Students should have a voice in the writing process. Building students’ writing toolkits and then inviting them into the writing process by asking them to make decisions about how to approach a writing task is one way to do that. In this article, we discuss one way to use gradual release to build student agency in the writing process.
Four years ago, the IFL along with the LRDC and CUE partnered with the Dallas Independent School District to improve literacy instruction at fourteen of the district’s highest needs schools. As the network enters its fifth year, we look back on teachers’ successes.
In the time of COVID, so many are worried about learning loss, and because of this concern, assessments quantifying this learning loss are on the rise. The intent is to help bring students back on track, but this response has large negative effects on teaching and learning. Now is the time to give your students’ assessment load a large downsizing.
Despite best intentions, test writing sometimes ends up being the formula that students never have to break. In this article, I advocate for teachers to teach test writing as a genre, inviting students to develop knowledge around the features, purpose, and audience of the writing required on standardized tests.
Comprehension work is critical work when we engage students with a text. Understanding and enacting the steps for planning a high-level comprehension task will help teachers provide students instructional opportunities that set every student up for success.
Teachers can use writing routines to support student writers by creating a sort of conversation between the student writer and the text. This article examines how a set of well sequenced student routines allows students to use writing to express what they know in connection with what they learn from the text.
Teachers have found great success using landing pages to organize learning for students across one text or across multiple texts in a unit. A landing page is a page on a website where students “land” to do their work or engage in a task. Landing pages, much like task sheets, provide students with both the why and the what of an instructional task. They support more equitable access to instructional activities by making expectations clear and providing step-by-step guidance for students as they engage in learning.
When we are working with teachers on their curriculum, we often find ourselves having to reinforce the idea that it’s important to do the tasks that we’d like our students to do. This is sometimes called dogfooding—it’s slang in the corporate world for testing your own product to work out the kinks.