Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms: Why Teachers Engage or do not Engage Students in Writing

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Otago]On: 22 December 2014, At: 01:09Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

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    Writing Instruction in ElementaryClassrooms: Why Teachers Engage or donot Engage Students in WritingStan Harwarda, Nancy Petersona, Byran Korthb, Jennifer Wimmerb,Brad Wilcoxb, Timothy G. Morrisonb, Sharon Blackb, Sue Simmermana

    & Linda Pierceaa Utah Valley University, Orem, Utahb Brigham Young University, Provo, UtahPublished online: 09 May 2014.

    To cite this article: Stan Harward, Nancy Peterson, Byran Korth, Jennifer Wimmer, Brad Wilcox,Timothy G. Morrison, Sharon Black, Sue Simmerman & Linda Pierce (2014) Writing Instruction inElementary Classrooms: Why Teachers Engage or do not Engage Students in Writing, Literacy Researchand Instruction, 53:3, 205-224, DOI: 10.1080/19388071.2014.896959

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19388071.2014.896959

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  • Literacy Research and Instruction, 53: 205224, 2014Copyright Association of Literacy Educators and ResearchersISSN: 1938-8071 print / 1938-8063 onlineDOI: 10.1080/19388071.2014.896959

    Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms:Why Teachers Engage or do not Engage Students

    in Writing

    STAN HARWARDAND NANCY PETERSON

    Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah

    BYRAN KORTH, JENNIFER WIMMER, BRAD WILCOX,TIMOTHY G. MORRISON, AND SHARON BLACK

    Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

    SUE SIMMERMANAND LINDA PIERCE

    Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah

    This qualitative study explored reasons K6 teachers did or did not engage students regularly inwriting. Interviews with 14 teachers, classified as high, transitional, and low implementers of writinginstruction, revealed three themes: hindrances and helps, beliefs concerning practice, and prepa-ration and professional development. Both high and low implementers identified time constraints,varying student needs, and tensions between content and conventions as hindrances, but dealt withthem differently. High implementers reported receiving help from mentors, unlike low implementers.High implementers valued writing as a process and viewed themselves as good writers. They scaf-folded students writing and integrated writing with content. Low implementers valued writing butdid not view themselves as good writers. High and low implementers viewed university courses andprofessional development differently.

    Keywords writing, elementary, qualitative, writing instruction, writing process

    Today writing skills are especially essential. To be successful in school, at work, or in manyleisure activities, people must be able to write. During the 2000s instruction in and opportu-nities for student writing decreased (Applebee & Langer, 2006). The National Commissionon Writing in Americas Schools and Colleges (2003) called writing the neglected R(p. 9). A national survey of first, second, and third grade teachers revealed practices asso-ciated with traditional skill instruction occurred more often than those associated with theprocess writing approach (Cutler & Graham, 2008, p. 916). The median amount of timethese surveyed teachers reported spending on writing was about 20 minutes per day (Cutler& Graham, 2008). In a similar survey, intermediate grade teachers reported spending only15 minutes per day, with little expectation for students to revise or edit their work (Gilbert& Graham, 2010). Another study (Billen et al., 2011), conducted in eight school districts,indicated that teachers spent about 20 minutes per day in process-oriented writing, with the

    Address correspondence to Timothy G. Morrison, Brigham Young University, 205 MCKB, Provo, UT84602. Email: tim_morrison@byu.edu

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  • 206 S. Harward et al.

    majority of that time dominated by explicit teacher instruction. Kara-Soteriou and Kaufman(2002) found that when teachers did engage students in process writing, they implementedit in a rigid formulaic fashion that did not reflect how writing naturally occurs.

    This decline in writing instruction may have been due in part to increased focus onreading instruction in order to improve performance on standardized tests (Brandt, 2001).Writing was not part of the national testing movement. Another possible reason was high-lighted by Applebee and Langer (2006), who reported that teachers were unclear aboutwhat process-oriented writing was and how to implement it in their classrooms.

    Currently school writing instruction is receiving increased attention due to the focusof the Common Core State Standards (2010) on three genres of writing: narrative, informa-tional, and argumentative. Some educators have been experimenting with new approachesto writing instruction to help children succeed with these specific genres (Calkins, 2010;Donovan, Milewicz, & Smolkin, 2003; Harris, Graham, Mason, & Friedlander, 2008).

    Despite these positive trends, a wide discrepancy remains among individual teachersas they implement writing instruction. Cutler and Graham (2008) reported considerablevariability in how often writing is taught. Referring to this discrepancy as troublesome,they wrote, We can only speculate on why some teachers readily apply a practice andothers do not (p. 916). Pressley, Gaskins, Solic, and Collins (2006) studied exceptionalprimary grade literacy teachers and found that among other factors their classrooms wererich with activities and practices designed to foster motivation for writing. Why are thesemissing in other classrooms?

    Purpose of This Study

    The inconsistency of current writing instruction in K6 classrooms warrants more spe-cific focus. Cutler and Graham (2008) wrote that efforts to reform writing instruction arelikely to fall short if more attention is not paid to the discrepancy between teachers who doteach writing and those who do not. The purpose of this study was to explore reasons whyK6 teachers do or do not engage students regularly in writing.

    Methods

    In this qualitative study the researchers observed and interviewed 14 teachers. Theseteachers were purposively selected from among participants in two larger studies (Billenet al., 2011; Simmerman et al., 2012). The small number of participants in this currentstudy allowed us to explore a full array of factors that the distinguished high and lowimplementers identified in previous studies.

    Context

    The studies reported by Billen et al. (2011) and Simmerman et al. (2012) were conducted inelementary schools located in eight suburban and rural school districts in the state of Utah,which had long-established partnerships with two local universities. Each of these districtsexpected teachers to implement process writing within a writing workshop at elementarylevels. Utah is ranked in approximately the lowest 20% to 30% of states in writing achieve-ment (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2002, 2011). At the time of this study,the only statewide elementary writing assessment, which occurred in fifth grade, asked stu-dents to write a persuasive essay in response to a prompt. Results were machine-scored.The eight districts reported achieving average to above-average scores on this test.

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  • Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms 207

    The 14 teachers who participated in this study all taught in separate schools: two taughtkindergarten, two taught 1st grade; three 2nd, three 3rd, one 4th; one 5th, and two 6th.Five of the schools were located in high socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods, fourin medium, and five in lowclassifications based on the number of students receivingfree and reduced-price lunch. A total of 9,940 students were enrolled in these schools.Approximately 51% were male, 49% were female. Ethnicity demographics included 85%White, almost 10% Latino(a), about 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, with the other 2% African-American and Native American.

