Progressive Writing Instruction

Lindsay McGrath - Section A - 2/6/14

Lacina, J., & Block, C. C. (2012). Progressive writing instruction: Empowering school leaders and teachers. Voices from the Middle, 19(3), 10-17.

Summary of Key Points

  • There is very little data about what writing instruction looks like in grades 4-6
  • 72.7% of District Administrators said middle school students are not writing more proficiently than prior generations
  • There is little time invested in the teaching of writing and there is more focus on form than content
  • Some school district leaders say writing is not a priority in their schools
  • Writing proficiency will only increase when policymakers and leaders make writing a priority in all content areas
  • Students benefit when there are connections to their background experiences, they are engaged, and motivated through technology

Good Writing Instruction Involves Using...

  • Scaffolding of the teaching of writing
  • New literacies
  • Process-based approach
  • Teaching writing within content areas

11 Research Based Classroom Practices

  • Writing Strategies
  • Summarization
  • Collaborative Writing
  • Specific Product Goals
  • Word Processing
  • Sentence Combining
  • Prewriting
  • Inquiry Activities
  • Process Writing Approach
  • Study of Models
  • Writing for Content Learning

Many Large US Middle Schools Don't Teach

  • Writing strategies
  • Collaborative writing
  • Statements of specific goals for writing
  • Word processing
  • Inquiry activities
  • Study of good writing models
  • Writing for context learning

How to Prepare Middle Schoolers to become 21st Century Writers

  • Increase availability for student writing instruction
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Integrate technology
  • Publish student writing

How to Teach Students to Become Effective Writers

  • Use authors as mentors through online interviews, websites, webcasts, and blogs
  • Use peer response groups using blogs or wikis - students can connect to other students at different schools or in different countries to make connections, respond, and mentor each other
  • Use real-time tet tools to promote collaboration - all students can work on a project at once and create a feeling of community
  • Include content area writing strategies throughout curriculum (guided writing procedure, learning logs, and structured note taking)
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I think this was a great article about writing instruction. I believe that teaching writing would be a great task for a teacher but it is very important and cannot and should not be avoided. The article talked a lot about important it is to integrate writing into every subject and I completely agree. I think that is a great way for students to practice their writing without it seeming like they are. Writing in different subjects allows students to practice a subject in a new way, which would keep the subject interesting and new. Writing is also a great way for students to express themselves. The article stressed that present day teachers focus too much on form and how correct a student’s writing is that the author looses his or her voice. When this happens, writing is more of a test and less of a way to communicate. I think writing is a great release for students at this age, especially for the ones who may feel as though they have no one to talk to. As a student, I always appreciated my teacher asking me to write down my opinion about a certain subject. It made me feel as though my voice and what I had to say was important. Overall, I thought this article was very informative about where writing instruction is and where it needs to go.

Discussion Questions

  • What are your thoughts about incorporating more technology into the classroom? How much is too much or is there not too much?
  • How do you keep students from relying too much on technology? How could you teach students to use it as a tool and not as a crutch?
  • What are some ways you can make sure students keep their voice through writing?