Common Core Writing

Mind Designs are the Roadmaps to Writing Success!

4148522With the summer travel season in full swing, one of the most important items to pack for a road trip is a map.  Whether it’s a paper map or a GPS device, having a plan to reach a destination makes it easier to get there.  Without an accurate map, travelers might struggle to find their way. Whether they have to stop and retrace their route because they realize they are headed in the wrong direction or, even worse, they end up in a different place than they intended, when there’s a destination but no map to get there, road trips become torturous. Planning the route saves time and frustration and ensures travelers get to their intended destination!

Recently, I scored a batch of writing from three classes that illustrated the impact the “roadmaps” in Writing with Design has on the quality of student writing.  What struck me about the classes I analyzed was how much scores improved when students use the Mind Designs, the road maps, to plan their writing.

In two of the classes, I noticed that the writing was unfocused.  Their scores reflected this.  I could see that students struggled to get their ideas on the page because they had no plan. They were lost on their route and many ended up in destinations that were confusing and way off track.  In the third class, student scores were significantly higher.  As I scored this class, I noticed that students were using a Sequence Design to plan their narratives.  Clearly, the teacher had taught students how to use the Design to effectively organize, or map out, their writing.  Their writing was focused, well structured, and on prompt.  Good planning also freed students to be more creative and add more details.

As an independent Writing Analyst for Writing with Design, I can attest to this: Mind Designs give students a roadmap to success in writing!

-Angela
Writing Analyst for Writing with Design

The Power of Post-It Notes

post-it notesTo ensure that students’ writing stays sacred, stays full theirs, when reviewing writing, put any comments for revision or editing on post-it notes or a separate sheet of paper. It’s important to remember as teachers that full ownership of the writing belongs to the student, whether they are 5 or 25. Thus, keeping all suggestions for improvement separate ensures they maintain ownership and the power to enhance their writing.

In addition, having the comments on the post-it, means students must transfer the changes to their paper, keeping them as the active learner and reviser, instead of the passive fixer. In other words, the hand that’s doing the writing is connected to the brain that’s doing the learning. So, give them clues and suggestions as to what changes would improve their writing. However, keep all the comments off the original work.

This small transfer of power and gesture of respect leads students to be tremendously more independent and confident in their writing because they see you, their teacher, as their guide instead of their corrector.

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