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Think about…
What if every student, every day was writing in every content area? Imagine the impact on student achievement!
It would be amazing! Is this happening in your school?

My current collaboration with an elementary school principal and his educator’s vision is exactly that! Every student, every day, writing in every content area. Their belief, like many others in education is that a learner’s understanding (at any age) is deepened when they respond, react, and build on new knowledge through writing. The article, “Until I Write It Down”, by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo and Stephen Chiger, was the perfect catalyst to ignite the connection between writing and thinking for these educators. Bambrick-Santoyo and Chiger share that, “Until we see what students can articulate in writing, we don’t know what they comprehend, on some level, neither do they. To strengthen our students as readers, the place to start is with their writing.” They also share that writing is the great revealer because it demands clarity.

Working together, educators drew connections between the ideas in this article and their own current instructional practices, considered ideas they wanted to challenge, identified key concepts they wanted to hold onto and committed to changes in perspectives, attitudes, and ideas they want to implement into their future instructional practice. Key identified concepts included:

  • Designing opportunities for students to write prior to sharing verbally.
  • Rather than calling on the “excellent readers and bold speakers” to share their findings first, we must require that all students formulate a response individually. This allows each student to process the text in their own unique way without being influenced by others and the importance of active monitoring.

Future instructional moves based on our collaboration included:

  • Circulating strategically to reach all students.
  • Increasing wait-time.
  • Specifically planning feedback based on student responses.
  • Student self-assessment/grading with respectful agreement or disagreement.

These educators are intentionally designing lessons with a laser like focus on every student, every day, writing in every content area. I can not wait for our next collaboration to celebrate their progress!

Authored by: Carolyn Tinsley-Tremmel, Associate.