writing to learn

Math Blogs: Fostering Voice, Ownership, and Understanding Online

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Author: Howard Rheingold

Summary: This article describes how a mathematics teachers became a connected educator, and how he and his precalculus students in Winnipeg began blogging. Students took turns with daily scribing — reflecting, summarizing, and connecting with each other locally and, serendipitously, with others beyond their school, e.g., a 5th grader in Georgia. Other forms of social media provided opportunities for their teacher to share student strategies and resources through live tweets with teachers and other students across the globe. This practical piece provides inspiration and wisdom for educators seeking ideas to jump start and support digital learning in mathematics.
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Portfolios That Make a Difference: A Four-Year Journey

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Author: Judith Ruhana

Summary: In this article, a teacher recaps her journey with portfolio assessment over four years. The writer shows how teachers can and need to adjust their teaching based on their students’ reflections on learning. The article will be of interest to teachers grappling with issues of assessment and grading. It includes rich samples of student writing and useful rubrics.
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Interest-based Learning and Passion Projects

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Guests: Laura Bradley, Kim Douillard, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Paul Oh, Jo Paraiso

Summary: In celebration of October’s Connected Educator Month, this webinar focuses on creating opportunities, space, and time for all youth to be agents in their own learning. The participating educators draw inspiration from the Maker Movement and the Connected Learning principles as they share ideas and strategies related to the notion of youth agency. Links to numerous additional resources are provided via the original source page.
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Why I Write: Scientist Timothy Ferris on Writing to Learn

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Author: Timothy Ferris

Summary: Ferris explains that he writes as a way to learn science and describes the vital role that science has played in changing the world for the better. He discusses how writing for general audiences can help scientists to “clarify their own thinking, by obliging them to put specialized ideas into wider contexts and to express them simply.” This short piece could be motivating for science students and teachers to read aloud and discuss before prompting them to write their own ‘why I write’ narratives.
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The Evolution of a Model Writing Teacher and a Model Writing School

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: How does a Writing Project teacher become a leader? This brief portrait describes how award-winning elementary teacher Julie Johnson evolved into an exemplary teacher of writing and collaborated with colleagues to develop a model writing school. This resource can fulfill multiple needs for site leaders and leaders of advanced institutes or teacher inquiry groups if they are looking for examples of effective early-grade writing classrooms, evidence of content-based writing in elementary grades, or schoolwide efforts to find effective approaches to writing.
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Composing Science (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Kim Jaxon and Leslie Atkins Elliott

Summary: In this engaging NWP Radio Show, Kim Jaxon and Leslie Atkins Elliott, authors of Composing Science: A Facilitator’s Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom, talk about teaching writing, teaching science, and creating classrooms in which students use writing to learn and think scientifically. In a lively conversation, Kim, a composition and literacy specialist, and Leslie, a science teacher educator with a Ph.D in physics, talk about concrete strategies and approaches for engaging students in practices that mirror the work that writing accomplishes in the development and dissemination of scientific ideas. Together they address a range of genres that can help students deepen their scientific reasoning and inquiry in this excellent resource for teachers engaged in inquiry into disciplinary literacy.
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Expressive Writing in the Science Classroom

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Author: John Dorroh

Summary: In this account of expressive writing in the science classroom, teacher John Dorroh introduces writing to build students’ curiosity, inviting them to wonder, to ask questions, and to imagine. In the process Dorroh wrestles with the issue of assessment and also demonstrates the importance of teacher-as-writer as he writes along with his students.
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Incorporating Multigenre Writing in the Social Studies Classroom

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Author: Kari Scheidel

Summary: Noting the gap between the level of sophistication of her students’ writing in writing workshop and in social studies, teacher Kari Scheidel reflected upon her teaching practice, asking “How do I use writing effectively in social studies?” and “How do I find time for it?” In this article she shares how she developed inspiring ideas for having students practice multi-genre writing to learn in social studies. In the process, she also shares samples of student writing in American History and suggests how students’ individual and collaboratively-authored pieces inspire their creative engagement at the same time that they build their subject area knowledge. This piece, along with the suggested readings included at the end, may be useful in genre study workshops and professional development focused on content-area literacy.
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ELLs at the Center: Rethinking High Stakes Testing

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Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono

Summary: How do we nurture intellectual curiosity, prepare students for a global economy, and validate and celebrate students’ cultures, language diversity and multiple literacies in an era of accountability and high stakes testing? The authors offer suggestions for ways teacher leaders can be advocates for equitable education and promote responsive practices for all students in spite of pressure from language and educational policies. This article could be a useful piece to read as part of a professional development series or study group on assessment and English learners.
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A Thousand Writers Writing: Seeking Change through the Radical Practice of Writing as a Way of Being

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Author: Robert Yagelski

Summary: Have you ever found yourself having to justify teachers’ writing as a key, non-negotiable component of your site’s professional development? If so, this article can help ground you in the importance and value of the act of writing. Yagelski proposes a pedagogy of “writing as a way of being” and describes how the approach can encourage awareness, reflection, and inquiry in ways that product-focused approaches may not. Yagelski’s full vision–that writing is more than communication, and that our lives and thinking live within writing–will be helpful to any teacher inquiry group or educator/leader teams who are working together to construct their own philosophical stance about writing: what it is, what it does, and what it should look like in classrooms. This piece will also be an invaluable resource for any teachers needing to justify the practice of having students write without being directly tied to the day’s objective, goal, or standard.
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