    Participants

    In previous research (Billen et al., 2011; Simmerman et al., 2012) a sample of177 K6 teachers were surveyed and observed. Each teacher and his or her classroomenvironment were observed once for an entire school day over the course of one week.Data from these studies allowed researchers to identify four high, six transitional, andfour low implementers of process writing. Teachers responses on a survey about the valuethey placed on various aspects of writing instruction, as well as their self-reported imple-mentation of these aspects were part of the selection process. In addition, observations ofteachers writing instructional practices and their classroom writing environments providedinformation used to identify the 14 teachers for this study. This process allowed us to clas-sify all teachers in three categories (high, transitional, and low implementers). Within eachcategory, we made a selection of teachers from high, medium, and low SES levels. Moreteachers in the transitional implementation category were selected because more teacherswere in this category overall.

    The teachers classified as high implementers reported on the teacher survey that theyvalued and used the writing process, writing workshop, and Six Traits writing assessment.They also reported using needs-based writing instruction and integrating writing with con-tent areas. Survey data also showed they used a variety of writing genres and groupingmethods for instruction. They reported modeling writing, collaborating with students, andallowing time for independent writing. Observations of classroom environments showedevidence of process writing instruction, such as posters of the traits of writing and phasesof the writing workshop as well as displays of student writing. Many classrooms had anauthors chair in addition to stacks of journals, and portfolios. Observations of instruc-tion showed that these teachers generally incorporated morning messages, mini-lessons,independent work time, and sharing time.

    Those teachers categorized as transitional implementers reported on the survey thatthey valued process writing, writing workshop, and Six Traits writing assessment, butdid not implement them regularly. They reported using explicit writing instruction dur-ing the language arts block, but not implementing writing across the content areas. Surveydata showed they tended to emphasize the same writing genre for long periods and taughtlessons to the whole class rather than allowing students to work in small groups or inde-pendently. They rarely modeled writing, but they did occasionally collaborate with studentson projects and allowed time for journals and other independent writing. Observations ofclassroom environments showed that these teachers displayed some student writing in theirclassrooms. However, there was little evidence of process writing instruction. Observationsof teaching showed that these teachers spent a majority of time on mini lessons and writingexperiences with little expectation of revision.

    Teachers who were classified as low implementers reported on the survey that theyvalued the writing process, but did not use it in their teaching. They reported very little

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  • 208 S. Harward et al.

    writing instruction during the literacy block and none across the content areas. Survey datashowed they rarely exposed students to genres beyond personal narrative and made no effortto group for instruction. They did not model writing, collaborate with students on writingprojects, or allow time for independent writing. Observations of classroom environmentsshowed few examples of student writing and no evidence of process writing instruction.Observations showed that these teachers never incorporated morning messages, work time,or sharing time. The occasional mini lessons were primarily introductions of skills, with noattempt to connect to authentic writing contexts.

    Of the four high implementers, one taught in a high SES school, two in mediumschools, and one in a low school. Three of six teachers who were classified as transi-tional implementers taught in high SES schools, one in a medium school, and two inlow SES schools. Two of the four low implementers were in low SES schools, one in amedium school, and one in a high SES school. Different SES levels were represented ineach of the implementation groups because we recognize that the constraints on a teacherimplementing writing instruction may vary due to school level directives and populations.

    Of the 14 teachers in this study, 12 were female and 2 were male. All listed theirrace/ethnicity as White. The ranges of their ages and years of experience were fairly evenlydistributed (six were ages 2229, four were ages 4049, and four were ages 5059), withfive having taught for 15 years, three for 610 years, one for 1115 years, and five for1620+ years. All the teachers held a bachelors degree; one teacher also had a mastersdegree.

    Although the number of participants in this study was small, the researchers were inter-ested in whether SES, teacher age, grade taught, level of education, or years of experienceinfluenced their implementation level in writing. Regression analyses showed no signifi-cant statistical prediction for the levels of writing implementation for these teachers. Theseresults suggested that additional factors determined how and at what level these teachersused writing in their classrooms.

    Instrument

    An interview protocol was created with eight open-ended items to allow the researchers toexplore specific themes (see Appendix). The items were grouped into four categories thatemerged in a prior teacher survey (Simmerman et al., 2012): (1) background information,including demographic data about the teacher, as well as an exploration of how well sheor he understood and used the terminology of process writing; (2) teacher preparation,focusing on information about the teachers background and experience in teaching writing;(3) instructional procedures, describing information about the teachers understanding anduse of expected classroom writing practices; and (4) self-perception as a writer, includinginformation about how the teacher viewed his or her own writing abilities.

    Procedures

    Each of the 14 selected teachers was interviewed once face to face in his or her classroomby one of the researchers within a two-week period. These semi-structured interviews werebased on a protocol that these researchers had developed for this purpose (see Appendix).Duration of interviews ranged from 45 minutes to 1 hour, and all interviews were recordedand transcribed.

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  • Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms 209

    Data Analysis

    Transcripts were analyzed using a constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998)following the pattern established by Braun and Clarke (2006). During an initial inspectionof the data, key points were color coded on the transcripts. In the next pass through the data,codes were grouped into similar concepts or categories closely associated with the majorsections of the interview protocol. As the data were reviewed a third time, three salientthemes emerged: (1) hindrances and helps to teaching writing, (2) teacher beliefs as evi-denced in writing instruction practices, and (3) preparation and professional developmentthat influenced commitment to writing instruction.

    As we examined the data and organized the themes, we discovered the need for achange in classification. Although we had initially classified teachers as high, transitional,and low implementers of writing instruction, interview results revealed that commentsby these 14 teachers fell into two categories: high and low. Interview data verified thatthe four teachers who were originally designated as high implementers and those origi-nally designated as low implementers had been accurately classified. However, interviewdata for the six in the transitional category were not consistent. They seemed to minglehigh and low responses. Some interview responses by transitional implementing teach-ers were similar to those made by high implementers, and other responses were almostidentical to those made by low implementers. Although this change in classificationcould be viewed as somewhat problematic, it also can be seen as being sensitive to theadditional information gathered in interviews rather than through surveys and observa-tions. In order to avoid confusion because of the re-classification of teachers, we haveindicated when a comment has been included from teachers whose classifications werealtered.

