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Transcript of MRA 2013
Ryan Fritz, Social Studies
Bryan Lynch, Mathematics
Marty Weese, Science
Data Collection and Analysis
Strategies in Chemistry
Faced with teaching the literacy strand of the Common Core, we knew we needed to begin to teach writing in all content areas, but were not sure where to start.
decided to add 'more' writing
discussed what 'more' looks like
discovered it varied
zero to 'some' was 'more'
weekly was more
extended writing was more
agreed to have all students write for an extended period of time at least every other week (added weekly later)
Knowing we would be working with roughly 300 students, we knew we needed to narrow our data pool. Each of us
selected three 'top' students to monitor
selected three 'bottom' students to monitor
obtained permissions from student and parent
after each writing assignment, made copies of student work
recorded type of writing
counted and recorded number of lines AND number of words written
entered data on spread sheet
met monthly to discuss strategies and analyze results
Of course, we aren't finished yet, so findings are preliminary. What we did learn is this:
student writing wasn't always longer than the previous time
stamina DID improve
a common language between core teachers made a difference
when teachers write with their students, students write with less reluctance
attitudes towards writing improved
One of the strategies used in Chemistry was to demonstrate their knowledge of the 5 types of chemical reactions.
students conducted research
participated in whole class demonstrations
held small group conversations
participated in teacher-led discussions
Two writing assignments followed:
Strategies in Mathematics
A CCSS Writing Collaboration
Strategies in Economics
Strategies in English
Lane, Barry. 51 Wacky We-Search Reports: Face the Facts With Fun. Discover Writing Project: October 2003.
Daniels, Harvey, and Nancy Steineke. Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading: With More Than 75 Articles from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, [[#|Car and Driver]], Chicago Tribune, and Many Others. Heinemann: February 2011.
Zemelman, Steven et al eds. Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America's Classrooms. Heinemann: 2012.
Gallagher, Kelly. Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts. Stenhouse: 2011.
Prompted writing: Why is it so difficult to stand up for what is right?
Topic + strong verb
After listening to the song "Ohio" by Neil Young and reading background about Kent State, one student chose the following:
Role: TV news reporter
Audience: the public
Topic + strong verb: Kent State +urgent
Recipe for an Economy
Pre- & Post- Testing
students were given a test before and after introduction of a new concept
Writing To Learn
students were asked to write their understanding of the concept and to record areas that confused them
A Day in the Life of a Variable
extended writing time was given for short story writing to the prompt
Student Survey Results
After reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students wrote to the question "Why is it so difficult to stand up for what is right?
Students were asked to write a short story using an analogy to one of the five chemical reactions. They then shared stories in small groups and with the class.
Students were given a blank sheet of paper. They were to fold it into 6 or 8 squares, and draw a comic using an analogy pertaining to another chemical reaction. Comics were shared in small groups and with the class via document camera.
Students were asked to write a short story describing a day in the life of a variable. Doing so gave them an opportunity to personify a mathematical entity. Students shared stories with the class.
Writing to review:
After spending a couple of class periods on factors and types of economy, students were assigned the Barry Lane activity "Recipe Poem."
Other writing activities included writing into the day, take the side of the Presidential Candidate, and RAFTs.
Me: My lack of interest in writing assignments before this year/project/team.
Assignment: Create a "Recipe Poem" for any type of economy remember to include factors of production.
As a check for understanding, I had students explain how they have learned how to check their answers. They wrote on this, and gave examples if they were able to.
<-- Factors of production included, but this person had no stamina (or maybe willingness to write, as seen below.
This is the same student, three months later! (I asked her to re-do this assignment) It is obvious that this student not only understands the basics of an economy, but also has improved in her writing abilities.
From a grading standpoint, I found this very easy to grade/check for understanding. All of the important info. is right there. It's not a giant stack of paper work.
A future business owner.
Recently, students completed a survey about writing, 166 students responded.
Question 1: How do you feel about writing in the classroom?
- I enjoy it
- I don't mind it
- I don't like it
Question 2: Do you think writing helps you learn?
- Yes--I can clarify what I know when I write.
- Not sure--I just do it because the teacher asks me to.
- No--I don't remember anything.
Question 3: Do you think writing what you know shows the teacher what you've learned better than a test might?
-Yes--tests don't always ask the question that shows what I know
-Not sure--without the teacher's questions I don't know if I put down everything I'm supposed to have learned
-No--I'd rather study for a test than write what I know.
Question 4: Do you think the writing you've done in class so far this year has helped make you a better writer than you were last school year?
- Yes--I know I've gotten better at writing.
- Not sure--I can't remember what I was like as a writer before.
- No--I write the same now as I did last year.
Question 5: Do you think there is enough writing in the class you are taking this survey for, or should there be more?
- Not enough--I think we should write more.
- Yes--there is enough writing--I am becoming a better learner with the writing we are doing.
- Too much--I would prefer not to write at all.
This student actually wrote quite a bit, but lacks in some technical aspects...this is more than I expected from this student!
This student wrote less than I expected, but their writing is improving.
I really loved this student's writing, it was full of description and was fun.
Not sure what type of reaction this was...
Single Displacement Reaction
This writing of this student is extremely funny and very technically sound.
Single Displacement Reaction
This student's writing is up and down throughout the year. They write with good mechanics, but sometimes lacking detail and description.
This strategy was probably the best I could think of so far this year. It was fun for me, and the students really liked it and I think learned to identify what each reaction looked like.
Even though this comic lacked detail, the understanding of the reaction was demonstrated here!
The things that students come up with...this one was pretty funny!
This student misunderstood the directions and drew a comic for each reaction...so, based what is in this comic, I am not sure if they understand the before and after of each individual reaction.
Not much detail, but the pictures tell the story of the reaction analogy.
19 students 11%
116 students 68%
35 students 21%
95 students 57%
60 students 36%
13 students 8%
81 students 49%
62 students 37%
28 students 17%
98 students 58%
41 students 24%
29 students 17%
17 students 10%
127 students 75%
25 students 15%
At the start of the year, activities such as these resulted in short writing by one student; by the near-end of the year, the same student was able to write longer entries without prompting.