This page will contain ideas and comments from Table 3.
– create practical strategies for the classroom
– broaden the conversation, include new voices from different backgrounds and regions
– create texts, documents
– include more strands of literacy across the curriculum
– Importance of metacognition, and looking at writing within a larger context
-interdisciplinary discussion, as well as across levels
– connection between assessment and how the student perceives themselves. Belief that the assessment reflects who the student is, instead of how they did that particular assignment. This creates an obstacle to learning.
– Importance of conversation between K-12, university people, people that create standardized tests
– Knowledge vs application: need to apply what has been discussed within the classroom context
– share knowledge with colleagues
– continue the conversation beyond today
– how do we make this view of language/literacy sustainable?
– time for teachers to get together and collaborate
– gap between clearly articulated expectations, assessment tools, rubrics, and what is communicated to the student
– often university instructors don’t feel the need to teach writing
– most university instructors are not trained teachers – do not think about instructions, rubrics, assessment tools
– experience is valuable as well as theory
– moving towards how we teach vs what we teach: be more kid focused, instead of content focused
– good writing (in all forms) involves critical thought)
– all disciplines require effective and clear writing with a purpose (thesis) and support (evidence), and a voice…not just english!
– voice, story, study, care, conversations
– Importance of context – writing for self, for others, for the world, for assessment, etc
– personal relationship between student and student writing
– awareness of the relationship between the reader and the writer
– meetings by division/grade – examination ABEd rubrics and creation of our own
-revolutionize education! Less subject specific, more connectedness
– more dialogue between all subject divisions (have the same activity for different majors)
– continual growth for all teachers, it is just as important for us to remember and remind ourselves and each other that we too are still learning like our students. “Teacher as model”
– more dialogue between universities and high schools
– bring in content area teachers (besides ELA) and continue this dialogue
The Medias Depiction of Nursing:
– Every question in the assignment seemed to be answered, except the writer did not explore the reasons behind the stereotypes.
– Whore/madonna style of feminism
– the paper is structured well: address problems and gives possible solutions
– uses topic sentences for organization
– skills: reading for meaning, analyzing, synthesizing
– emphasis on evidence: how do you work citations into a paragraph (nursing is different than english)
– politicization of writing within the school system (no writing in science or math diplomas)
– most university courses have a writing component. All teachers have to do some kind of writing to prepare their students for post secondary.
– writing has to be done in each discipline, even if the assignments are brief.
– International reading association:
– Departments can get together to a central theme that is important to the community, and discuss it within each discipline. E.g. Chicago fire can be discussed from a math perspective, science, english, social.
– Departments can collaborate across grade levels.
– Differentiation, instruction, responsed intervention
– The onus is not just on the LA teacher – every teacher should be teaching writing skills for their own genre.
– some topics should be cross-curricular, in every grade level.
– This can happen despite constraints put in place by provincial exams.
– Can repeatedly practice writing short assignments in the high school context
– Improve student writing in the context in which they are asked to write
– Look at genre. Don’t assume as an instructor that students will understand specific vocabulary.
– Imbed your criteria within the assignment itself. Give the student cues to produce the right thing.
– organizing text appropriately: needs to be taught as a skill
3 Ways to improve the student writing
– get started early
– get feedback
– identify key verbs in an assignment
- In order for students to be able to practice writing across disciplines in school, there needs to be a certain amount of focus in high status tests such as diplomas.
– writing needs to be used for both formative and summative assessments.
– writing allows for student collaboration (peer review, group work).
– Usefulness of writing in other subjects such as science
Context for Teaching and Evaluating Writing
– how do you use sources/ other people’s research to support your own point
– how are other articles useful to your own observation
– can incorporate a variety of formats, including narrative arguments, within a scientific context
– Scientists need to tell the story of their research
– e.g. newsletter as an introduction to writing a scientific argument.
– Can have students respond to each others drafts
– Allow students to revise assignments
What is your context for writing? How does it shape or constrain what you value in writing?
– There is a need to teach different ways of writing depending on the context (e.g. scientific context compared to language arts context)
– High school focuses on essay writing (english and social 30-1, 30-2). There is little emphasis on writing in science or math.
– There is a huge gap between that approach and what is expected in post secondary.
– writing needs to be valued in all subjects.
– It is valuable for students to explain their answers and processes in all subjects. The emphasis should not only be on multiple choice.
– Students should be taught the technical language and vocabulary for that course, and be given an opportunity to apply it.
– being able to APPLY the definition, not just memorize it.
– writing down a definition, or explaining a concept in writing, is a good method of assessing student knowledge in a particular subject.
– Science involves reports, essays, but in a different format than english or social. Student voices need to be evident in every subject.
– Students need to write things down in order to be able to apply them.
– English and science can be integrated: formats for science reports could be taught in an english class, and then reiterated in the science class.
– This will help students who have the potential to go to University
– Being successful in high school will give students motivation to go further
– Different formats such as MLA, APA, should be taught early on, instead of in University where it can be overwhelming.
– consistency is key across subjects
What do you value in your own writing? What do you value in your students’ writing?
– Writing should describe reality in order to be meaningful.
– experiential learning benefits students.
– Students would benefit from being able to describe reality. The outside world should be brought into the classroom, in order for students to make connections.