    The four high and four low implementing teachers remained in their intact groups,while responses of the six transitional teachers were dealt with differently. Instead of ana-lyzing their comments within that original group, we classified their responses as matchingeither the high or the low teachers. Thus comments classified as having been made byhigh implementing teachers include those made by the original four in addition to selectedresponses made by some transitional teachers. The category of low implementing teacherscomments also includes some made by teachers initially classified as transitional.

    Results

    Results presented for high and low implementers are composite descriptions that areorganized into three themes: hindrances and helps, teacher beliefs in practice, and teach-ing preparation and professional development. These themes are reported in order of theirimportance to the teachers as indicated by the frequency with which teachers referred tothem. A summary of results is presented in Table 1.

    Hindrances and Helps

    The hindrances perceived by both high and low implementing teachers seemed to be almostinevitable to the classroom setting. All of the interviewed teachers have had to cope withthem in teaching writing, regardless of their feelings toward either the skill area or instruct-ing it. But striking differences were found in the helps available to these teachers, affectingsome of the hindrances both groups considered.

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  • 210 S. Harward et al.

    Table 1Summary of Results for 14 High and Low Implementers of Writing Instruction

    High implementers Low implementers

    Hindrances Lack of time for writing(n = 10)

    Lack of time for writing(n = 4)

    Children with varyingabilities (n = 8)

    Children with varyingabilities (n = 6)

    Tension between teachingconventions and content(n = 5)

    Tension between teachingconventions and content(n = 7)

    Helps Mentors (n = 4) Conferencing with students(n = 10)

    Recognized few helps(n = 6)

    No mentors (n = 8) Providing publishingopportunities (n = 7)

    Use of assessment toinform instruction (n = 5)

    Teacher beliefs View process writing asessential and recursive(n = 7)

    Perceived themselves asgood writers (n = 7)

    Shared process withstudents and enjoyedteaching writing (n = 4)

    Valued writing (n = 3) Perceived themselves asinadequate writers andteachers of writing (n = 6)

    Lack of confidence anddesire to teach writing(n = 6)

    Teacher practices Scheduled time daily forwriting (n = 7)

    Emphasized conventionsover content (n = 7)

    Allowed students freedomin expressing themselves(n = 7)

    Scaffolded students writingexperiences (n = 5)

    Integrated reading andwriting (n = 5)

    Integrated writing withsubject area study (n = 3)

    No attempts to differentiateinstruction (n = 7)

    Scheduled time for writingsporadically (n = 4)

    Projected their insecurities(n = 7)

    Teacher preparationand professional

    Strong university teacherpreparation (n = 7)

    Weak university teacherpreparation (n = 4)

    development Positive professionaldevelopment opportunities(n = 6)

    Resented mandatedprofessional development(n = 4)

    High Implementers. Those who were determined to implement writing on a high levelfound hindrances, particularly as they wished to focus on process writing. However, manyof the helps offered to them were sufficient to alleviate some of the difficulties theyfaced.

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  • Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms 211

    Hindrances. Because they considered teaching writing to be of high value and usingthe writing process to be of value as well, high implementers needed time for writing,opportunities to individualize for students on a variety of levels, and freedom to concentrateon childrens thinking and expression, not merely on spelling and punctuation to meetoutsiders expectations.

    Time to teach writing in the ways these teachers desired was difficult to find. Allfour high implementers and all six transitional teachers commented on this situation. Oneteacher said, My biggest problem is lack of time. Another specified, We shoot for45 minutes a day, but that doesnt always happen. Lets see, that would be an averageof, about, what is that? About three hours a week? I wish I had more time. These teachersseemed frustrated when other demands encroached on writing time, but they felt pressuredto follow curriculum guides and prepare students for tests. One teacher said, Right now,[the new reading program] the district is implementing is just taking more time to get usedto, and so that keeps cutting into our writing time.

    Compounding the difficulty of finding sufficient time was the need to teach writingon so many levels; elementary children show a wide diversity of proficiency levels and ofstrengths and weaknesses where writing is concerned. But writing is an area where indi-viduality in thought must be honored, and individual needs and developmental trajectorymust be cared for. Eight of the high and transitional implementers commented directly onthis challenge. One teacher mentioned that many children seemed to prefer to tell abouttheir ideas rather than write about them. She had noticed the looks of panic on studentsfaces communicating to her that they could not write. She said, And yet some children,[are ready to write] the minute that paper is in front of them. Thats hard to plan for.

    Another high implementer was more specific: I think [writing] is one of the harderthings to teach . . . because theyre all on different steps. Its hard to manage . . . wheretheyre all at, and getting them all going, because theyre all [writing] these individualstories.

    Handling all these differences can be particularly difficult when those on the lowerlevel can and will do very little without continual attention and support. A high implementerin a lower grade found it difficult to help children who are struggling with their letters andsounds to write something others can read. She indicated that her biggest challenge wasmanaging both the advanced writers who can and the early writers who cant.

    The writing time [for strugglers] becomes very labored. Then they becomea discipline problem. And if youre in a class . . . with 24 and you have nohelp, writing can become the biggest headache in the world. Then for my highstudents writing is their favorite time of the day . . . because they all love to[write] and theyre all very capable.

    An additional frustration expressed by three of the four high implementing teachers andtwo of the six transitional implementing teachers was the constant tension they felt betweencontent and conventions. They all agreed content is most important, but they felt pressuredby upcoming tests to focus more on conventions.

    I think they have a hard time with punctuation and grammar. Thats what wespend a lot of time on. Its actually what weve seen from our core testthelanguage arts and writing sections, where they have to edit. . . . Its hard forthem to know where a sentence ends and what a complete sentence is. I knowthats important, but I dont want to spend all my time on it.

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  • 212 S. Harward et al.

    High implementers of writing instruction recognized that students need to learn conventionsof writing, but they struggled to find a balance that did not detract from fostering a desireto write and helping their students develop their ideas.

    Helps. Other teachers have faced these difficulties and have learned to at least navigatethem. All of the high implementing teachers reported their most important source of helpas positive mentors, after whom they had been able to pattern their work. They had positivecomments about the kindness and generosity of their mentors. In discussing mentoringcontent, they noted specifically learning to motivate students through classroom writingactivities such as conferencing with students as they wrote (mentioned by all of the highand transitional teachers), celebrating student work with publishing opportunities (notedby seven of the teachers), and applying required assessment in positive ways that aidedinstruction (mentioned by five of the teachers).

