This page will contain ideas and comments from Table 6.
Group discussion about “synergies”
Writing is valuable, regardless of what you’re teaching.
Voice is important, regardless of the context, but we might use it different ways, depending on the context.
We should help kids understand the context and deconstruct the context.
The importance of draft writing, and the importance of making mistakes.
Process, and the ability to take risks, is important.
We should avoid the narrow focus created by standardized testing.
We want to teach this way, but we often feel limited or constrained by the Diploma exams.
Content, organization, expression all transfer across domains. Transfer is important.
Group discussion about “gaps”
Sometimes expectations aren’t clearly stated at the outset, and students don’t know what’s expected of them.
It’s easy to forget what we learn at professional development-type conferences like this one. It’s hard to immediately implement what we’ve learned.
Our biases in our own disciplines can create obstacles in our teaching of writing.
We can become too focused on content. The kids matter more.
Group discussion about “implications”
The importance of metacognition.
The value of interdisciplinary discussion, as well as discussion across levels.
The importance of conversation, even within our specific departments.
How do we get our message to people in other departments?
Taking the risk to extend the conversation beyond this conference.
Group discussion about “what’s next?”
Building practical strategies. What can we do in our own classrooms? What can our colleagues do right now, to start?
Building writing into other courses.
Bringing in the other strands of literacy: Alberta Reads, etc.
Our responses to the nursing scholarly paper
He or she has met the criteria of the assessment.
However, the thesis “Nurses must get actively involved…” is too strong. Instead of being observational, the argument becomes didactic.
We weren’t sure that her references were varied enough.
Our contexts for teaching writing, and how it shapes what we value
Beyond grade 9, we don’t give students many times to write expository forms (unless they’re in the “-2″ stream.) Usually, it’s critical examination of a literary text. Perhaps we need to begin teaching this at the higher grades. We think this is because of what is and isn’t on the Diploma exam.
Our choice of texts can be limited by the community in which we teach.
What we value in our own writing and in others’ writing
We discussed online writing, like Twitter, in which we value humour and our ability to express an honest opinion.
In students, we value vulnerability, and their willingness to put themselves “out there.”
First-person commentary is more engaging to read than third-person critical on its own.
We value the power of writing to help us to learn about ourselves.
We value purposeful word choice.
We value being able to hear the voice of the writer, which can be a hard thing for students to accomplish.
We value proof that the student has really thought about the questions at hand.
Some of us value structure in students’ writing. In other words, students need to write with progression, so that there is a beginning, middle, and end.
What we valued (and our general observations) about “Marijuana–The Debate Continues”
Though we didn’t have much time to discuss this piece, we agreed that the argument was somewhat strong.
On the other hand, we wish the student had more carefully edited. There are sentence fragments and spelling mistakes.
There needs to be more of a progression from beginning to end. The argument seems fragmented and randomly structured. The points seem “dropped” in.
What we valued (and our general reactions) about the “Maligne Canyon” writing
It’s obvious that this person feels comfortable with research. Their writing seems informed, and they have cited their sources.
Some of us found the first one a little long and dull, but others thought the language was very descriptive, and that an image was created in their minds.
We found that it was both scientific and eloquent.
It had few grammatical errors. Overall, it was well-written.
One of us deliberately avoided looking at the photograph so that she could appreciate the textual description, others appreciated the role the photo played in helping us envision the canyon.
We thought the transition words were sometimes out-of-place. Perhaps the student could restructure their sentences to vary the location of the transitional words or phrases.
Some of us wished that the creative and scientific elements had been more merged. For instance, the “karst” system could have been defined scientifically in the outset, because we didn’t know what it was.
Why are we here?
Some of us are here for a mental health break, or because colleagues wanted to come.
We would like to get a better handle on assessing writing, because assessment is becoming a focus in our schools.
We’re hoping to get helpful tips on how to improve students’ writing in the specific grades we teach.
We would like to prepare students for real life instead of diploma exam and/or university, because not everyone will go to university.
How many valuable life skills do you actually come out with after English 30-1?
We want to stop teaching to the test.
We’re hoping to discuss writing across the board from K-12.
We’re concerned this will benefit universities, but not students.
We would like to discuss curriculum and the changes that can/should be made.
Why are kids still writing letters and news articles? Do these really matter in today’s day and age? Aren’t there more modern genres we can be teaching?
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