Our Writing Journey
At Elwin, we have an ambitious school-wide goal: All Elwin students will achieve excellent grade-level writing proficiency. Here is the story of how we plan to meet this goal.
We began our year with a “Writing Bootcamp” in which all students and teachers participated. Utilizing “Write from the Beginning and Beyond”, a research-based program aligned with Thinking Maps, all students completed a pre-assessment, 8 weeks of modeled narrative writing, and then a post assessment. Although the gains were great, we did not stop there. We decided to continue the “Bootcamp” pace of one narrative week per week throughout the school year.
In November, we added informational writing to our Writing Plan. Since it is our third year using Thinking Maps, we decided to focus on talking and writing off the map using informational text. Teachers in all grade levels observed one or more of the TOTS (Thinking Maps Trainer of Trainers) teaching a writing off the map lesson and then set off in grade levels to plan.
Starting off the new year, teachers created grade-level writing plans that include both narrative and informational writing with a focus on writing to two sources (grades 3 and up). In teams, they analyzed text structure, aligned text structure/s with Thinking Maps, paired texts, and developed essential questions. Now we are truly writing across the curriculum!
Using student evidence to drive our instruction, we continue to try to improve our own understanding as well as student achievement. During CMT, we engage in vertical teaming, grade-level collaboration, and staff development focused on Writing. It is exciting to see what our Elwin students- and teachers- can do!