    Mentors included school literacy specialists, university professors, fellow teachers, andauthors of books teachers had read about teaching writing. Some mentors brought in thework of other teachers.

    Every month we had seminars . . . [with a literacy coach who] put togetherthis big writing book that went through all of the writing process, [including]the set up. My mentor used things from [other] teachers in the district, andlots of lesson plansthings she had gotten from other teachers [and] compiledtogether.

    One high implementer felt that what influenced her the most was that her mentor modeledwriting instruction: She kind of set the expectation for me . . . . She taught my writinglessons every other day at first so I could watch. It got me startedgot me going with thewriting process. I could watch [my mentor] and see how she did it. Then I followed thatexample.

    Effective mentors do not always appear in person. One teacher commented that earlierin her career she had often been frustrated by students who said they did not know what towrite about. That would always stump me, because how do you tell a child what to writeabout? Once she discovered materials by Lucy Calkins, she seemed to have overcome thatfrustration, and she began modeling for students how they could write about small momentsthat had really happened in their lives.

    The high implementing teachers explained specific classroom practices taught by theirmentors. Upon reflection, it is clear that these relate to making aspects of the writing processmore motivating and more meaningful as well as easier for the students.

    How to conference with the students as they write was a particularly helpful teachingof mentors for these high implementers. One teacher acknowledged the following:

    From what Ive seen, the conferencing one on one with the students . . . is thebiggest part where I can help someone actually write instead of just checkingoff an assignment. My students are willing to work harder when they know Imthere and they know I care.

    Teachers who are there and care about their students strengths and frustrations with writingcan tell by glancing around the room which students are stalled and which are excited; bothteacher and students benefit from the kind of sharing/questioning that takes place during anindividual teacherstudent conference. Individualization problems are eased by one-on-one

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  • Writing Instruction in Elementary Classrooms 213

    discussions of each childs work and needs, facilitated by the others working independentlyand eagerly awaiting their own conferences. One of the other teachers mentioned an addi-tional benefit of conferencing: Conferencing is critical to teaching writing, but is also away to motivate writing. The teachers interest in the topic and the childs learning, asexpressed during the conference, can motivate even the most reluctant young writer.

    Publishing is another way mentors taught high implementing teachers to make theprocess of writing more motivating and rewarding. One transitional teacher also mentionedthe importance of publishing: The most important part for the kids is the publishing . . . asfar as the way it makes them feel. When its all done, its complete, and they see it in printand share it with others . . . it was worth the effort.

    That effort varies. Publishing can be as simple as stapling the pages of a childs storytogether or displaying childrens writing in the classroom or the hallway. Or, it can be ascomplex as a book bound with heavy cardboard and bookbinders tape, carefully revised,edited, illustrated, and placed ceremoniously in the classroom library. Variety, of course,can be a benefit, as one teacher expressed: Im trying to have them publish in a differentway every time, just for their sakes, so theyre doing something new. Its more motivatingthat way.

    Mentors additionally taught high implementing teachers how to actually useassessments to inform their teaching. As one of the interviewed teachers remarked,Evaluating writing is so subjective. It is hard to describe what constitutes good writing andwhat does not. When this teacher was introduced to the Six Traits assessment program,which emphasizes traits of writing such as voice, organization, ideas, and word choice, shefound a greater match between what she wanted to teach and what she evaluated. This ledto increased feelings of success for students. This teacher explained how she made the con-nection: I also teach and go over all of the Six Traits in short mini lessons. . . . I model[each] as Im going along. I model the trait for them [to use] in their own stories. So we dokind of like a guided practice thing, and they do it until they can do it independently.

    When the children are accustomed to being instructed and receiving feedback accord-ing to the Six Traits, these desired strengths can be worked into the revision processes alongwith feedback from fellow students: We do an authors circle where they get together anddo hearts (give compliments) and wishes (make suggestions for improvement). And then[students] revise and edit based on all the Six Traits of writing.

    Five of the high and transitional implementers expressed a perspective that has enabledthem to save time and preserve their concern for students thinking by integrating contentwith conventions. One said, Rather than spending so much time on conventions, I believestudents are practicing [the conventions] when they are writing. You know, theyre coveringall different areas . . . grammar, spelling, punctuation. Another taught conventions butrelated them specifically to the students own work: After teaching a specific convention,I notice when we edit, they pick out their own mistakes.

    Low Implementers. Low implementing teachers identified many hindrances, but reportedreceiving little help. All of the low implementing teachers actually identified the sameproblems as the high implementing teachers, but revealed different perspectives anddispositions.

    Hindrances. Like the high implementers, the low implementers found it difficult toschedule time for writing. However, they did not have the drive to find time that motivatedtheir high implementing peers. Also, these teachers felt that writing often took too much oftheir time, both inside and outside of school. They reported the following:

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  • 214 S. Harward et al.

    Were stressed out right now with math, and balanced literacy has been a big thing.Of course that includes writing, but its geared more towards guided reading. So . . .the creative writing has been kind of put on the back burner a little bit. We tend tospend less time on it because there [are] so many other things the state and districtare pushing.

    Ill tell you what prevents me the most, is taking the time to go through and proofreadall the papers. And when you have them write, the parents want them to be corrected.And so . . . if you send something home with a lot of mistakes, theyll say, Well,how come this hasnt been corrected?

    Writing is labor intensive. Writing means that Im going to have to grade every singlepaper and I feel, as a teacher, theres just not time. With worksheets, I can check itoff. Its right or its wrong. Whereas, with a writing assignment, I literally have togo through that word-by-word . . . and with no prep periods in elementary school,I dont have time. And I refuse to take that much [work] home. I had a roommatewho taught junior high English, and all she ever did was grade papers. So thats notexactly what I want to be doing with my life.

    Another similarity between high and low implementers was the concern expressed aboutvarying ability levels among their students, but low implementers made no attempts todifferentiate for instruction. All of the low and two of the transitional teachers put morestress on management problems resulting from the variety.

    The kids are so varied. You know, you could have one kid take five minutes and hesgot the whole thing done and outlined and neat and nice, and then another kid takesthe whole hour and doesnt get past his name.

    On Monday we prewrite, On Tuesday we write. On Wednesday we revise, and onThursday and Friday we edit and publish. If kids arent ready to move on, I dontwait for them. They just have to stay with the rest of us.

