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A presentation on teaching the writing trait "voice" based on Ruth Culham's book "6 +1 Traits of Writing"

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  1. 1. 6 + 1 Write Traits - Voice “ The important thing about Voice is that it paints a picture of the writer. . . You can't see her, but she knows you're there. You can feel her. You can experience her magic, Such passion, so alive, Heart and soul on paper. But the important thing about Voice is that it paints a picture of the writer.” Culham, Ruth. 6+1 Traits of Writing . p. 31
  2. 2. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>This trait lets the reader know that a real person is speaking through the words on the paper. </li></ul><ul><li>It makes the writing come alive and engages the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the heart and soul of the writing. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the individual stamp of the writer that distinguishes the writing from other works. </li></ul>Voice: The golden thread that runs through a piece of writing.
  3. 3. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Voice is not as concrete as other traits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to define – rather subjective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Safe, “boring” writing is perceived as good. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes voice is seen as the writer's personality instead of the ability of the writer to connect with the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>Some believe that some forms of writing don't require voice. </li></ul>Why is Voice hard to teach?
  4. 4. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Personal narratives – and when we read our benchmarks we see the most voice when the students are telling their own story. </li></ul><ul><li>How do we get our students write powerfully and passionately, even when they are writing an expository essay? </li></ul>What form(s) of writing do you teach that lends itself best to voice?
  5. 5. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Examples to examine: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A Day as a Rain Drop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Once Day I Was Riding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frogs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discussion!!!!! </li></ul>Let's look at the Voice Rubric
  6. 6. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Speaks directly to the reader on an emotional level. </li></ul><ul><li>Experiments with style to match the purpose and audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Takes risks by revealing the person behind the words. </li></ul>Voice emerges when the writer:
  7. 7. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Speaks directly to the reader on an emotional level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use song lyrics: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Find 3 to 5 versions of a popular song recorded by different artists to play for your students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As they listen, get them to write words that describe the feelings, emotions, connections, and images they feel (see list of voice descriptors on page 130). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare the versions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You could also look for voice in art, or have the students draw a visual representation of what voice means to them. </li></ul>Voice emerges when the writer:
  8. 8. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Experiments With Style to match purpose & Audience: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collect short passages that show strong or distinctive voice, put them on overheads, and read them aloud. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever. . .took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” - E.B. White, Charlotte's Web </li></ul></ul>Voice Emerges when the Writer:
  9. 9. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>What kind of voice can be heard? Describe the person behind the voice – get a picture of the writer in your mind. Man or woman? Young or old? Where are they from? What words describe the tone? A starter list of voice descriptors is found on page 130. </li></ul><ul><li>Other Activities: Greeting cards with voice, compare & contrast books on the same topic by different authors with different styles – i.e. Fairy tales; compare samples of writing with no voice (e.g., manuals & textbooks) and rewrite it using voice; new voices, new choices – have students write the first sentence of a letter to five different audiences. </li></ul>
  10. 10. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Takes Risks by Revealing the Person behind the Words: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having students move out of their comfort zone and take chances in their writing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have students write a letter to someone who interests them, or who has accomplished something they admire, or whom they'd like to call upon to answer a question. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Act out the voice descriptors found on page 130 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rewrite a familiar story from another character's point of view – does the voice change? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think back to historical events by people who were bold and willing to stand up for what they believe in – that's what we want students to do in their writing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rewrite a shopping list with voice. </li></ul></ul>Voice Emerges when the Writer:
  11. 11. 6 + 1 Write Traits - Voice “ Encourage students to be individuals, take risks, be bold, and celebrate mistakes as well as moments of success.” Culham, Ruth. 6+1 Traits of Writing . p. 138