District Administration August 2016 - 50

New wave in writing Constructive feedback: Middle school students, left and right, from Pittsburgh Public Schools work on essays in their school computer lab using Turnitin Revision Assistant. It helps students revise their work based on constructive feedback while they write. ated by former teachers Barbara Mariconda and Dea Auray-to develop teacher and student proficiency. Empowering Writers in part uses graphics to teach the components of good writing. Teachers and students, for instance, study the "narrative diamond"-a graphic illustration that shows a good narrative needs an entertaining beginning, elaborative detail, suspense, a main event and a wellconstructed ending. RESOURCES Criterion Online Writing Evaluation Service by ETS www.ets.org/criterion Empowering Writers http://empoweringwriters.com ERB, www.erblearn.org PEG Writing by Measurement Incorporated www.pegwriting.com Ready Writing by Curriculum Associates www.curriculumassociates.com/ products/ready-writing.aspx Revision Assistant by Turnitin http://go.turnitin.com/revision Write to Learn by Pearson www.writetolearn.net 50 August 2016 The "expository" and "opinion" pillars teach that powerful expository and opinion pieces include an introduction supported by at least three main ideas that are each supported by at least four details. So, during district-led PD sessions, educators at Jackson elementary were taught to emphasize the communicative purpose of writing. "Kids need to know, 'Who am I writing to? Am I writing to teach and inform? To entertain? To give you my opinion?'" Campbell says. "They need to know that there's a reason why we write." Now, rather than being asked to write about a vacation, a student might write a letter to their parents, using detail to convince them to take them to a dream locale. Paschal High School in Texas jumped at the opportunity to pilot Revision Assistant, a computer-based program from Turnitin that augments teacher-led writing instruction. It reviews students' writing and gives them feedback in four areas-language, focus, organization and evidence. Students can then revise their work. When students submit writing projects, the program measures "signal strength" in each of the four categories, with a graphic that looks like bars on cell phone screens. "Students like playing with those bars and seeing what they can do to raise them," says Barbara Ozuna, Paschal's dean of instruction. "Our kids did something like an average of 11 revisions per piece of writing, which is an incredible amount." Students learned not only the value of revision, but also specific strategies to consistently improve their writing-such as adding detail to support a thesis statement. Paschal administrators and teachers were pleased with student progress in writing during the two-week pilot period and want to integrate the program into their curriculum. Composing floats across curriculum Writing is not an easily generalized skill. A student who writes a well-organized essay with a brilliant introduction in English class may not do the same when assigned a paper for social studies, says Diana Cruchley, author of The Power of Extreme Writing. "Skills are often really context-specific," Cruchley says. To embed writing throughout the curriculum, teachers of all subjects need to learn common language and set common expectations. For instance, students should learn the importance of writing powerful introductions and other approaches that grab the reader's attention-such as the use of questions or surprising information. Then, Cruchley says, when social studies teachers assign an essay, they can ask students to write a 'powerful introduction.' They can ask, "What kinds of 'powerful introductions' do we already know?'" District Administration http://www.ets.org/criterion http://www.empoweringwriters.com http://www.erblearn.org http://www.pegwriting.com http://www.curriculumassociates.com/ http://go.turnitin.com/revision http://www.writetolearn.net

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration August 2016

District Administration August 2016 - Cover1
District Administration August 2016 - Cover2
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