    All the kids are at different levels. Thats why I use DOL (Daily Oral Language).Because then I dont have to edit their writing. We do the same sentences together atthe same time and fix the mistakes we see.

    Both groups of teachers expressed concern over how to split attention between content andmechanics. All low implementing teachers and three transitional implementers consistentlyleaned toward emphasizing conventions, expressing little concern for students voicing theirideas or developing their abilities to think and reason:

    [The most important] for me is getting to the editing, and you feel like, at this pointin the year, it should be easier to do than it is. I cant go on to anything else untilstudents get this down.

    Ive never seen [so] many kids [who] use capital letters between all their other ones.So instead of a capital being at the beginning of the sentence, . . . theyre writing theword mother with every other letter capitalized. Just random. . . . I keep remindingthem, No, you dont use capitals in the middle of a sentence or in the middle of aword. How do I teach anything else if they dont have that basic down?

    Helps. This section is much shorter for low implementing teachers than high imple-menting teachers. This may be due to their lack of knowledge and the lack of support theyclaimed to have received. Eight of the teachers explicitly noted that they received no men-toring. Therefore, what was not mentioned in their descriptions of their experiences cannotbe quoted here; what was not learned cannot be described. When interviewers pressed forspecifics on help received (see interview protocol in the Appendix), six of ten low and

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    transitional implementing teachers could recall nothing they cared to mention. One lowimplementer expressed openly that she did not feel supported by her district as a teacher ofwriting: We dont have a writing specialist. We have a reading specialist. . . . I dont feellike theres tons of support for writing.

    Teacher Beliefs in Practice

    Teachers practices as well as dispositions involved with writing instruction were strik-ingly different between high and low implementers. Some can be perceived as resulting tosome extent from the differences in help and support that high and low implementers hadreceived.

    High Implementers. All high implementing teachers considered the writing processessential and perceived themselves as good writers. These dispositions affected theways they approached writing in their classroom and scaffolded their students writingexperiences.

    Attitudes. All high and three transitional implementing teachers accepted the writingprocess as a recursive and intricate enterprise that is not the same for each student. Theyalso looked at its value beyond any specific assignment:

    I know that the writing process is important when you go on to higher educa-tion and for anything else that youre going to do. The process is something[students] need to learn innately, just naturally, so it transfers into other aspectsof their lives. So I would never want to get rid of that process at all, because, Imean, its a way for them to self-reflect and revise and become deeper thinkers.The process, I think, [is] deeply important to [improving thinking].

    Along with valuing the process for students, these teachers saw themselves as good writerswho used the process in their own lives.

    I do like to write. Im getting better, so I think I transfer that excitement tomy students. Whatever you have a passion for, you end up using. Ive [written]journals all my life, so that part is easy for me. [I also write] my own stories,and memoirs and autobiography. Being a teacher, [I know] that I have to modelmy own [writing] in front of the class. I think it has strengthened me because. . . if I expect the kids to . . . write fantasy, I have to be able to come up withthat myself and be willing to share it with the students.

    Even teachers who did not claim to be good writers were still engaged in writing andfound ways to share their own writing processes and products in the classroom. Threehigh and one transitional implementers shared with their students how they valued thewriting process and viewed themselves as writers, reflecting these beliefs in their practiceas teachers. These four teachers specifically mentioned they enjoyed teaching writing.

    Emphasis. All high implementing teachers and three of the six transitionalimplementers scheduled time for writing daily and allowed their students freedom inexpressing themselves. One of them explained, One thing I think is important is justwriting. Giving them time to write just whatever they want. . . . Getting them writing daily[is] more important than anything. Without that, theyre just always stuck.

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    A transitional implementing teacher agreed:

    Well, I find that sometimes the more time you spend on writing and the moreyou let them just write, like in their journals, theres a freedom in that. And theyget to where they dont worry so much about their spelling [that it interfereswith their thinking and expression].

    One high implementing kindergarten teacher described how she provides freedom, butscaffolds children into writing in a form that can be read:

    Children dont need letters and sounds before they start writing. . . . Even ifthey write wiggles and squiggles and draw a design, its writing as long as theyknow it has meaning. Thats true, but at some point, they have to be able to getthat idea in a conventional form. Thats where I come inI show them howto form the letters, how to use punctuation, so others can read what they arewriting.

    This focus on scaffolding was mentioned by two other high implementers and twotransitional teachers.

    Integration. Three high implementers and two transitional implementers emphasizedintegrating writing and reading; one teacher explained her rationale:

    Reading should be one of the top things for the students. I think that [readingand writing] play a part in every subject. . . . Good writers make better readers,and good readers make better writers, at least from what I have seen. So tomake better readers the writing program has to be pretty strong.

    Three of the four high implementing teachers also spoke about integrating writing withsubject matter instruction, strengthening content area knowledge as well as writing skills.A second grade teacher gave this example: In second grade we learn about animal habitats.So were all writing a book together, and each student is doing a page. Theres so manythings that they can work on during writing, but this way I feel like Im covering contentmaterial.

    A teacher extended the use of writing to additional content areas: I have my studentswrite in a math journal and a reading journal. It helps them improve their writing, but alsotheir math thinking and reading comprehension.

    Low Implementers. Although they struggled with it in many ways, three of the four lowimplementing teachers seemed to value writing. But all four of these teachers and twoof the transitional teachers did not view themselves as good writers or good teachers ofwriting. Their own insecurities and avoidance behaviors were reflected in the ways theytaught writing in their classrooms. A major difference from the high implementers is thatteachers (four low and three transitional) valued writing conventions over content and ideas,and they focused most of their writing efforts there.

    Attitudes. One low implementing teacher acknowledged, Theyll have to write essayswhen they get older. Many teachers seemed conflicted by the expectation to teach writingwithout enjoying writing themselves. One expressed her insecurity, Im not a good writer.Its not that I dont like it. Im just not good at it. I just labor over words. A transitional

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    implementer shared her struggle: I wish I wrote more. I need to write more. Ive tried to. . . . I wish Id made an effort to try to write more and be a better writer. I feel like Im agreat reader! But writing is one thing I feel like Im not [good at]. Thats why its hard forme to teach it.

