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Writing Learning Walks French Creek ~ May, 2013 Initial Findings & Implications for Professional Development in the 2013-14 School Year


Purpose of the Learning Walk • Examine Writing Instruction in OJR • Determine PD for 2013-14 School Year • Inform professional practice in support developing writers • Assess the enacted writing curriculum


Expectations for the writing piece reflects students’ abilities and curriculum expectations (what they can do and what will assist them in developing writing skills) 120% 100%

96%

80% Yes No Not Observed

60% 40%

40%

20% 0%

0% Observation Data


The lesson begins with a connection to yesterday’s work as writers and ends with a focus on what students will learn today (approximately 2 minutes) 80% 70%

67%

60% 50% 40%

Yes No Not Observed

33%

30% 20%

10% 0%

0% Observation Data


The teacher explicitly states lesson objective (what they will learn) and purpose (how the writing behavior/strategy/skill helps the writer, and how they will demonstrate the learning (how they know they will be successful with the learning) 60% 50%

50% 40%

Yes Partially No Not Observed

30% 21%

21%

20% 8%

10%

0% Observation Data


Students are writing for a real purpose (strategy/process/content) 90% 80%

78%

70% 60% 50%

Yes No Not Observed

40% 30% 20% 10%

17% 4%

0% Observation Data


The lesson begins with teaching. The teacher names the learning, and then demonstrates the learning, explains and shows examples of the learning, or engages students in shared inquiry of the learning expected. (approximately 4-5 minutes) 38%

40% 33%

35%

30%

29%

25%

Yes Partially No Not Observed

20%

15% 10% 5% 0%

0% Observation Data


Teacher actively engages students in the discussion of their topic prior to writing and provides necessary scaffolding (e.g., use of graphic organizer, use of model [effective leads, varying word choice, etc.], turn and talk, or think/pair/share for verbal rehearsal) 70%

63%

60%

50% 40%

Yes No Not Observed

33%

30% 20% 10%

4%

0% Observation Data


The teacher links the today’s learning what writers will do during the writing time asking “how many of you will do this today,” “turn and talk to your partner, tell them how you will use this today,” etc. 90% 79%

80% 70% 60%

Yes No Not Observed

50%

40% 30% 20% 10%

13%

8%

0% Observation Data


The students spend the majority of the time actually writing

60% 48%

50% 39%

40%

Yes No Not Observed

30% 20%

13%

10%

0% Observation Data


The teacher uses observation of student work for a mid-way teaching point (highlight a particular example of good work, steer children around a peer problem, use partners to discuss a particular point raised) 90% 79%

80% 70% 60%

Yes No Not Observed

50%

40% 30% 17%

20% 10%

4%

0% Observation Data


The workshop ends with a whole group share and reflection on the learning (highlighting examples of student work today)

90% 79%

80% 70% 60%

Yes No Not Observed

50%

40% 30% 20% 10%

8%

13%

0% Observation Data


Students use word wall, personal word journal, and/or word study notebook to correct spelling and use previously taught words in their writing (as part of the revision process) 80% 67%

70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20%

21% 13%

10%

0% Observation Data

Yes No Not Observed


Blended focus on content (voice, word choice, sentence fluency, focus, organization, and content) and conventions reflects students’ demonstrated needs and grade level expectations 50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%

46%

29%

25%

Observation Data

Yes No Not Observed


Students develop vocabulary/grammar as a result of the writing lesson

70% 58%

60%

50% 40% 30% 20%

Yes No Not Observed

29% 13%

10%

0% Observation Data


Students use taught skill in their writer’s notebook (using in a new piece, identifying correct usage in previous writing, or revisiting previous writing to add or revise) 60% 50%

48%

40% 30%

29% 24%

20% 10%

0% Observation Data

Yes No Not Observed


Graphic organizers are consistent with grade level team members and instruction support teachers (LS, RS, etc.)

60%

54%

50% 40%

33%

Yes No Not Observed

30% 20%

13%

10%

0% Observation Data


Identified Strengths • Use of Mini-lesson with models/mentor texts • Expectations matched to curriculum • Connection to prior learning • Students writing for authentic purpose


Suggested PD • The architecture of an effective minilesson, as there is currently not enough modeling of the learning • How to communicate objectives, purpose, and assessment of learning (briskly) at the start of the learning • How to name and model the learning • Increase the use of “I do, we do, you do” model of learning


Suggested PD • Increase turn and talk about the learning objective in the lesson • Strengthen the link between the minilesson and student work during the workshop by helping teachers set students on an appropriate course of study, and supporting those not ready for workshop in that lesson • Increase the amount of time students are expected to write


Suggested PD • Shift language of instruction away from “improving writing” or “making writing better” to “making writing more interesting, clear, or stronger for the reader.” The former implies that writing is bad or better, while the latter suggests clarity and interest improvements


Suggested PD • Vocabulary development should be an essential, yet brief, part of every read aloud and writing mini-lesson • Content, organization, style, focus, & conventions should be integrated and not isolated in instruction • Kidwriting is not craft writing, but rather a strategy for developing emergent writing • The 5 paragraph essay is a tool/strategy, not an objective for writing outcomes


Suggested PD • The writers notebook should be the main source where students practice taught writing skills • Word walls, personal word lists, dictionaries (dictionary.com) and/or word study notebooks should be utilized for holding students accountable for accurate spelling of appropriate words


Next Steps • Provide Building Leadership Teams PD in July 2013 • Building Leadership Teams provide turn around PD to staff August/Ongoing 13-14 • Learning Walk October and January to assess PD outcomes • Provide grade level student writing checklists (to avoid redundancy) • Common Editing Posters K-12


FC Writing Baseline Learning Walk