I teach the traits to my first graders. I start off with
ideas by using the song, and explaining the concept. We
discuss how to come up with an idea, a writers notebook,
adding details, keeping the topic small, etc. Lucy Calkins
does a good job with this and there are many resources by
Ruth Culham available. After a few weeks, I move to
organization. Again I introduce the song and start off by
explaining. I use many picture books to highlight different
ways authors organize their writing. We make our own books
based on these mentor texts. For example, after reading
alphabet books we choose the topic and create an alphabet
book. Or we might write like Eric Carle in Brown Bear (only
the content changes, not pattern). I spend a long time with
organization because we discuss sequencing and move into
using first, next, then, etc. I usually go to word choice
next, again starting with song. As I read books we listen
for great or sparkle words, make lists, learn to use a
classroom thesaurus, etc. We then move on to voice, sentence
fluency, conventions. I teach each one separately and use
rubic, but as the year progresses I expect kids to
incorporate each trait as they are learning new ones. By the
end of the year most students can explain each trait, know
the songs, and use the kid rubric to help themselves improve
their writing. Google six traits and buy books by Ruth
Culham. You will love using the traits to improve writing
and analyzing books!
On 7/29/09, ElemTeacher wrote:
> I really need some direction in how to teach the 6+1 Writing
> Traits. Last year was my first year in Language Arts and we
> adopted a new reading series that supports the traits.
> There was no formal plan for teaching writing prior to this;
> every teacher did his/her own thing. Although we went to a
> workshop on the traits, it didn't help much.
> We use the Harcourt reading series and I'm going through the
> first two themes trying to plan my writing instruction. The
> traits are broken down and taught individually, it seems.
> Two chapters are devoted to each trait...in the order of
> voice, word choice, ideas, organization, etc.
> Are the traits supposed to be taught separately?
> One of my colleagues said that they should be taught
> altogether, as part of the writing process. She seems to
> simply point out, "This is what we mean by ideas" during the
> pre-writing stage, etc. I actually tried this during
> writer's workshop and didn't like it. It was as though I
> just glossed over the traits without really exploring it
> with the children.
> I'm really confused and I want to do well with this. How do
> you teach the 6+1 writing traits? (I teach 4th grade)
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