    Emphasis. Despite poor self-perception as writers, two of the four low and two tran-sitional implementers still reported scheduling some time for regular writing instruction intheir classroom, but it was sporadic and most of it focused on mechanics. These teachersmade no attempts to differentiate their instruction in the limited time they set aside for writ-ing. One teacher said, We do some type of writing probably once a week. We probablyshould do it more often. Id like to do more projects. When asked what might trigger achange, this teacher responded, Less emphasis on the test scores at the end of the year.But its not going to happen. I have to focus on the spelling and punctuation because thatson the test. Other teachers expressed a similar concern. The following statements revealthe focus of their writing instruction.

    Well, you brainstorm, and then you just get your ideas on paper. Then you go backand conference, usually with classmates. And they look for things to improvepunctuation. And then you go back through and they re-write it, fixing their spellingand capital letters. So thats basically the extent of it.

    Once they get an idea, most of them can go with it, but they have a real tough timeediting and fixing mistakes . . . I mean, its really interesting. I can put daily orallanguage (incorrect sentences) on the board and they have to correct the sentences.Most of them will do that perfectly, but then you ask them to do the exact same thingto their writing, and they cant seem to figure it out.

    Six Traits doesnt work well for all students. I need to give most kids tools to use toimprove their punctuation and spelling in writing first and not all that other stuff.

    Thus, high implementers share their own enjoyment and confidence in writing, allow-ing children also to enjoy self-expression and variety. Low implementers reflect theirown insecurities with writing, focusing what instruction they do give on spelling, punc-tuation, and grammar, aspects that can be standardized, scored, and to some extentcontrolled.

    Teaching Preparation and Professional Development

    High Implementers. High implementing teachers acknowledged that their understanding ofteaching writing came primarily through their university teacher preparation and throughprofessional development opportunities offered by their districts and schools.

    University coursework. All high and three transitional implementing teachers hadbeen motivated to teach writing and instructed on how to do so effectively in their universitycoursework. One teacher described a particular class:

    I dont think anybody in there went away from . . . that course without a realdesire to teach writing. The things . . . shared with us, and the variety of ways toteach writing, were just so motivating to everybody. Just basic thingswritersworkshop, authors sharing, doing peer editingall those things you shoulddo. [The instructors] enthusiasm for [writing] . . . was contagious.

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    Another recalled an outstanding professor:

    There was a professor that I took writing from. I mean, she gave us a lot ofresources. But she [taught] us, kind of, how to start the writing process with thekids, and modeled that a lot. . . . She set out, like, the first 25 days of writing inthe school year. We didnt have to use it, but it was kind of an example. So shehad stories and books in there already [to serve as model texts].

    Professional development. In addition to positive experiences with writing instructionin university courses, three of the four high implementing teachers and three of the sixtransitional implementers had participated in and appreciated district and school efforts tocontinue to help them progress as writing teachers:

    Taking professional development classes at the school with our literacy spe-cialist helps. Weve done that this last year. Shes been doing a whole writingsession with the teachers here, and I actually still use the textbook I got. . . .It has sample lesson plans and different mini lessons that I could teach.

    Another teacher remarked, [The district] did have a fabulous presenter last year. [Thispresenter] brought a lot of books to share. She was wonderful. . . . I liked her approach.

    Low Implementers. Differences between the comments of high and low implementersof writing instruction reveal the impact and influence of preparation and professionaldevelopment on their attitudes and classroom practice.

    University coursework. The four low implementing teachers who rarely taught writingin their classrooms explained that they had had weak preparation at their universities andreceived little or no support in transitioning from university to classroom.

    We had literacy classes [at the university]. I think we talked about [writing].One class focused more on phonics and stuff. The second one was more onupper grades, where we focused on comprehension and . . . I think we learnedabout writing a little more in that one. But I never got the support I needed tomake the transition to my classroom.

    Professional development. Most district efforts to provide professional developmentwere considered to be imposed, and were not appreciated. All of the low implementersmentioned district inservice to one extent or another. These teachers seem to have resentedthese mandated sessions, which may be why they reported gaining little if any benefit fromthem. Some fairly typical comments follow:

    There has been a big push in our district for Six Traits writing. Im guessing they didSix Traits training because the ones [who] came up with it were six trait coaches.

    I had, I think, a workshop. I was given a book but I dont remember the title . . .something about the Six Traits. And umm, thats about it.

    Its been years since I went to a seminar. You know, the ones Ive taken are principal-directed or instigated, not so much [voluntary]. Theyve kind of taken the controlthere and just made the faculty go.

    I would be open to some professional development in writing if it actually taught ussomething useful.

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    Coaches who may have been provided with or in addition to the professional developmentseem to have had little impact on these teachers, as few commented on them.

    Perhaps due to inadequate university preparation and low interest in professional devel-opment, all four low implementing teachers and two of the six transitional teachers felta lack of confidence or desire for teaching writing, considering themselves unlikely tosucceed in implementing new ideas. Their responses were frequently characterized byexternal attributions. They tended to blame their lack of implementation on factors beyondthemselves. Some of their comments follow:

    [I teach writing] a couple times a month, and thats a lot less than I would like, butthe two main reasons for that [are] my lack of confidence in teaching it, and [that] itis labor intensive.

    Ive done the Phase I Balanced Literacy [module], and it talks a little bit aboutwriting centers, but Ive never felt confident enough to start them.

    Basically, [the training] was a lot of information that I have yet, even after threeyears, to totally pick apart to find out what I can and cant use. I dont feel liketheres tons of support for writing when youre just getting started.

    Actually, the writing I end up doing . . . comes from my spelling book that has alittle writing activity every week. And I dont do them every week. . . . I have alsoincorporated a few ideas from other teachers. Writing is just hard for me to teach(comment from transitional implementer).

    Not only did three low implementers express a lack of confidence in themselves, butthey and two of the transitional implementers also seemed to project their attitude ofinadequacy onto their students. One low teacher commented, I dont believe that kinder-garten students are capable of independent writing. Writing is something that is notfeasible in kindergarten. A transitional implementer said, The kids dont like it. I sayits time for writing and they moan and groan. Then I have to deal with a lot of behaviorproblems.

    Discussion

    Persky, Daane, and Jin (2003) claimed that by fourth grade, two-thirds of American childrendo not write well enough to meet classroom demands. Obviously, teachers must betterprepare themselves to teach writing and implement writing across the curriculum. Cutlerand Graham (2008) wrote that, The development of policies and practices to improvewriting instruction at any grade level . . . must be grounded in a clear understanding of howwriting is currently taught. Without such information it is hard to determine what needs tobe done (p. 915).

