1. The conventions of the Kentucky Writing Scoring Rubric are grammar and usage, word choice, correctness, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviation and documentation. What I would do to teach grammar and usage would be to use Don and Jenny Kilgallon’s book called Sentence Composing for the middle school, which stresses how to combine sentences. It is a somewhat nontraditional approach to grammar but a way to teach it that might actually improve their writing skills. An example of this approach with quizzes to match can be found at http://grammar.ccc. commnet. edu/GRAMMAR/combining_skills. htm.
2. Dear Parents, For this year’s writing assignments, we are going to use an approach called 6-Trait Writing. Best practices in writing show that a positive atmosphere, organization, meaningful writing, a connection between reading and writing, collaboration, and mini-lessons are all important. We will be utilizing all these things to the best of our abilities. 6-Trait Writing is a very structured way to approach writing where data can be collected.
This means that you will clearly be able to see where your students is having difficulty as well as where they are proficient. The six traits are ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. These six traits will help your child know exactly what to do to improve his/her own writing. It is incredibly important to use and evaluate by these terms in order to give students a common vocabulary in order to talk about writing. Basically, the six traits are the most important skills to have or be able to use. Ideas means the information your child is writing about or the message.
Organization means the way the writing flows and whether it is logical. Voice means the way your child’s personality comes across in his/her writing. Word choice means the use of colorful language to get the point across. Sentence fluency means the rhythm or flow of the language. Conventions refers to the grammar or correctness of the writing. We will be working on informative writing this year, and all of these qualities will be both taught and assessed. Students will be researching and writing about an endangered animal of his/her choice.
Be assured that all of the conventions from the Kentucky Writing Scoring Rubric will be covered thoroughly, which will help your students perform well on standardized testing. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all about 6-Trait Writing or the informative essay we will write in this class. I am more than happy to receive parent input as well. I look forward to a successful and productive year. 3. As for teaching spelling, I would use a vocabulary book such as The Reading Teacher’s Word a Day by Edward B. Fry.
This approach to both vocabulary and spelling uses root words in order to teach a variety of words each week that hinge from one root word. I would use this rather than a random list of vocabulary or spelling words. Students will learn better when the information is centered around something. This technique will also provide them with decoding skills when they come to unfamiliar words. Beyond the exercises in this book, I would use simple spelling games, such as Spelling Scramble. In this game the teacher makes up five sets of letters and divides the team into five teams.
The teacher pronounces a word and the team members must figure out how to spell it giving each student a letter. They must then get up and put themselves into the correct order to spell this word. Once they have it, they will repeat the correct spelling back to the teacher. A technique like this follows brain research which shows that we learn better when there are actions to perform as well as visual or auditory learning. Another technique that I like is to use voice recording software on the computer to record the correct spelling of each word and then be able to listen to your own voice spelling the words.
This provides reinforcement because students can use it as a review tool spelling along with their own voice spelling the word. Teachers can also use images with tracing paper over the top. Students trace a picture by writing their selected words a specified number of times. When they are done, they have a really cool piece of word art that they have created. This could be done on a word wall as well, but keeping it in a notebook provides another graphic way that students can study. I would take it one step further as to assess both spelling and what the word means, treating it as a vocabulary word as well.
If students can’t spell a word, they may be more hesitant to use it in writing. If they don’t know what a word means, they will certainly not use it in their writing, whether they can spell it or not. I would work on spelling lessons for 10 minutes each day and assess every Friday. The most important part is to use a variety of instructional strategies in order to ensure that students learn the words. Sentence Combining Skills. http://grammar. ccc. commnet. edu/GRAMMAR/combining_skills. htm