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Examining Writing Expectations

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Planning writing instruction begins with your required curriculum, what you know about teaching writing, and what your students are interested in. Within the writing workshop framework, you are always looking for what your students need, what you can teach that would help a lot of students based on what you've observed.

Through this inquiry cycle thus far, we have examined what we believe or value  in terms of writing instruction as well as the importance of authentic opportunities for writing based on students interests. There is the assumption that a tension exists between what we value in writing workshop and helping students do better in terms of expectations associated with the the Common Core State Standards. Can these two expectations coexists within the writing workshop model?

  1. Let's begin by examining some of the shifts called for in the Writing Standards. As you preview these shifts, use agreed upon annotations to note your thoughts. For example, you might use the "+" to indicate something that frequently addressed, a check mark for those items addressed sporadically and a "--" sign to show areas that are rarely addressed. 
  2. In round one, invite everyone to share findings. You might consider creating chart papers for the three categories. Be sure to caution everyone to only report on their own classroom and not make generalizations about grade level or school wide.
  3. In round two, invite everyone to share a pattern they have observed or a wondering
  4. . If more structure is needed for this sharing, one might consider the "What, So What", "Now What" protocol. 
  5. Conclude the time together with some silent writing time, Each individual should name areas where concentrated attention and learning might be warranted. 
  6. Again, close by inviting volunteers to share a topic or area they are committing to working on. 
  7. If patterns of need emerge in this sharing, if there is a consensus, you might consider noting those in your chart under school policies or resources,depending on the specifics of the need. 
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These tools were created as part of the Literacy Improvement in Rural Education through Collaboration (LIREC) project funded by the U.S. Department of Education