Formative Assessment: An Introduction

There’s a term that has been floating among educators for some time, and it’s called formative assessment. I’ve been asked by many teachers about formative assessment and how it can be used in their classrooms to improve their students’ writing. In my next blog series, I’d like to share with you the what, why, and how of formative assessment. Let’s start off with the basics first to get our feet wet. I’ll dive into the nitty gritty for you in three more follow-up blog posts.

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When Did You Learn How to Write?

I’m curious, when did you learn how to write? Suzanne Klein, pictured as a young teacher.

It wasn’t until my first year in English 101 at Hillsdale College that I began to realize that my teachers throughout my K-12 education failed teaching me the craft of writing. You wouldn’t believe the sea of red marks all over my English essays. It didn’t help that the semester before, my professor was teaching graduate English majors at Harvard. I never really knew the background story of why Dr. Adcock came from Harvard to teach at a small, private, and very conservative college in Michigan. Needless to say, having no formal writing education, I was not Dr. Adcock’s favorite student. In fact, I had to procure an English major tutor after receiving several D minuses on my essays. Continue reading “When Did You Learn How to Write?”

Teaching Tips for Successful Conferences with Elementary Writers: Part 2-5

In part one of this blog series, I shared tips on the conference challenges of the old-fashioned English teacher mindset. Keep reading to learn about another common conferencing challenge I hear from teachers during coaching.

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Teaching Tips for Successful Conferences with Elementary Writers: Part 1

Conferencing lies at the heart of effective writing instruction. Why?

Because, unlike math or even spelling, writing offers no single correct answer. In some ways, it is like playing a sport. You have to put a variety of skills together to hit the target. As teachers, we demonstrate the “rules of the game” and then guide our students in strengthening their “performance.” It’s a step-by-step process. Like the coach who offers personalized advice to help each athlete improve, we give individualized feedback that helps students discover their power as writers. Continue reading “Teaching Tips for Successful Conferences with Elementary Writers: Part 1”

Low-Stakes Writing Exercises: 3 Tips to Get Started

By Lily Jones (Guest Blogger)

A special thank you to Lily Jones, Education Content Manager at Teaching Channel, for giving us permission to re post her blog. Lily shares her tips about the instructional strategy called “Writing to Learn”.  You can read her original entry, posted on Teaching Channel, here.

When we give students writing assignments, the purpose is often to share ideas and demonstrate understanding. We have students write persuasive essays to demonstrate their ability to make and support arguments, or write answers to questions that we use to assess their understanding. But, as Joan Didion explains, writing can also be a way to develop understanding. Continue reading “Low-Stakes Writing Exercises: 3 Tips to Get Started”

6 Tips to Successfully Score Student Writing Samples

Scoring a student sample or grade-level appropriate writing with the WriteSteps’ rubrics is effective because it gives your students the opportunity to see how each of the six traits works separately and together to make a strong piece.

Devin Dusseau-Bates, a 3rd grade teacher using WriteSteps, shares her tips on making the most of the six traits rubrics. Using the six traits rubrics helps students identify their own areas of strengths and weaknesses, which really boosts student confidence. Continue reading “6 Tips to Successfully Score Student Writing Samples”

Teachers Change the World One Lesson at a Time

Be A TeacherStar!

We know from experience that modeling is a powerful tool. We are seeking TeacherStars to model WriteSteps lessons for our nation’s teachers. This is an opportunity for you to make an impact outside of your classroom. In an effort to increase our videos to teach the nations teachers, any teacher that submits a video we use to publish on eWriteSteps, will receive $200.00!
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