    The purpose of this study was to address this need by exploring reasons why K-6 teach-ers do or do not engage students regularly in writing. Although the results of this study arenot generalizable beyond the teachers interviewed, they may provide insight and perspec-tive for those grappling with the challenge of making sure that writing is not the neglectedR (National Commission on Writing in Americas Schools and Colleges, 2003, p. 9). Thethemes that surfaced during the teacher interviews can help other educators understand pos-itive instructional factors that may potentially make a difference in K6 students writingand negative factors that can potentially be avoided. These implications focused on hin-drances and helps to teaching writing, teacher beliefs as evidenced in writing instructionpractices, and preparation and professional development.

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    Implications Concerning Hindrances and Helps

    High implementing teachers in this study felt they lacked time for writing due to curricularpressures. They also found it challenging to meet the needs of children with varying abil-ities. They expressed frustration at the expectations to focus on conventions when theybelieved that the content of the writing should be their priority. Despite these hindrances,these teachers sought help.

    Teachers who feel they lack time for writing need to see how their peers are makingtime for writing instruction and practice and capitalize on opportunities to integrate writingin their instruction. Low implementing teachers who make feeble attempts to meet thewriting needs of students with varying abilities need to observe teachers who successfullyscaffold their instruction. Teachers who feel the pressure to focus on conventions, such asspelling and punctuation, need to observe and learn how high implementing teachers focuson content, such as ideas and organization. One possible solution is to provide opportunitiesfor teachers to work with peers in their grade level or content area teams. Another solutionis to allow teachers to observe and work with other teachers across schools and districts. It isalso important for principals and district leaders to establish school cultures that promoteand celebrate writing.

    One teacher admitted during her interview that her experience had shown her thatteaching writing and involving children in writing activities are some of the hardest thingsfor a teacher to do. Its hard to manage all of it . . . and keep them all going. Shewas aware that many other teachers were not willing to make the sacrifice. Like otherhigh implementing teachers, she reported her most important source of help was positivementors, after whom she had been able to pattern her work.

    One teacher expressed interest in improving her skills in teaching editing mechanics,but, like so many others, she felt held back by other demands being made on her time: Ihave a bunch of books about writing, and then I buy more, and I look at them, and Im like,ah! Id love to do that. Its just the time . . . the time to squeeze it in during the day is justnot there.

    Helps, such as literacy coaches, must be provided for all teachers. The results of thisstudy showed that the support of mentoring coaches was invaluable. Mentors can helpteachers and provide professional literature to support them as they learn to conferencewith students and guide writing in small groups in order to meet the needs of students withvarying abilities (Gibson, 2008). Mentors can help teachers focus on publishing studentwork. When students have real audiences, their motivation increases (Morrison & Wilcox,2013).

    Implications Concerning Beliefs and Practices

    All high implementing teachers considered the writing process essential and perceivedthemselves as good writers. Although low implementers struggled with writing instruc-tion in many ways, they seemed to value it, but did not view themselves as good writers orgood teachers of writing. Beliefs of both high and low implementing teachers affected theirclassroom practice.

    High implementing teachers provided time for daily writing practice and also inte-grated writing in their disciplinary studies. They saw the entire school day as filled withopportunities to write.

    For example, one teacher frequently mined stories she read in order to get ideas fortheir writing. I will read picture books to help them brainstorm, she explained. Thus, in

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    her class writing was also developed during reading instruction. She found other ways ofslipping writing into various lessons and activities: There are all those moments in a day,like five minutes [here and] there that you can always find to just have them write some-thing. You can bring it into any subject youre teaching. Just have them write somethingreal quick about whatever they are learning.

    One teacher claimed that integrating writing with other content areas was important toher, but when asked to explain more she described non-process writing, such as filling outworksheets and answering questions at the end of textbook chapters. Teachers need to learnto integrate in ways that honor multiple disciplines. They can find ways to write in contentareas with and without revision (Wilcox & Monroe, 2011).

    Low implementing teachers viewed mechanical aspects of writing as more impor-tant than composition. They seemed more secure when they taught concrete skills withno subjective judgments to be made. Both high and low implementers valued writing, sorecognition of the importance of writing is not enough. High implementers perceived them-selves as good writers, while low implementers did not. University teacher preparation andprofessional development should focus on teachers perceptions of themselves as writers,not just on methods or providing justification for writing.

    Teachers need to have successful writing experiences, similar to those offered by theNational Writing Project (see http://www.nwp.org/). Some universities are having suc-cess by including a focus on preservice teachers beliefs about writing and giving themopportunities to write and reflect on the process in methods courses (Norman & Spencer,2005).

    Implications Concerning Preparation and Professional Development

    Differences between the comments of high and low implementers of writing instructionrevealed the impact and influence of their university preparation and professional develop-ment on their attitudes and classroom practice.

    One low implementing teacher explained, [Writing is] my weakest link, and I reallyneed to work on that. I feel the least prepared. Theres not really a teachers manual forit; you have your spelling book . . . you have your reading book. I do a little bit of writingthat comes out of our basal reader. She did not perceive writing as a high priority in herschool or district. She felt no pressure or support to change and do more: If Im feelingpressured, its because I know that when students get to sixth grade and above, they need toknow how to write. Unfortunately, I just dont think my classes have beenor anybodysclasses, reallythe best preparation for that.

    The contrasts in the statements of the high and low implementers are striking. Teachereducators and school administrators may be allowing some preservice and inservice teach-ers to slip through cracks. Although dispositions expressed by these teachers may have deeproots in their past school experiences, and in their self-perceptions of themselves as writers,teacher preparation institutions need to provide prospective teachers with the knowledge,experiences, and support they need to meet the writing needs of all of their future students.Differentiated instruction needs to be a topic that is addressed in university courses and inprofessional development. Quality preparation in writing instruction is a must for schoolsuccess and learning in school and beyond.

    Results of this study showed that the quality of preparation and inservice professionaldevelopment make a difference in what happens in terms of writing in K6 classrooms.All of the participating teachers had experienced similar university preparation courses anddistrict workshops, but they perceived them differently. These varied perceptions may have

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    been due to differences in their attitudes and professionalism, but part may also have beenrelated to the quality of instruction they experienced and how well prepared they felt todifferentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students. Every effort should be madeto ensure that the preparation and professional development of writing teachers is highquality. These efforts should focus on curricular concerns, as well as how teachers viewwriting.

