To effectively meet the writing demands placed on the middle school students where I am a literacy coach and to help them meet the expectations of the CCSS, content teachers are recognizing a need to develop their curriculum to include write-to-learn procedures. Write-to-learn activities in content area classes build the content knowledge and the stamina for more sustained discipline-specific writing.
I am collaborating with a sixth grade science teacher to assess students’ science knowledge while also measuring their growth in writing stamina and correct word sequence development. The results of these short on-demand writing assessments are powerful for both the science teacher and the direction she will go with her science instruction. In addition, as a literacy coach, the information I get from these writing samples about the writing development of these same students helps me guide my literacy coaching for the teachers at this level.
These content/literacy assessments have given us information about students’ writing that can then be shared with the sixth grade ELA teachers of these same students. This allows the instruction in ELA classes to inform the teachers’ instruction based on the data but assessed for writing skills and stamina.
The collaborative effort of the content teachers and literacy coach has provided us with real data that can be used to guide further instruction in writing and learning.