– There should be different forms of expression (verbal, written, images)
– Students should be able to write feedback to their teachers
– Honesty should be valued and appreciated. Eg. Journal writing
– Writing is a continual process
– Students learn to advocate for themselves through writing. “This is how I learn, this is what helps me, this is what I need to do.”
– when they are done school, they will need to be able to speak for themselves.
– Students need to be able to realize how they learn best.
– Students need to be given confidence in themselves. This can be done by daily journal writing. Students should be given the option of having teachers comment on personal journal entries, or not.
– They are experiential learners: they learn by doing, and reflecting on their experiences.
– Writing might be a tool for students to harness their own strengths and abilities. It can allow them to understand how they learn best, even if that is different from their peers.
– Writing can come from drawing.
– Art and drama is a way of integrating students with different learning needs.
– Sentence starters can be used for journal writing.
– Journals are a safe forum to talk, and express real topics, especially if topics are sensitive.
– It is important to create an environment of acceptance and encouragement, where students can express themselves. Especially for students who are used to grades, not unconditional acceptance.
– Even coming to school can be a battle for many students. Students should be encouraged to write within a safe environment. Safety matters more than writing. Students need to trust the person they are writing for.
– Voice is key, even though the priority is sometimes the program of studies. Voice should come first.
– Do not make corrections in journals. Not necessary for the teacher to read or assess every journal entry.
Leah: Values about Writing
– Is it true? Does it matter? What is the purpose?
– Writing is an act of hope, that works against fear, disconnection.
– Writing is a connection between thought and language.
– writing together creates a bond between people. It lets students know that who they are matters.
– Writing is a way of building community.
– Communicates meaning, sensory information.
– What are you afraid to write? What truths go unspoken?
– writing creates a voice.
– this voice can be a mode of participating in the world, and creating social justice.
– editing should not happen until the voice has come out
– writing requires conditions such as space and time. Students need to be able to experiment and take risks.
Robin Bright: What do we value in our writing, and what do our students value?
– Important to connect the personal with the public (narratives connected with academic research)
– linking higher and lower discourses
– Connect experiences as teachers with teaching writing, with what we know about the experiences of others, or with research.
– the importance of stories.
Where does the ability to write stories come from?
– Elementary and middle school students are encouraged to write stories.
– * Narrative links personal and public writing. This increases strong writing within high school and university.
– This skill can be developed in young children.
– Ask children to summarize, or retell stories in their own words. This skill will remain important all throughout school, and at the university level.
– Narrative can give writing purpose and voice. This makes the writing unique to the author.
– Personal experience or previously existing knowledge should be linked to research/what others say about the topic
-* The writing process must also be apparent.
– *Writing must be practiced, in order to be successful. This must be done on a regular basis, in every class.
– Everything of value to the teacher must be assessed/assigned marks
-It is important to use formats that the students suggest, or are interested in.
– we value voice, syntax, content, and structure.
– It is important to recognize audience
– Importance of clearly stating a purpose
– Reading for content is separate from the editing process
– Should read for content first, but editing is an important step.
– There should be a clear link between content, audience, and form. All aspects of the writing should be mutually supportive.
Marijuana – The Debate Continues
– The writer is passionate, has strong opinions and ideas. Declares a strong, argumentative position.
– Uses a strong persuasive technique
– The paper is structured well
– There is a clear, engaging voice
– Strong use of both negative and positive rhetoric
– Recognizes the range of the audience
– the writer speaks in absolutes, without backing those opinions up with research
– Claims are ungrounded, and seem to lack credibility.
– Would be useful to use anecdotes and real life stories, as opposed to stats
– more embedded definitions, and explanation of key terms would be useful
– The piece needs to be edited and revised for spelling, grammar, and sentence fragments. The message is not displayed clearly.
– This piece is seen as stronger as a blog/journalistic piece, because it is a personal point of view. It is less strong as a research piece. The best thing about it is the strong, expressive voice.
– Needs to spend time selecting, refining, and solidifying key ideas.
- important to know the purpose, audience, and genre of a document. In what context will it be used?
Activity 1: “Maligne Canyon”
Likes and Values
– Learned a lot: clear visual imagery
– Lots of embedded definitions
– Enjoyed mix of creative and scientific writing
– Different aspects of writing are clearly organized by headings
– Good combination of empirical and textual research
– Few errors
– Brief, clear sentences
– Use of a photograph to ad layers to the textual description
– the way the writing is valued might depend on the personality of the teacher
– could use less transition words, and more sentence variety
– Consistency is vital for both the writer and the reader.
– Value of the teacher providing guidance/structured assignments.
- Want to be able to confidently write a grant that represents the reserve
– Writing properly may help schools get more funding
Conversation 1: Writing Beyond Schools, Bob Broad
Why are you here today?
– To gain more knowledge about Alberta Education
– To connect with other educators
– To understand the development of the writing process within the school system
– Want to work on the area of writing personally
– Want to better myself in the area of teaching writing
– Students struggle with writing and comprehension skills – want to gain ideas to improve student writing skills
– Desire to improve basic writing and literacy skills
– Teaching writing to special needs, at the high school level, and across disciplines
– want to be able to advocate for special needs students
– Want to be available across disciplines as a literacy coach
– Want to be able to create developmental assessments
– Use a lot of writing in every area, to improve literacy, writing skills, and give the students a voice
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