    Conclusions

    One of the strengths of this study is that teachers were interviewed in detail about theirwriting instruction. Earlier writing research has depended on surveys and observations.However, this study is limited in that it includes information about only 14 K6 teachers.Future research should include data from more teachers. Teachers for this study wereselected from convenient neighboring school districts in one state. Many of these teacherswere prepared at one of the two universities closest to their school districts. Their dis-tricts also offered similar professional development and held similar expectations of theirteachers. Future research should include teachers who have been prepared in a variety ofteacher preparation programs and many school districts across the country. The data for thisresearch were collected just as Common Core State Standards were being implemented.Future research should explore how expectations in the Core and educators efforts to meetthose expectations have affected teachers hindrances and helps, beliefs and practices, andtheir preparation and professional development.

    John Goodlad has said, The richer ones repertoire for interpreting human experience,the greater the prospect for living a rich life (Goodlad, Soder, & Sirotnik, 1990, p. 21).It seems altogether reasonable that a persons access to a quality education, includingfirst-rate writing instruction, provides the best chance to acquire this significant repertoire.Teachers as well as students deserve this opportunity.

    References

    Applebee, A., & Langer, J. (2006). The state of writing instruction in Americans schools: Whatexisting data tell us. Albany, NY: Center on English Learning and Achievement.

    Billen, M. T., Wilcox, B., Bahr, D., Shumway, J., Korth, B., Yates, E., . . . Pierce, L. E. (2011).Instruction and physical environments that support process writing in elementary classrooms. In T.Morrison, L. Martin, M. Boggs, & S. Szabo (Eds.), Literacy promises (pp. 101116). Commerce,TX: Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers.

    Brandt, D. (2001). Literacy in American lives. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in

    Psychology, 3, 77101.Calkins, L. (2010). Launch an intermediate writing workshop: Getting started with units of study for

    teaching writing, grades 35. Portsmouth, NH: Firsthand.Common Core State Standards. (2010).Common core state standards initiative. Retrieved from http://

    www.corestandards.orgCutler, L., & Graham, S. (2008). Primary grade writing instruction: A national survey. Journal of

    Educational Psychology, 100(4), 907919.Donovan, C. A., Milewicz, E. J., & Smolkin, L. B. (2003). Beyond the single text: Young childrens

    interest in reading and writing for multiple purposes. Young Children, 58, 3036.Gibson, S. A. (2008). An effective framework for primary-grade guided writing instruction. The

    Reading Teacher, 62, 324334.

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    Gilbert, J., & Graham, S. (2010). Teaching writing to elementary students in grades 46: A nationalsurvey. The Elementary School Journal, 110, 494517.

    Goodlad, J. I., Soder, R., & Sirotnik, K. A. (Eds). (1990). The moral dimensions of teaching.Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Jossey-Bass.

    Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Mason, L. H., & Friedlander, B. (2008). Powerful writing strategies for allstudents. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

    Kara-Soteriou, J., & Kaufman, D. (2002). Writing in the elementary school: The missing pieces. TheNew England Reading Association Journal, 38(3), 2533.

    Morrison, T. G., & Wilcox, B. (2013). Developing literacy: Reading and writing to, with, and bychildren. Boston, MA: Pearson.

    National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2002). Writing 2002 report card. Retrieved fromhttp://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2002/2003531.asp

    National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2011). Writing 2011 report card. Retrieved fromhttp://nationsreportcard.gov/writing_2011/

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    Norman, K. A., & Spencer, B. H. (2005). Our lives as writers: Examining preservice teachers experi-ences and beliefs about the nature of writing and writing instruction. Teacher Education Quarterly,32(1), 2540.

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    Pressley, M., Gaskins, I., Solic, K., & Collins, S. (2006). A portrait of benchmark school: Howa school produces high achievement in students who previously failed. Journal of EducationalPsychology, 98, 282306.

    Simmerman, S., Harward, S., Pierce, L., Peterson, N., Morrison, T., Korth, B., . . . Shumway, J.(2012). Elementary teachers perceptions of process writing. Literacy Research and Instruction,51, 292307.

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    Appendix: Interview QuestionsWriting Research With ClassroomsTeachers

    You may wish to begin the interview by letting the teacher know that you realize teachingwriting looks very different in each grade and you are interested in writing instruction inhis/her classroom.

    Question number 3 is intentionally vague, since we dont want to lead him/her to giveus what he/she might perceive are correct answers. However, if you dont feel you haveenough information, you could use the additional questions listed with question 3, or useyour own questions to gain additional information.

    1. Describe your public school teaching experience? (grades, etc.)

    2. What has helped you prepare to teach writing in the elementary school? Any specificcourse(s), person(s), conference presentation(s), workshop(s), book(s), etc.

    3. Describe your writing program.

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    http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2002/2003531.asphttp://nationsreportcard.gov/writing_2011/http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2002/2003531.asphttp://nationsreportcard.gov/writing_2011/

  • 224 S. Harward et al.

    If further probing is necessary, consider the following questions:a. What writing opportunities do you give your students and/or what writing assign-

    ments do you have your students complete? (during a typical week; typical month?)b. In your classroom:

    i. How many minutes/hours per week do you spend teaching children to write?(excluding handwriting and spelling)

    ii. What is the rationale for spending this amount of time?iii. What specific strategies and/or procedures do you teach the children?iv. What types of writing assessment strategies do you use to evaluate your students

    writing?c. Is your writing instruction consistent throughout the week? Month?d. What do you wish you could do in your writing instruction?e. What prevents you from accomplishing what you would like in writing?

    4. What aspects of writing instruction do you feel are most important?

    5. What aspects of writing instruction do you feel are the most challenging for children tolearn?

    6. How do you view yourself as a writer?

    7. How do you rate writing in your overall curriculum?

    8. In your own words, please describe: Six Traits; writing process; writing workshop.

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    AbstractPurpose of This StudyMethodsContextParticipantsInstrumentProceduresData Analysis

    ResultsHindrances and HelpsHigh ImplementersLow Implementers

    Teacher Beliefs in PracticeHigh ImplementersLow Implementers

    Teaching Preparation and Professional DevelopmentHigh ImplementersLow Implementers

    DiscussionImplications Concerning Hindrances and HelpsImplications Concerning Beliefs and PracticesImplications Concerning Preparation and Professional Development

    ConclusionsReferencesAppendix: Interview Questions---Writing Research With Classrooms Teachers

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