The development of a writing curriculum at Lamar School

28 Aug

Four years ago at Lamar School in Meridian, we began developing a writing program.  It has evolved and is continuing to evolve as, through trial and error, we find what works best for our teachers and students.  Initially, we adopted the Institute for Excellence in Writing program at the elementary and middle school.  The IEW structure contains nine units and provides student worksheets. The program covers note taking and outlines, summarizing, creative writing, essays, and critiques. We found that this standardized approach was stifling for both the teacher and the student, so we took the parts we liked and borrowed from other programs to form a writing curriculum. We established goals for each grade beginning with Kindergarten. By the end of the year, all Kindergarten students will be able to write two to four complete sentences, understand the concept of “Dress Up” words, and use technology to create writing.  Teachers have students writing every day, they write in journals at home once a week, and have students read work aloud.  Second graders will be able to write two or three complete paragraphs, write summaries from reference-type books, and the expectations continue to grow through the elementary school.

 

In middle school, we have dedicated classes teaching, literature, grammar, and writing.  The writing teacher has adopted Pearson’s Writing Coach. It has an internet source that offers a tutorial about word choice, punctuation, and sentence fluency. Students write about what interests them allowing the teacher to create a comfortable writer.

 

We have also administered the Educational Records Bureau Writing Assessment Program (ERB/WrAP).   This test provides a direct measure of writing skills by collecting a writing sample from each student. The writing is scored analytically, providing a six-trait, six-point rubric to provide data that helps us target deficiencies.  The writing is returned to the students whereby they receive a grade and the rubric used in the grading. We have given the test to fifth through eighth grades as well as ninth and eleventh grade students.

 

It is our goal to continue to improve the teaching of writing at Lamar School.  I have just scratched the surface of what we are doing.  We would love to share what is working for us.

Four years ago at Lamar School in Meridian, we began developing a writing program.  It has evolved and is continuing to evolve as, through trial and error, we find what works best for our teachers and students.  Initially, we adopted the Institute for Excellence in Writing program at the elementary and middle school.  The IEW structure contains nine units and provides student worksheets. The program covers note taking and outlines, summarizing, creative writing, essays, and critiques. We found that this standardized approach was stifling for both the teacher and the student, so we took the parts we liked and borrowed from other programs to form a writing curriculum. We established goals for each grade beginning with Kindergarten. By the end of the year, all Kindergarten students will be able to write two to four complete sentences, understand the concept of “Dress Up” words, and use technology to create writing.  Teachers have students writing every day, they write in journals at home once a week, and have students read work aloud.  Second graders will be able to write two or three complete paragraphs, write summaries from reference-type books, and the expectations continue to grow through the elementary school.

 

In middle school, we have dedicated classes teaching, literature, grammar, and writing.  The writing teacher has adopted Pearson’s Writing Coach. It has an internet source that offers a tutorial about word choice, punctuation, and sentence fluency. Students write about what interests them allowing the teacher to create a comfortable writer.

 

We have also administered the Educational Records Bureau Writing Assessment Program (ERB/WrAP).   This test provides a direct measure of writing skills by collecting a writing sample from each student. The writing is scored analytically, providing a six-trait, six-point rubric to provide data that helps us target deficiencies.  The writing is returned to the students whereby they receive a grade and the rubric used in the grading. We have given the test to fifth through eighth grades as well as ninth and eleventh grade students.

 

It is our goal to continue to improve the teaching of writing at Lamar School.  I have just scratched the surface of what we are doing.  We would love to share what is working for us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.