- Seven Reforms Needed in Education - January 10, 2017
- Stop Censoring Our Classrooms - March 7, 2016
- Preparing for Parent-Teacher Conferences - October 16, 2015
- My Experience with TNCore - the Tennessee State Standards - September 15, 2015
- Tips for Choosing a Novel to Study - June 9, 2015
- Choosing the Right High School Reading Intervention Program - April 30, 2015
- Four Things Teachers Should Try Before Removing a Student - April 6, 2015
- Dear 'Bad Students': Prove Us Wrong - March 12, 2015
- Improving Education: Response to Joel Klein - February 26, 2015
- Writing Hacks for Grades 9-12 - February 12, 2015
A common grumble among my colleagues is teaching writing. We are well aware that American students score dismally on writing assessments, mostly because most teachers are scrambling to teach everything else on the menu. Consequently, writing has been neglected. Now that assessments are beginning to move from multiple choice to short answer and essay writing (at least that’s what they tell us in the great state of Tennessee), teachers are feeling pushed to teach writing. And we’re not just talking English teachers – everyone is being encouraged to provide more opportunities for writing in their classes.
While most people are still up in arms about the drive for new standards (aka: Common Core), I cannot object to this drive to bring intensive writing back in elementary and secondary settings. I welcome strategies that will help me improve as a writing teaching regardless of the reason why I’m being asked to teach them. I have grown tired of being told that writing scores need to improve without anyone telling me what I can do to make it so, as are my co-workers.
Enter Self-regulated Strategy Development, or better known as SRSD. The most notable aspect of this strategy is that fellow educator who has over 30 years teaching experience in both general and special education developed it. Dr. Karen Harris, with the help of some colleagues, created this strategy well before Common Core came into fruition. Thankfully, the strategy uses methods that appeal to those of the Common Core mindset, so SRSD is coming back in a big way… at least in the great state of Tennessee. SRSD takes all the best writing practices and places them into one neat package. Following is a synopsis of what SRSD looks like –
Stage 1 – Pre-assessment
Before formal writing instruction begins, teachers give their students a cold write, or a writing assignment with no instruction whatsoever aside from the prompt itself. The teacher then collects the writing samples and diagnoses what specific strategies need to be taught next, such as structuring a paper into three discernible parts (introduction, body, and conclusion) or creating a solid thesis statement. It is my personal recommendation that no grade be given for this assignment, unless it is participation only. After all, students are completing this cold write without official instruction.
During this stage, the teacher will also introduce the students to a writing mnemonic that will help them respond to the specific type of writing you are focusing on for the unit. I personally prefer POW + IT PEE S for analytical writing and STOP & DARE for argument writing. (POW is pull apart the prompt, organize your notes, and write. IT PEE S is introduction and thesis for the introduction; point, evidence, and explain for all body paragraphs; and summary for the conclusion. STOP is suspend judgment and pull apart the prompt, take a position, organize your notes, and plan more as you write. DARE is develop a position, add support, report and refute counterarguments, and end with a strong conclusion.)
Click here for stage 2.