Write More to Learn More

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Zwolle elementary

Write more to learn more!UNCW Conference for Teachers of WritingAngela Peery, Ed. D.


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Under the Authentic Literacy link at drangelapeery.com

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We have a moral and ethical imperative to help our students improve their literacy.

Because its the right thing to do

Why have all students engage?Author and educator Mike Schmoker says this in his book Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning:The lesson to be learned from the last 30 years should be this: We will never educate all students until we appreciate the value of time and stop preventing them from engaging in immense amounts of reading, discussion, and writing. These are the indispensable and primary means of acquiring content knowledge and intellectual skills.

Why have all students engage?Donovan Walling, in Writing for Understanding: Strategies to Increase Content Learning is right when he says:Writing increases understanding in all content areas, whether math or science, social studies or foreign language, art or music, or physical education. And you dont have to be a writing teacher in order to use writing as an instructional tool any more than you need to be a computer programmer to use a computer or an auto mechanic to drive a car.

Why have all students engage?From Applebee and Langer, Writing Instruction in Americas Schools: What Existing Data Tell Us

Overall, since 1971, student literacy achievement has been holding steady. Using achievement level standards developed by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the National Commission on Writing (2003) points out that while most students have mastered the basics, few can create prose that is precise, engaging, and coherent (p. 16), approximately equivalent to what NAEP calls proficient.


Graham and Hebert have made the argument quite eloquently in Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading:The financial and social costs of poor literacy have been well documented The consequences of poor reading and writing skills not only threaten the well-being of individual Americans, but the country as a whole. Globalization and technological advances have changed the nature of the workplace. Reading and writing are now essential skills in most white- and blue-collar jobs. Ensuring that adolescents become skilled readers and writers is not merely an option for America, it is an absolute necessity.


Sometimes we need an easy, quick-to-implement, low-prep strategy that will increase the energy in the room. 9

Strategies that heighten engagementThink-ink-pair-shareAlphabet brainstormingPass the paper

Alphabet brainstorming:You try it!


Set up two columns on your paper. We will brainstorm words and phrases on an elementary school topic that were all familiar with. 12

Alphabet brainstorming: photosynthesisAirNBreatheOxygenChlorophyllPlantsDQERFSunlightGT HUIVJWKX LY MZ


Alphabet brainstorming: fractionsAddNumeratorBOCommon denominatorPartsDQERFactorsSubtractGreatest common factorT HUIVJWholeKX LY MZ


alphaboxesA B C



What applications do you see for alphabet brainstorming?

Ask participants for ideas. 16

Critical thinking

Strategies that support critical thinkingCriss-cross writingSix-word textTwenty ways to look at itTriple responseQuad notes

We wont have time to delve into all of these, but lets look a bit more closely at the first two. There is additional information in your handout, and it will appear in my forthcoming book, Write More To Learn More. 18

Criss-cross writingFictionNonfictionPoetryDefinitionBased on fact, truthDefining featuresMay be realistic or historically accurateLinesLine breaksStanzasExamples that we have studiedTo Kill a MockingbirdWriters we have studiedHarper LeeJon KrakauerNikki Giovanni

I just brainstormed this based on content I used to teach in 9th grade English. In your handout is an example from elementary teachers in Oregon. Basically this is a comparison matrix, a long-used strategy that helps students organize information. It can be used as a note-taking tool, a collaborative tool, and a prewriting strategy/tool.19

Six-Word TextCan serve as a summary of contentCan be used to state the theme of a literary workCan be adapted to fit many needs and subjects


Six-word text:You try it!

Lets summarize a popular childrens book that many of us might know. Why dont you select either Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, or The Kissing Hand? (Allow 3 minutes.) Ask some volunteers to share.

See sixwordmemoirs.com for information on the (original) six-word memoirs. Also see this video --https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCJyUMHaL_g21

Strategies that support critical thinkingCriss-cross writingSix-word textTwenty ways to look at it*Triple response*Quad notes*

Were moving onto our last section now, but dont forget that you have information on the three asterisked strategies in your handout. 22

Strategies that help writers refine their craft

Strategies that help writers refine their craftRoving revisionsMaking appositives

See the handout for descriptions. I recommend all the Sentence Composing books by the Killgallons. See http://www.amazon.com/Sentence-Composing-Elementary-School-Sentences/dp/0325002231/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443298043&sr=8-1&keywords=killgallon for the elementary version, but there are books for MS and HS also. 24

Planning for instruction

How do we move forward and help writers grow?

The great teachers fill you up with hope and shower you with a thousand reasons to embrace all aspects of life. Pat Conroy