Fregeau and Robert D. Accomplishing these goals is a challenge for teachers who are typically not prepared in how to accommodate English Language Learners ELLs in assessment or instruction. Many ELLs are now mainstreamed into regular classrooms.
This Access Center resource is intended to help teachers implement writing instruction that will lead to better writing outcomes for students with and without writing difficulties. We provide research-based recommendations, activities, and materials to effectively teach writing to the wide range of students educators often find in their classrooms.
There are three apparent reasons why so many children and youth find writing challenging. First, composing text is a complex and difficult undertaking that requires the deployment and coordination of multiple affective, cognitive, linguistic, and physical operations to accomplish goals associated with genre-specific conventions, audience needs, and an author's communicative purposes.
Second, the profile of the typical classroom in the United States has undergone dramatic changes in the recent past. This increasing diversity of the school-aged population has occurred within the context of the standards-based education movement and its accompanying high-stakes accountability testing.
As a consequence, more demands for higher levels of writing performance and for demonstration of content mastery through writing are being made of students and their teachers, while teachers are simultaneously facing a higher proportion of students who struggle not only with composing, but also with basic writing skills.
In some classrooms, writing instruction focuses almost exclusively on text transcription skills, such as handwriting and spelling, with few opportunities to compose meaningful, authentic text e.
In other classrooms, frequent and varied opportunities exist to use the writing process to complete personally relevant and engaging writing tasks, but little time is devoted to teaching important writing skills and strategies, as it is assumed these can be mastered through incidental teaching and learning e.
Still in other classrooms, virtually no time is devoted to writing instruction or writing activities e. In perhaps a minority of classrooms, students are taught by exemplary educators who blend process-embedded skill and strategy instruction with writing workshop elements such as mini-lessons, sustained writing, conferencing, and sharing e.
Yet, for students with disabilities who tend to develop or exhibit chronic and pernicious writing difficulties, even this type of instruction may be inadequate.
The box below presents several areas of difficulty for students with writing problems.
Less awareness of what constitutes good writing and how to produce it; Restricted knowledge about genre-specific text structures e. Skill difficulties Often do not plan before or during writing; Exhibit poor text transcription e. Motivation difficulties Students with writing problems: Often do not develop writing goals and subgoals or flexibly alter them to meet audience, task, and personal demands; Fail to balance performance goals, which relate to documenting performance and achieving success, and mastery goals, which relate to acquiring competence; Exhibit maladaptive attributions by attributing academic success to external and uncontrollable factors such as task ease or teacher assistance, but academic failure to internal yet uncontrollable factors such as limited aptitude; Have negative self efficacy competency beliefs; Lack persistence; and Feel helpless and poorly motivated due to repeated failure.
Four core components of effective writing instruction constitute the foundation of any good writing program: Students should have meaningful writing experiences and be assigned authentic writing tasks that promote personal and collective expression, reflection, inquiry, discovery, and social change.
Routines should permit students to become comfortable with the writing process and move through the process over a sustained period of time at their own rate.
Lessons should be designed to help students master craft elements e.
A common language for shared expectations and feedback regarding writing quality might include the use of traits e.
The illustration below provides a graphic representation of the core components of effective writing instruction. Putting the pieces together:My ESL Writing Grading Rubric My solution to ensure fair grading and also appear this way to my students is to use this ESL Writing Grading Rubric, even though within reading the first couple sentences of a 5-paragraph, word essay, I usually know what grade the student will get, especially if terrible, or excellent.
ELL Assessments are designed for tracking students' language skills progress at key points in the school year. Assessments at all grade ranges give teachers in-depth information about students' language development across the domains of speaking, writing, reading, and listening.
Using Classroom Assessment Techniques. Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are a set of specific activities that instructors can use to quickly gauge students’ comprehension.
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