TeachME Professional Development

Effective Writing Strategies for Secondary Students

1. According to the expert panel, effective writing is a vital component of students' literacy achievement, and writing is a critical communication tool for students to convey thoughts and opinions, describe ideas and events, and:

A. Enhance reasoning and organizational skills

B. Encourage creativity

C. Analyze information

D. Support reflection and research


Overarching Themes

2. Two prominent themes when delivering effective writing instruction are that writing encourages critical thinking and writing occurs in every discipline.

A. True

B. False


Table 1. Recommendations and Corresponding Levels of Evidence

3. Strong empirical evidence suggests that assessments of student writing should regularly be used to inform instruction and feedback.

A. True

B. False


Recommendation 1

4. When writing strategies are taught through a model-practice-reflect instructional strategy, students learn to select a strategy, how to execute each step of the strategy and how to:

A. Apply the strategy when writing for different audiences and purposes

B. Observe a strategy in use by others and practice the strategy on their own

C. Evaluate their writing and the use of the strategy

D. All of the above


Recommendation 1a- Explicitly Teach Appropriate Writing Strategies

5. Teaching cognitive strategies to secondary students is recommended to improve students' writing and encourage strategic thinking.

A. True

B. False


6. Writing strategy instruction should be based on skill level, and when working with struggling students or students who are new to a particular strategy, teachers should begin by presenting a basic version of the strategy.

A. True

B. False


EXAMPLE 1.2a

7. The STOP writing strategy, used in the persuasive genre, includes suspending judgment and brainstorming ideas for and against the topic, taking a side on the topic, organizing ideas, and:

A. Paying close attention to specifics of the assignment

B. Prioritizing ways to gain the reader's attention

C. Planning more as writing occurs

D. Providing details without apprehension


Instruct Students on How to Choose and Apply Strategies Appropriate for the Audience and Purpose

8. Which of the following is NOT one of the likely questions students would ask themselves when selecting strategies for particular audiences and purposes?

A. What goals do I need to set and accomplish to write for this audience or purpose?

B. What writing strategies do I know work well when writing for this audience or purpose?

C. What do I know about this assignment that would help inform my strategy selection?

D. What supportive details, examples, and elaborations can I use to support this strategy?


Recommendation 1b-Use a Model-Practice-Reflect Instructional Cycle to Teach Writing Strategies

9. Reflection is a critical tool of writing practice, as it provides students with opportunities to internalize important features of writing or think about how to apply learned skills and strategies effectively in new situations.

A. True

B. False


10. Although peers can serve as models of effective writing strategies during small-group activities, peer modeling is not recommended during whole-class instruction.

A. True

B. False


11. As students master writing strategies and skills for the components of the writing process, teachers should gradually lessen their modeling to give students more opportunities to execute strategies on their own.

A. True

B. False


Engage Students in Evaluating and Reflecting Upon Their Own and Peers' Writing and Use of Modeled Strategies

12. When students evaluate their own and peers' writing, they should assess whether the piece incorporates the writer's voice, which includes tone, style, and:

A. Mood

B. Inventions

C. Cognitions

D. Artistry


EXAMPLE 1.13-Using Rubrics to Evaluate Writing

13. Rubrics can be used by students to evaluate specific components of writing such as point of view, whether different perspectives were presented when appropriate, if there is a clear and thoughtful conclusion, and if any issues of style are presented.

A. True

B. False


Potential Obstacles to Implementing Recommendation 1 and the Panel's Advice

14. When students are struggling to implement writing strategies, additional steps and goals that will clarify instruction should be added to the process.

A. True

B. False


15. In order to help students feel comfortable reflecting on their own work, the panel recommends gradually transitioning the responsibility to them, creating a safe and supportive environment, and:

A. Having students grade their writing using a pre-determined scale

B. Encouraging students to initially practice reflection with a partner

C. Giving them multiple opportunities to reflect the same piece of writing

D. None of the above


Recommendation 2

16. Reading exemplar texts, which are examples that clearly illustrate specific features of effective writing, familiarize students with important writing features which they can then emulate.

A. True

B. False


How to Carry Out the Recommendation

17. One way that students can respond to something they have read is to use tools to structure their thinking and writing as well as to focus on key features, known as:

A. Shared knowledge models

B. Cognitive-strategy sentence starters

C. Think aloud word processing instruments

D. Experimental plot diagrams


Example 2.5

18. Key elements of exemplers for argumentative texts include qualities or characteristics that are listed or arranged in a particular order as well as concrete details.

A. True

B. False


19. When using exemplers, those with diverse writing quality should be included so that students can distinguish the features of good exemplars from average and poor exemplars across text types.

A. True

B. False


20. Critical components of text types may vary or may be more or less prominent based on the purpose, audience, and writing:

A. Form

B. Organization

C. Processes

D. Conventions


Potential Obstacles to Implementing Recommendation 2 and the Panel's Advice

21. Teachers in other disciplines can combine writing with reading to accomplish specific goals such as learning, remembering, and critical thinking or to extend and reflect on their learning.

A. True

B. False


Recommendation 3

22. The formative assessment cycle, in which teachers repeatedly assess students' skills and adapt instruction accordingly until the targeted learning goals are achieved, includes each of the following EXCEPT:

A. Identification of objectives, goals, and standards

B. Targeted instruction to achieve goals

C. Projects or performance to identify strengths and weaknesses

D. Assessment, data analysis, and targeted feedback


How to Carry Out the Recommendation

23. Short writing assignments designed to assess student skills or understanding, referred to as on-demand writing prompts, can be effectively used to determine students' strengths and needs before beginning a new lesson.

A. True

B. False


Analyze Student Writing to Tailor Instruction and Target Feedback

24. If writing assessments show that the whole class needs additional instruction on a topic, the panel recommends presenting the material again in the same way before attempting a new and unfamiliar strategy.

A. True

B. False


Regularly Monitor Students' Progress While Teaching Writing Strategies and Skills

25. The frequency of monitoring writing gains will depend on students' progress and the learning goals, and requires balancing the need for information with the burden on teachers and students.

A. True

B. False


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