good news The process of integrating ideas and figuring out how to say them helps students to become stronger readers and writers.
  4. 4. Unpacking the process The task of writing from sources becomes easier if we unpack the process and look at all of the low-stakes, high-impact classroom activities that we can do to promote the process.
  5. 5. Connecting Exploring connections between ideas is important for students who are writing from sources.
  6. 6. Connecting Two ideas can:  Say the Same  Go Against (Contradict)  Explain and Elaborate  Connect
  7. 7. Dive into some books! Look at sets of texts on a similar topic. Can you find examples of the different relationships?
  8. 8. Dive into some books! How might this activity be helpful for students? What discussions might arise?
  9. 9. Moving to writing These different idea relationships can be expressed using different transition words.
  10. 10. Moving to writing Teaching students how to connect transitions to kinds of thinking could help them to make clear connections in their writing.
  11. 11. Organizing Not surprisingly, students in research studies on synthesis writing did not do well with organizing final products.
  12. 12. Organizing “It is significant that students started to write with hardly any planning…Our interpretation is that, faced with the difficulty of constructing their own text, the students borrow the organization and structure of the STs [source texts].” -Sole et al, 2013
  13. 13. Organizing Small classroom tasks that require students to go across genres can force them to create their own organizational patterns.
  14. 14. Organizing
  15. 15. Organizing In this activity, students take information expressed in interview form and transform the details into a new paragraph.
  16. 16. Organizing For younger students, going from narrative to informational can be useful.
  17. 17. Organizing For younger students, going from narrative to informational can be useful. After reading multiple books in a series, students can write a paragraph to describe the main character.
  18. 18. Organizing For younger students, going from narrative to informational can be useful. Students will draw information from multiple sources to support their ideas.
  19. 19. Organizing Teaching students how to categorize information as they go will help them with the organization process later.
  20. 20. Organizing Teaching students how to categorize information as they go will help them with the organization process later. Note-taking pages that encourage students to take notes in categories or sub-topics and synthesize main ideas can be helpful for students of all ages.
  21. 21. Organizing No matter what activities you try, it’s important to model rereading with students. Going back to source material is linked to better synthesis writing.
  22. 22. Selecting Selecting appropriate sources becomes an expectation in grade 3.
  23. 23. Selecting Readers need to use the “text analyst” role to figure out which sources are credible. Digital think-alouds are an important way to help students understand how to do this.
  24. 24. Selecting What classroom activities have you tried to help students select information? For more information on selecting and using information, look at “Building Online Reading Comprehension.”
  25. 25. Classroom Activities Writing a full-scale synthesis is not something that we can have students do in one week. Synthesis—and the skills of selection, connection, and organization--needs to permeate our classroom culture. Here are some activities to try!
  26. 26. Taking Notes from a Video In this activity, students view live web cams to take notes and write observations.
  27. 27. Taking Notes from a Video How can this help students to write from sources? What benefits do you see?
  28. 28. Topic Studies In a topic study, students read many different texts on a given topic.
  29. 29. Topic Studies The teacher guides students into looking for connections between ideas, building awareness of idea relationships.
  30. 30. Topic Studies In fact, resolving ideas that seem contradictory helps students to build strong understandings.
  31. 31. Topic Studies What experiences have you had with topic studies? How have students learned from them?
  32. 32. Weather Explorations “I heard that…” “The news said…” Students are always eager to discuss the weather. Take advantage of this to work together to write a paragraph from sources.
  33. 33. Weather Explorations -What kinds of connections between ideas are used in this task? -How could this lead to a more formal writing prompt?
  34. 34. Reading Firsthand Accounts Highlighting firsthand accounts of information helps students to realize that information can come from various sources.
  35. 35. Reading Firsthand Accounts This can be woven into other lessons, including science and social studies.
  36. 36. Whole-Class Research Projects Instead of diving into individual research projects, try researching a topic as a class. This can weave together online reading comprehension and writing from sources.
  37. 37. Whole-Class Research Projects This can also help you to see which processes are difficult for students, and what kinds of instruction students need.
  38. 38. Small-scale Lessons Which of these ideas have you tried, or would you like to try? How did they build synthesis skills?
  39. 39. Formal Writing from Sources Use RAFTS-style writing prompts Provide some sources, especially sources at students’ reading levels Support students with organization Suggest transitions to show connections Support a recursive process As you plan formal writing projects, keep these best practices in mind:
  40. 40. Time to Work! Create materials that will support writing from sources in your classroom! •Small scale activities •Formal prompts •Lists of links and materials •Connected theme sets
  41. 41. References Gil, Laura, Ivar Braten, Eduardo Vidal-Abarca, and Helge StromsoI. 2010. “Summary versus Argument Tasks when Working with Multiple Documents: Which Is Better for Whom?” Contemporary Educational Psychology, v35 n3 p157-173. Mateos, Mar and Isabel Sole. 2009. “Synthesising Information from Various Texts: A Study of Procedures and Products at Different Educational Levels.” European Journal of Psychology of Education, v24 n4 p435-451. Mateos, Mar, Elena Martin, Ruth Villalon, and Maria Luna. 2008. “Reading and Writing to Learn in Secondary Education: Online Processing Activity and Written Products in Summarizing and Synthesizing Tasks.” Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, v21 n7 p675-697. Sole, Isabel, Mariana Miras, Nuria Castells, Sandra Espino, and Marta Minguela. 2013. “Integrating Information: An Analysis of the Processes Involved and the Products Generated in a Written Synthesis Task.” Written Communication, v30 n1 p63-90. Spivey, N.N. 1997. “Transforming texts: Constructive processes in reading and writing.” Written Communication, 7, 256–287. Zhang, Cui. 2013. “Effect of Instruction on ESL Students' Synthesis Writing.” Journal of Second Language Writing, v22 n1 p51-67.