- 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
Stage 6 – Independent Practice
Finally, students are writing independently! Before you conclude your writing unit, though, you should give students one more cold write to assess whether students truly understand the process. Again, I recommend using a different prompt from before; that is the only way to truly know if students are relying on strategies. You might want to consider rewarding students who do use the strategy, so that the entire class gets the point of how important it is. For those of you who do not have time to work on a separate writing unit, you could simply add writing to an existing unit, with the pre-assessment and post-assessment cold writes bookending it. After all, when students enter college, they will find themselves writing endless essays for midterms and final exams.
In case you have missed the memo, I really enjoy this strategy. The only drawback to it is that it is time-consuming, so if I were not an English teacher, I would have to seriously cut back on some of the methods. (The nice thing about this method is that you can customize it for your class, starting with the mnemonic you choose.) Actual English teachers worry that this process takes away too much time from teaching other standards; I am not one of them. I feel like if students can write well in response to what they are reading, then they should be able to handle multiple-choice tests (until we move over to whatever new assessment our state is gunning for, anyway). I will have to get back to you on whether or not I am correct.
What I can tell you today, though, is that SRSD works. I have seen all my students benefit from the strategies. When I first used this strategy, I started with an informative/analytical piece. All but a handful of students out of 83 would have scored proficient on the assessment the first time around. By the last cold write, all but a handful of students from the same group scored proficient or better. No other writing strategy has produced similar results in my classroom to date.