Balanced Writing Instruction Framework

Writing has been a teaching labyrinth, with more questions than answers, for too long.  Luckily teachers have a new ally in teaching writing, Captain Write and his Super WritersCaptain Write and his trusty side kicks will help you in teaching writing to all students using The Pillars of Writing Instruction. They will assist you in keeping your students engaged and teach them strategies that will simplify complex writing skills and help them obtain SUPER WRITING POWERS!

Captain Write and The Super Writers has been developed to assist you and your students with arguably the most difficult content area to teach and learn. Hundreds of skills are used when writing. The skills needed in grammar, punctuation, and spelling alone are daunting; compounded with the skills needed in developing ideas, organizing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing; it’s an overwhelming task.

Furthermore, teachers are often lost in the balancing act of teaching students the essential skills for writing and having students actually write formal writing pieces.

Many times, teaching writing leaves teachers asking more questions than their students:

•• How do I teach my students important writing skills like grammar, punctuation,

and spelling and have those skills transfer over to actual student writing?

•• How do I teach the writing process and writing traits?

•• How do I conference with my students?

•• What do I conference with my students about?

•• When do I conference with my students?

•• How do I put all of this together?

When these questions remain unanswered teachers are left frustrated to the point that they stop teaching writing or simply have students write journals and call it writing instruction. If you’re one of the millions of teachers that are frustrated with teaching writing or you want to make writing more engaging for your students, you have just called on the write superhero!

Through years of trial and research student motivation, an effective structured writing lesson, the teaching of writing traits, moving through the writing process, and conferring with students strategically, have proven to be the essential components needed to teach writing effectively. Together they stand as pillars holding one structure; effective writing instruction. If one is weakened or left out, the whole structure may collapse. Captain Write is designed so that The Pillars of Writing Instruction are all implemented cohesively.

Motivating Young Writers

Captain Write and The Super Writers have been created to engage students with lessons based on the Pillars of Writing Instructions taught by fun characters in an ongoing story. Students go on missions through the writing process while fighting off despicable writing villains. Each writing trait has its evil boss that students need to defeat as Super Writer trainees. Students use their imagination as they move along their missions building their writing powers to take on evil writing villains. Your students will be deeply engaged using their imagination and without realizing that they are becoming proficient writers in all aspects of writing.

The Structure of a Writing Lesson

Teaching the concepts and skills necessary for students to write while giving students enough experience with writing is a challenging balancing act. It’s true that students need to be taught directly the skills in grammar, punctuation, and spelling in order to become proficient writers. Equally as true, students need to consistently write formal writing pieces to master writing skills. Also, we know that writing skills, when taught in isolation, do not transfer to actual student writing. Is it possible to integrate direct instruction with a holistic writing approach? Captain Write says, “It is not only possible, it is our duty!”

Captain Write and The Super Writers’ lessons blend teaching directly the skills of grammar, punctuation, spelling, voice, organization, and ideas with teaching writing holistically.  Modeled lessons, workshop, and sharing are the three components of every Captain write lesson which are integrated seamlessly. While students receive explicit instruction in the writing traits they also work through the writing process, implementing multiple skills simultaneously and working through their individual challenges in writing. Once an overwhelming task is now a clear and comprehensive approach thanks to Captain Write and his sidekicks.

The Writing Traits

Captain Write delivers instruction in the writing traits of ideas and content, organization, voice, and conventions. Word usage along with other critical skills is embedded in the trait of voice. Instruction in sentence fluency is also embedded in lessons on voice and conventions.

Connecting the Structure of a Lesson, the Writing Traits, and the Writing Process.  The steps in the writing process are well known and are pretty consistent throughout the different methods of instruction. Where Captain Write differs from others is that it has innovative practices that have simplified the process for teachers and students.

Additionally, this program has taken the writing process and has married it to the writing traits and effective components of a writing lesson. The simultaneous use of all three components is seamless. Teachers now navigate through writing instruction by delivering lessons on the different writing traits, conferencing with students strategically using three different types of conferencing, and all while students work through the writing process.

Diagnosing Planning Intervening

Teachers many times are like deer caught in front of headlights when looking at a student’s paper, “Where do I begin?” “There is so much wrong with this!” “There is something very wrong with this paper but I don’t know what!” These are some of the many issues teachers ponder when faced with the task of diagnosing a student’s paper. Captain Write provides practices that help teachers diagnose students’ writing strategically then in turn plan and intervene accordingly. Furthermore, Captain Write utilizes procedures that activate metacognition which ensure students are active participants in this process.

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