District Administration August 2016 - 51

Campbell, the Massachusetts principal, says the common terminology of the Empowering Writers program is one reason her science and social studies teachers have the skills to coach students through writing assignments. Her students learn that powerful introductions and details are as important in social studies as in English class. Smart technology builds to crest Increasingly, vendors are creating programs and apps that assist writing instruction by providing basic feedback and revision support that students wouldn't normally get. Students who don't enjoy writing or are poor writers particularly appreciate getting first-draft feedback from a machine, rather than a human. "It's a low-stakes process," says Ozuna of Fort Worth ISD. "Nobody is reading it and saying 'You're stupid,' so students feel comfortable experimenting with words, thoughts and structure." These programs, which include Revision Assistant, Write to Learn and PEG Writing, can also make teachers more comfortable with subject. For example, feedback from Revision Assistant may include comments such as "Look closely at your word choice in your introduction" and "Revise so that you set just the right tone and style for your essay." It guides teachers toward providing more confident and constructive criticism. And because such programs provide basic feedback on sentence structure and organization, teachers are able to devote more instruction time to teaching tone and style, for example. Finally, students who get similar feedback-those who have to work on structure-can be grouped together to discuss and revise each other's work. Make it fluid Teachers also need embedded PD on critical and thoughtful reading and the writing process, says Roberts, the author. "A lot of teachers in science, social studies and math haven't had any of that," Roberts says. "Even if they, in good faith, attempt to teach writing, they wouldn't know where to begin." Improving students' writing begins with an administrative commitment. It took a year for Campbell to fully integrate Empowering Writers at her elementary school. That included professional days, in-service learning, an instructional coach planning lessons with teachers and plenty of collaboration. Campbell reviews students' writing folders three times a year. "I give specific feedback to the teachers," Campbell says. "Things like, 'You guys are nailing it with elaborate beginnings,' or 'Your details are really, really strong, but I'm not seeing a lot of transition words. Do you think as a group you may need some more discussion of transition words?'" Three years after they started using Empowering Writers, her teachers are noticing drastic improvement in students' writing. "The teachers are saying, 'These are the strongest writers I've ever had,'" Campbell says. "Second- and third-grade teachers don't have to start with, 'Let's teach sentences' because students are coming in with a better idea of what they need to do to write than they ever had before." DA Jennifer Fink is a freelance writer in Wisconsin. Get the "WRIIT " tools. TM Practice Assess Teach WPP (Writing Practice Program) WrAP (Writing Assessment Program) Students can practice writing essays and stories online anytime, anywhere with instant scoring, targeted tutorials, and a variety of score reports to track progress. Learn more at www.erblearn.org/WPP. Assess student writing online or with paper tests using a variety of prompts that include optional stimulus passages, different genres, and more. Learn more at www.erblearn.org/WrAP. WRIIT TM (Writing Resources for Insight, Interpretation, and Teaching) Free writing practice tools and webinar! www.DistrictAdministration.com Join a free webinar to learn about our writing tools and receive WPP for free*. Webinar is held in September-date pending. For more information and to RSVP, email WrAPwebinarDA@erblearn.org. Access a robust online network of anchor sets, learning progressions, and more to plan instructional next-steps. Learn more at www.erblearn.org/WRIIT. ERB has provided schools with assessments and instructional services for over 85 years. Learn more at www.erblearn.org. *ERB will award free WPP access to 30 students at the first 25 schools who sign-up for this webinar. August 2016 51 http://www.erblearn.org http://www.erblearn.org/WPP http://www.erblearn.org/WrAP http://www.erblearn.org/WRIIT http://www.erblearn.org http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

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

District Administration August 2016 - Cover1
District Administration August 2016 - Cover2
District Administration August 2016 - 1
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