By Jiali Wang
On July 1st, 2020, Dr. Troy Hicks facilitated a webinar on purposeful arcs of writing instruction and what they look like in his classroom. This blog offers a recap of that two-hour event. For those interested in access to a replay of this webinar, click here.
What are arcs of instruction?
Arcs of instruction consider writing tasks in the context of larger unit or curricular movements towards writing proficiency. Hicks asks teacher to consider what types of writers they want to mold at the end of multi-day, writing-centric unit:
By Jiali Wang and Jacob Steiss
In this study, Dr. Barbara Sarnecka and colleagues examine the impact of writing workshops on graduate students' writing quality, writing practices, and overall well-being.
When speaking about the National Writing Project, Dr. Sheridan Blau stated that
This model of teacher professional learning sparked a movement that is still growing strong today. More than 200 Writing Project sites can be found across the United States, and these sites continue to use a teachers-teaching-teachers model to build community, capacity, and passion for writing instruction. In this blog, I will highlight the teacher professional learning opportunities and the youth programming offered by one of those sites - the UC Irvine Writing Project (UCIWP).
By Jacob Steiss and Jiali Wang
Students use varied and complex literacy skills to solve problems and communicate their thinking in science, history, and English Language Arts. To support students’ continued development in these areas, teachers need to build students’ literacy skills toward discipline-specific ways of reading and writing. In this blog, we respond to the following questions:
What is disciplinary literacy?
The UC Irvine History Project (UCIHP) strives to help teachers integrate primary sources into classroom so that students can engage with texts like historians. Students will not learn by memorization; instead, they acquire historical thinking and strategies to think through and analyze texts. View the video below for an overview about what UCIHP's professional development is about and in what ways it supports history/social science teachers.
By Jazmin Cruz
In our past blog, Who is [and who is not] in the curriculum?, we highlighted actionable steps we as educators may take to critically examine who is [and is not] represented in our texts and curriculum. We also offered suggestions on how to conduct a book audit and why diverse perspectives are crucial.
In this blog, we extend this work by providing book suggestions that include diverse literature and multicultural, BIPOC in school curricula. The following list was curated by educator and Advisory Board member, Carol Jago.
Guest Blogger: Jeremy Hyler, Michigan Middle School English Teacher
“At its core, multigenre means letting go—letting writers decide”
- Penny Kittle, Write Beside Them
Yes, it is true, I dislike the term “research paper". Since I was an undergrad, it brings nothing but anxiety to me, personally. For my middle school students, it can be downright terrifying, causing negative thoughts about the process of writing a research paper. However, in my experience, if we reimagine the terminology and use “research project,” it is less likely to raise levels of discomfort in my middle school students. On the other hand, as educators, we can’t just change the wording of something we do in our classrooms and expect a magic fix. In this blog, I describe the multigenre research project, and I provide tips for engaging in these projects through distance learning.
By Jacob Steiss
In our last blog, we highlighted research by Antero Garcia and his colleagues that analyzed thousands of letters written by secondary students to the next president of the United States. The corpus of letters showed the capacity of students to use their literacy skills to advocate for social and political changes they see as significant. We believe their research demonstrates a way to engage students in civic writing today, though educators will have to be flexible and responsive to their own students’ interests, cultural backgrounds, and writing skills. In this blog, we share considerations and guidelines for engaging in civic writing in your own classroom.
By Jacob Steiss
In this two-part blog, we will highlight the work of Dr. Antero Garcia and his colleagues, with help from The National Writing Project (@WritingProject) and KQED (@KQEDedspace). The project analyzed letters written by over 11,000 students from over 300 schools and 47 states. These letters were written to the future 2016 president, who had not been elected yet.
In examining students' compositions, they found that adolescents are engaged and eager to speak out on civic issues that impact their communities, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform. Though written as a classroom activity, the writing also represents and sustains civic identities of youth engaging in activism that addresses government leaders.
"Students wrote alongside and in solidarity
with ongoing civil rights movements"
We see this research as particularly important for writing researchers, teachers, and school leaders as it describes the civic concerns and interests of adolescents and outlines a meaningful and authentic writing task educators may implement in their classrooms.
The project also highlights ways that teachers may focus their instruction to support students' crucial thinking and argumentative writing skills. In part one of this blog (here), we will discuss what researchers learned from studying these letters to the next president.
By Jacob Steiss, MEd, and Tamara Tate PhD/JD