Sunday, April 21, 2013

Teaching Writing Grades 7-12 in an Era of Assessment: Passion and Practice

Table of Contents

I.   Passion and Practice: Personalizing the Theoretical – Jonathan Lovell
II.  Promoting the Passion: Teachers as Writers, Teachers as 
      Collaborators – Mary Warner
III. Building on the Formulaic: Into, Through, and Beyond
Part I: Moving Students Who Are Reluctant, Formula, or Personal Writers
“Into, Through, and Beyond” – Maria Clinton
Part II: Chunks, Scaffolds, and Names: A Pedagogy of Sentence-level Instruction
  --Martin Brandt
Part III: Using Nonfiction to Empower Students to Move Through and Beyond
                   Formula Writing – Brook Wallace
IV. Creative Reading in Support of Writing: Developing Meaningful 
       Response to Literature
Part I: Want to be a Better Writing Teacher? Then Take a Closer Look at How
                  You Teach Reading – Jay Richards
       Part II. Varying the Literature Circle Roles to Evoke Authentic Response
                   -- Brenna Dimas
       Part III: Independent Reading: To Read or Not to Read–No Longer a Dilemma
                   – Marie Milner
       Part IV: The Actual not the Virtual: the Power of the Book Pass to Engage Teen
                     Readers-- Mary Warner
V. Finding Your Writing Voice
        Part I: Using Readers’ Theatre to Hear the Voices in the Text -- Mary Warner
        Part II: Tapping the Voice of Middle School Students -- Kathleen Cohen
        Part III: “Make Music that Wasn’t There Before”: Modeling Voice with Mentor
                     Texts –- Marie Milner
VI. Bringing Passion to the Research Process: The I-Search Paper
         Part I: The Crittenden Middle School I-Search: Introducing Passion into
                    Research and Long-Term Project Planning -- Brandy Appling-Jenson
                    and Carolyn Anzia
         Part II: Demystifying the Research Process: The I-Search Paper -- Kathleen
VII. Expanding the Boundaries: The Uncharted Territory of Multigenre 
         Part I: Why Multigenre Writing Belongs in Middle School--Suzanne Murphy
         Part II: The Museum Exhibit --Maria Clinton
         Part III: Romeo and Juliet Brought to Life through Multigenre Strategies
                      --Marie Milner
VIII. Empowering English Language Learners: Moving toward 
          Competency as Speakers, Readers and Writers -- Marie Milner
IX. Practical Guidelines for Portfolios: Promoting Qualitative Assessment
       inTest-Prep Climate
          Part I:  The Case for Portfolio Practice with Middle School Students
                      --Suzanne Murphy and Amy Thompson
          Part II: The Portfolio Process in High School: Empowering Student
                        Participation in Learning -- Kathleen González
X.   Keeping Heart: Dealing with the Realities of the Paper Load 
       While Providing Authentic Response
          Part I:  TimeBusters!  Techniques for Saving Time When Grading
                      -- Kathleen Gonzalez
          Part II: Standards Based Grading – Maria Clinton

Intro for our Sept 25th Pearson Webinar on Implementing the ELA Common Core Standards:

What we intend to accomplish with our presentation is to place the middle and high school level Common Core Standards in English Language Arts within the context of “best practices” in the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Each of the presenters you will be hearing from in this webinar will be talking about a specific practice, or a group of related practices, that they have discovered lead to significant growth in the language abilities of their students.  Not too surprisingly, these practices can be correlated quite convincingly with one or another of the “end point” Common Core standards we will using in the spring of 2015 to assess what students throughout the nation know and are able to do in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

It’s important to remember, however, that these standards are still essentially experimental.  They set the bar quite high for all students, but particularly for “high needs” students who do not start with the same advantages as their more affluent peers.  Whether or not it’s a good idea to set the bar at the same height for all students, regardless of their entry level skills and abilities, remains to be seen.  What we can say is that the national conversation we are likely to have quite soon on these issues is one that is long overdue, and the practices you will be introduced to today will be ones that all your students can benefit from, regardless of the eventual outcome of our current national fixation with the possibility of creating a curriculum and assessment system for every student based on the Common Core Standards.

So with that in mind, I'd like to say that on Wed Sept 25 from 3-4 pm Pacific Time, four of the authors of the Teaching Writing in an Era of Assessment:  Passion and Practice will lead a webinar on the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking in relation to the Common Core Standards
( -- the webinar is the fourth item down from the top of the page).

The webinar will address two vital questions faced by all teachers of writing:

1) why might students wish to engage in the performative activity of writing?
2) why might they wish to do so not only with dogged persistence but with genuine passion?

Marty Brandt, high school English teacher in an urban setting, will describe the “chunks, scaffolds and names” that he developed to help his students his see the possibilities of writing rather than its limitations.  Using compelling examples of model sentences from a wide variety of sources, Marty will show how students can be led to understand how these sentences work, as well as how to use them effectively in their own writing.  How better to address Language Standard 3:  “Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening”?

Middle school English and Social Studies teacher Kathleen Danzey Cohen will describe how she capitalizes on her students’ unending propensity to chat, channeling this skill into narratives lush with description, dialogue and reflection. Her writing curriculum encourages students to create organized, detailed narratives filled with their own unique voices.  This curriculum encourages the improvement of student writing while addressing Listening and Speaking Standard 1:  “Prepare for and participate in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners . . . and expressing their own [ideas] clearly and persuasively.”

The specific teaching strategies of Marty and Kathleen will be bracketed by Jonathan Lovell and Mary Warner.  Jonathan will discuss using Peter Elbow’s response groups to move students towards “clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience” (Writing Standard 5) and Ken Macrorie’s I-Search paper as a uniquely effective means for students to “gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate [this] information while avoiding plagiarism” (Writing Standard 8).  Mary will demonstrate the importance of student voice, showing how the techniques of readers’ theatre can be employed with such “voice-filled” texts as Karen Hesse’s Witness to “evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric” (Speaking and Listening Standard 3).  Like so many of the strategies described our book, Mary’s concluding contribution will reiterate how the language arts curriculum is significantly enhanced when each of its component parts—reading, writing, speaking and listening—serve to support one another.

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