Balanced Writing Instruction The ultimate goal of all writing instruction is the development of writers able to communicate. To achieve this goal five scaffolded steps of instructional techniques need to be explicitly used. The act of using these steps creates the “balance” to the instruction. Step 1: Modeled Writing Modeled writing is an instructional strategy where the teacher WRITES and THINKS ALOUD to the students to demonstrate the metacognitive process that is required to be successful. Advantages of Modeling: Students are attentive and engaged. A fluent, expressive style is being demonstrated which promotes motivation for students to mimic. Teacher controls the text/genre form and can integrate it with instruction in vocabulary, concepts of print, comprehension strategies, and writing crafts. Teacher controls the pace of the lesson and can create the lesson based on prior observation and assessment. of student needs. Modeled teaching is a perfect way to create background knowledge, increase vocabulary and concepts and zero in on one aspect of written communication. It can introduce the students to the formal language used in writing, author’s craft, and even text structure. It provides opportunities for the teacher to model and scaffold writing strategies. Instructional activity ideas If you use the suggested, you are modeling. Thinking aloud or “Think Alouds” Modeling writing on a chart Direct instruction Step 2: Shared Writing Shared Writing is where the children join in orally composing the writing under the guidance of the teacher. The teacher uses this time to SHARE, DEMONSTRATE and ask students to PARTICIPATE with her in strategies of the writing process. The key is the teacher holds the pen and writes. Advantages of Shared Writing: All students can participate in a purposeful writing experience that explicitly demonstrates early writing strategies. Everyone is a WRITER in shared writing. Provides experience with the structures of language like rhyme, rhythm and alliteration and provides opportunity to show how words work in writing and word study. Provides a scaffold between oral language and printed language. The teacher is still in charge but the children are participating in a meaningful, way. (While Modeled Writing provided a motivation to mimic, Shared Writing lets the child mimic. This is a social instructional style.) The teacher can model and scaffold writing strategies. Instructional activity ideas If you use the suggested, you are using shared writing. Writing aloud in choral reading, chants, songs, language experience stories Direct, explicit instruction Step 3: Interactive Writing This is a highly oral process where the teacher and student(s) share the pen. The students come to a chart and write what they can while the teacher interacts and picks up only when they cannot go further. There is shared re-reading and correcting in the composition process. The teacher helps the student construct the writing, one word at a time. Often words are sounded out as they are written. Key here is the use of high frequency words and the conscious connections between how words sound and how they are created and connected to make meaningful sentences. Instructional activity ideas If you use the suggested, you are doing interactive writing. have young writers participate in small or large groups at a large chart where the composition is orally and collectively composed. Write, with several students physically contributing , and then read back the progress for meaning. Step 4: Guided Writing Guided Writing is where the teacher works with selected students (based on observation and assessment) in SMALL GROUPS. The groups are FLEXIBLE and grouped by a targeted need. The purpose is to GUIDE the group to apply and practice needed strategies with teacher support. Guided Writing is NOT the teacher writing for the students. Advantages of Guided Writing: The students are getting customized instruction in an area where they have a need with teacher support. Teacher controls the the teaching points and bases them on the student need. Groups are usually 4-6 in number. Students in the group have similar needs. Students are writing at their instructional level. Students are supported in the practices of instructional strategies that have been giving them trouble. Provides teachers with another, more personalized, opportunity to observe and assess students using the new skill to plan for further instruction. Instructional activity ideas If you use the suggested, you are doing guided writing. Assessment and observation drive guided writing groups. Small group instruction is based on the needs that have been observed, not on a generic “one size for all” lesson plan. Step 5: Collaborative Writing Collaborative Reading involves opportunities for students to WORK TOGETHER to decide on the meaning and composition of a text. Students read and create the text together using comprehension, proof reading/editing and discussion strategies. Advantages of Collaborative Writing: Student gets to APPLY the learning. Collaborative Writing is highly social. Problem Solving, teaching others, selfmonitoring and self-correcting are major components. Teacher only teaches if necessary. The bulk of the time is spent scaffolding, coaching and conferring with groups, observing, evaluating, clarifying and confirming. KEY: TEACHER MUST BE ACTIVELY MONITORING. This is not “at desk time” or to be working on computer. Collaborative Writing is a natural bridge to total independent reading. It allows the student to refine their mastery of writing techniques. It promotes listening, clarifying and social interaction on the part of the writers. Instructional activity ideas If you use the suggested, you are doing collaborative writing. Partner writing Peer Editing Literature Circles Reciprocal Teaching Step 6: Independent Writing Independent writing is a time for students to APPLY the skills and strategies taught during the previous instructional strategies. It is authentic practice. Advantages: It requires the students to initiate, monitor and direct their writing. They are able to apply their learning to self selected pieces or content area subjects. The teacher ROLE SHIFTS to affirmer, assister and acknowledger. The teacher is there to help the student set goals and evaluate if there are further needs that could be addressed with other instructional strategies. Independent Writing increases stamina in writing, along with promoting a love for writing. Students love the freedom to choose the subjects to write about and have opportunity to rework favorite pieces. Self-selected independent writing promotes the building of background knowledge and allows unlimited practice in writing strategies and techniques. Instructional activity ideas If you use the suggested, you are doing independent writing. Writers Workshop time Informal conferences Homework and research assignments Why bother to distinguish the steps? American education systems are spending the bulk of teaching time on DECLARATIVE knowledge (the WHAT) instead of assisting students to practice the HOW (PROCEDURAL knowledge). WE ARE OUT OF BALANCE!!! Balanced Writing Instruction end the view of all school writing needing to be formalized assignments written to final, published form graded by the teacher in red ink. And….creates the view that writing is a joyful process to communicate thoughts and emotions.