Six Traits of Writing

Workshop Notes
Summer, 1999
Strategies for Teaching

Strategy One:

  1. Posters of traits
  2. Post rubrics in their language
  3. Brainstorm: What does good writing look like? (pre-test)
  4. List favorite books: What is it you like about these stories?
  5. Brainstorm: What does good writing look like? (post-test)
  6. Integrate vocabulary into content areas - point out 6 traits in reading you do.
  7. Words too good to forget - class book and sheet in writing folder
  8. Student Friendly Guide: In writing folder

    • Levels 1 & 2 - Beginning
    • Levels 3 & 4 - Developing
    • Levels 5 & 6 - Strong
    • Self assessing - students may brainstorm what 2, 4, 6 papers look like

  9. What teachers look for in good writing
Strategy Two:

  1. Read, score, and discuss anonymous student papers:
    1. use examples from opposite ends of the continuum;
    2. use student papers from outside your classroom;
    3. use samples from many genres.
    4. Stay away from general terms. Give specific examples from writing - weak and strong.
    5. Map Rubric
    6. Students self-assess
    7. Students share and ask for help (editorís chair)
    Strategy Three:

    Rehearse the Process of Revision

    The writing process is:

    1. not a continuum
    2. showing, not telling
    3. checklist - posters & in writing folder
    4. student revisors sign off
    5. spotlight - 3 colors on a studentís paper:
      1. awesome
      2. okay, could be better
      3. definitely needs change
    6. Authorís circle - 3 people - pass papers - each person reads once and lists three things well done and 3 things to work on. Revise, then go on to next person in triad.
    7. In small groups:
      1. select paper to revise
      2. brainstorm the kinds of things the author could do to strengthen the piece in one or more traits
      3. write new pieces from the original
    8. Use the 5 Ws and How
    Strategy Four:

    Read, read, and then read some more.

    1. Read with students.
    2. Read to students.
    3. Read from as many sources as possible.
    4. Ask the librarian to read books showcasing the trait you are studying.

      10 Reasons to Read Aloud

      Strategy Five: WRITE, right now!

      1. Model writing (think aloud through the process) with students.
      2. Show them things other adults write.
      3. Brainstorm ways they will write throughout their lives.
      4. Bring in a variety of print: persuade, entertain, explain, narrate, poetry, ads, etc.
      5. Tie in literature - journals, novels, non-fiction - that you read aloud.

    Writing prompt: Everything I know I learned in (from)__________________.

    Strategy Six: R.A.F.T.S. Writing assignments:

    • Role of the writer
    • Audience of readers
    • Format of material
    • Topic of piece
    • Strong Verb - writing purpose?
    1. Students figure out writerís role - what voice, point of view?
    2. Reminds writer he is communicating content and style
    3. Format - organize ideas and conventions
    4. Focus on main idea
    5. Persuade, analyze, predict, create, etc.

    You are Rotten Ralph (by Jack Gantos) and youíve just returned from Sarahís school show and tell. Write an apology poem to Sarahís class explaining why you ruined show and tell.

    You are Little Penguin and youíve returned safely from your journey, minus a few tail feathers. Write a summary of your adventures for the other penguins. Persuade them to listen to Grand Nanny Penguin.

    You are the photographer for Armadillo! Write an ad for an assistant on your next assignment - Tarantula!

    Strategy Seven:

    Focus lessons and activities from your curriculum.

    1. Try short "touch-up" lessons to reinforce skills.
    2. Plan longer, more extensive projects centered on the traits.
    3. Connect curriculum areas to traits.
    4. Pause to reflect on what youíve learned.

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