FAIRVIEW Elementary

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Transcript of FAIRVIEW Elementary

FAIRVIEW FACULTYImprove Student Writing
Through a Systematic,
Fox Chapel Area School District; Dr. Gene Freeman, Superintendent
Fairview Elementary; Mrs. Rebecca Stephan, Principal
SPP Indicator:
appropriate techniques and school-wide expectations.
Key strategy
The key strategy is teaching defined progressive grade level writing
skills supported by communicating clear expectations, utilizing tools
for organization, teaching the writing process, and administering
common assessments.
best writing from students
• A cultural shift in thinking for professional staff as to
what was needed and what could be accomplished by
each student
consistency of implementation, teacher modeling,
teacher-student writing conferences, examples of
exemplar writing, and student accountability and
independence as they write every day.
• Collaboration among specials teachers, support
teachers and staff, and classroom teachers ensured that
students received the support that they needed to
achieve these high goals.
of writing. The quality elements included Focus,
Content, Organization, Style, and Conventions.
Reviewing the rubrics with the students assured that
the students realized what they must include in their
writing to achieve a score of 4. Posted rubrics allowed
the children to read the rubrics each time they wrote
and to self assess as they write.
Clear and high
review their writing “to check” that they had included
what was necessary for quality writing. Checklists
made the expectations more clear and concise for the
students. For example, students could look for number
of details, transitions, punctuation, capital letters, a
hook, number of paragraphs, and a thesis sentence.
Clear and high
Tools: Exemplars
• Exemplars showed students exactly what high quality writing looks like at a level 4, a level 3, a level 2, and a level 1. Teachers concentrated on the exemplars at a level 4 so that the children could see and hear good writing. The quality elements of writing; Focus, Content, Organization, Style, and Conventions, were highlighted and discussed to demonstrate to students that they, too, could write at this level. Each year exemplars were collected from the district writing assessment.
Clear and high
to look for when they were editing another student’s
writing. For example, they could look for misspelled
words, sentence fragments, run-on sentences,
descriptive words, a thesis sentence, an introduction,
and a conclusion.
Clear and high
levels for pre-writing.
• The most crucial tool to simplify the clear and high
organize material logically.
information to be structured; therefore, a very
important tool for successful writing.
• This prewriting tool facilitated the communication of
thoughts and ideas effectively and efficiently.
The writing process
same writing process outline so that students were
given a consistent approach from year to year. By
breaking down the major task of writing into simple,
attainable steps, students could find success in their
writing. As the students practiced and applied these
steps throughout the year, the process became
automatic for the summative assessment.
The writing process
• Reading and understanding the prompt or directions to
an assignment was a crucial starting point to the
process. The student had to determine the genre of
writing (informational, opinion, or narrative) and took
into consideration what specific tasks must be
accomplished for that specific genre. Students were
taught to go back to the prompt to read it multiple
times, highlighting or underlining the important words
or phrases.
2. Brainstorming
• Brainstorming took on many different forms. Some students preferred to make a list; others preferred to make a web. There truly wasn’t a wrong way to brainstorm as long as students were letting the free flow of thoughts make it onto their paper. It was important to remind students that having more thoughts than needed was always better. Pairing down, or finding a way to combine ideas, could be done in the prewriting process. In writing informational pieces or works that were connected to a text, note-taking was a form of brainstorming for the students.
The writing process
3. Prewriting
• The use of a graphic organizer helped students organize their thoughts from the brainstorming process. We used a five-paragraph graphic organizer that the students were taught in third and fourth grade. At the fifth grade level, our goal was to develop more mature writers, so some subtle nuances were added to the overall organizer. The graphic organizer laid out the introductory paragraph, with a hook to engage the reader, followed by two to three detail sentences, and then was finished with a thesis statement
The writing process
Prewriting continued
• The thesis statement simply stated what the three body paragraphs would be. The student then wrote their main idea sentences for each of the three body paragraphs, as well as bullet pointed notes in phrase form on what the three supporting details for each of those paragraphs would be. The first and second body paragraph ended with a transition sentence that led the reader into the next body paragraph. The final body paragraph should have one additional detail since there wouldn’t be a need for a transition into the concluding paragraph. The concluding paragraph should restate the thesis and should wrap up the writing piece with an additional 3-4 sentences.
The writing process
4. Rough Draft
• The graphic organizer was created in the prewriting step to flow right into the rough draft. Students could seamlessly transition their work from the graphic organizer into complete thoughts and sentences in their rough drafts. We often discussed how easy the rough draft was to write due to the attention that was given to the prewriting process. Students often had the opportunity to type their rough draft in order to save time and effort in the final product phase of our writing process.
The writing process
Following the checklist or rubric as a guide kept the
revision process flowing smoothly. Students could
then revise with peers following the same pattern.
Multiple clean copies using the word processing
program were encouraged once the paper got “inked
read their work out loud in order to catch mistakes
their eyes missed. Reading to their locker, an
iPod/iPad, or a video program were options. Once
major structural improvements were made, then the
students were ready to edit their work. Looking for
conventions mistakes was the intended work. The
major focus throughout this step was to improve the
written piece more by content than by perfect spelling.
The writing process
6. Final Draft
revisions to their work. (Not all suggestions from peers
had to be made… it was still that individual student’s
work.) This led to the finalized version of their
writing. The final piece was almost always in word-
processed form.
Finding errors in homophones and homographs,
spelling and conventions, helped a writing piece turn
from good to great. This last step was often most
beneficial after a break in time.
The writing process
prompt at the end of the school year. District grade
level teachers scored and analyzed the student writing
to plan instruction.
of student work during the writing process, peer
editing and critiquing among students and teacher-
student writing conferences evaluated writing and
guided instruction.
held writing conferences with students evaluated
writing and guided instruction. Teachers and
administrators conducted gallery walks in the building
to critique student work and guide instruction.
• Summative: Students responded to a district created
prompt at the end of the school year. These prompts
were scored by all grade level teachers.
2. Strategy: Overview
examples, and characteristics of quality writing
6. Gallery Walk: Building/Whole Group Critique
7. Professional Reflection Journal:
• What am I learning?
• How will I apply this information inside my classroom to
improve student writing?
2. Writing Round Table: Looking at Student Work
3. Encouragement of Student Writers
4. Grades 3-5 Writing Expectations for Writing within
8. Reflection
Current STatus
writing in all grade levels and maintaining high expectations
is at the core of our success and remains a focus at Fairview
• Since 2013, the district administers one district writing
assessment at the end of the year, rather than two writing
assessments, one at the beginning and one at the end of the
school year.
Current STatus
paper rather than folding the paper, or grade levels using
designed graphic organizers that still maintain the necessary
organizational structure.
• The number of expected details within a paragraph has also
connected to writing in grades three through five
while continuing to increase the achievement and
depth of growth of our students in writing.