6 +1 Traits of writing

Discussion in 'General Education' started by rachaelski, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Aug 7, 2009

    Hey everyone! I recently learned that my new school uses the 6 +1 traits of writing. The school has a "curriculum," and in theory by the time I see the kids they have studied and used all the traits of writing and should be able to use all 6 +1 traits while writing. However, when hired, I was told their writing is the weakest link at the school.

    I have never used the 6 +1 traits. I am currently reading a 6 +1 traits book by Ruth Culham.

    Any advice, nuggets of knowledge, gripes, or praises about 6 + 1?
    :thanks:
     
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  3. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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  5. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I've used it with 5th grade for the past few years, and I love it. I spend more time on the ideas and organization traits, as my kids are still learning to write longer pieces. I also work on conventions year-round. By middle school, if they have been using the program all throughout elementary, you might be able to give more time to the stylistic traits.
     
  6. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Our MS uses 6+ traits, the elementary is incorporating it and supposedly the HS is going to also. I like it - helps focus kids on specific areas of their writing. Splitting it all out helps them focus on what they need the most help with - helps them see exactly what makes a particular piece reach out and grab them and then they can incorporate that into their writing. I was fortunate to attend a 6 traits class presented by Jeff Anderson. I think that what I learned there plus what I'm learning from his Mechanically Inclined book may just be the ticket to improving the writing skills of my 8th graders this year.
     
  7. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Aug 9, 2009

    I find the 6+1 to be very helpful. It really gives clear direction on how to teach what makes writing good, ok, or blah. The only thing I don't like (and maybe this has been changed) is that we are supposed to evlauate all writing on the same scale regardless WHO is writing. I don't think this is fair. Mark Twain and a 3rd grader should not be rated on the same scale. I kind of make up my own scale for what I think 5th graders should be able to do and go from there. There are so many great resources out there to help you that 6+1 has really become it's own industry. You can find all sorts of books and online resources, so it shouldn't be too hard to find what you need.
     
  8. flyingmickey

    flyingmickey Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2009

    I used it in my grade 3 class and they loved writing workshop.

    Don't try to assess everything. Often my kids would spend a day on something and then move on to something else without finishing the first. I was okay with that since we all know how hard it can be to plow through something we don't like and the object is to have them write.

    I would tell them when I wanted a piece and they could hand in anything. I would go through it in detail and respond in writing. Most of the time I would work with them during writing workshop instead of formal assessment.

    I plan on using it again this year. I have a half day workshop on it in a few weeks.
     
  9. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    So how did you teach the different types of writing (expository, persuasive, narrative, etc.)? Or did you? That may be a bit beyond 3rd graders. It sounds like something I could do with my 6ths. I want to try more of a workshop approach this year, but I don't have a clue what it will look like. The first few weeks is review of skills anyway, so I have a little bit of time to figure things out.
     
  10. flyingmickey

    flyingmickey Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2009

    I didn't teach the different types of writing.

    I did writing workshop two mornings a week - I was doing a job share and writing was the main section of LA curriculum that I taught. We started with DOL, then I taught a lesson on whatever and they wrote. The last 20 minutes were for sharing. The whole workshop was about 1.5 hour.


    There is a workbook called Write Traits that you could use for your lessons. I subbed in a grade 6 class that used them and it was good. I will be buying a copy when I get my next class.
     
  11. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Aug 10, 2009

    A lesson in teaching persausive writing using VOICE/5th grade (one of the 6+1 traits of writing):

    This lesson also included the information they were learning in their social studies class regading European explorers.

    I found writings by Columbus, a shipmate, and a young Native American girl in the book Morning Girl by Micheal Dorris. In each, the three descibe the same scene... the landing of Columbus and the greeting by the Native Americans.

    I had a male teacher dress up (some-what) as Columbus, a male student wear a sailor's hat, and a female student wear a ring of flowers in her hair. Each stood before the class and read their "character's" writings (the male teacher did such an incredible job with a faked accent and a hoity-toity aire about him...it got the two students into the mood to really use express in THEIR parts as well).

    Afterwards ... the QUICK assignment was to BE one of the characters. If you choose Columbus... be Columbus writing a letter to an explorer friend inviting him to come share in the riches of the new land. If you choose the shipmate... be the shipmate writing to a captain about wanting to get a job on a different ship (tell why he qualifies to be a good "employee") If you choose Morning Girl... be Morning Girl writing to her grandmother and asking her to come visit and meet the new visitors.

    I made it clear that they could choose ANY character they wanted. (Meaning-don't be limited by gender)

    This lesson/activity went over VERY well. The writings were outstanding...and they truly got into BOTH voice AND the art of persausive writing.
     
  12. ahsila

    ahsila Companion

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    Aug 10, 2009

    The most effective way I have found is to tell the kids to remember narrative is like a TV show - sometimes it's funny, sometimes sad, sometimes you like it, sometimes you don't, but it's always supposed to be entertaining; persuasive is like TV commercials - even when it doesn't work, the purpose is still to get you to take some kind of action (buy this, vote for them, start doing that); expository is like the news on TV - not very entertaining, but very informative; technical (we have to know technical text also) is like a show that teaches - cooking show, DIY home improvement shows...

    I have found that my kids do much better connecting the types to something they are pretty familiar with. When I try to tell them without the TV analogy they always seem to get confused, but connecting it to TV really gives them something concrete to tie it to. When we write, I do the same thing: "Today we are starting to write our expository text about _____. Just so I'm sure everyone knows, somebody tell me what expository writing is... ... ... That's right, it's like we're writing for a TV news show."
     
  13. McKennaL

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    I like that.
     
  14. foxteach1

    foxteach1 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2009

    When I taught 3rd grade in the Chicago suburbs, the three styles you mentioned were taught for the first time at our level. Not beyond them at all. I think no matter what age, but especially 3rd-up, you can help them to lay out a form and purpose for their writing. I used to tap into something they were interested in arguing about and write a persuasive outline as a class first, and then let them create their own 5-paragraph essays from there.
     
  15. foxteach1

    foxteach1 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2009


    Great idea! My mom used to do something similar with her HS English students, so it can be applied to many different levels.
     
  16. hawkteacher

    hawkteacher Comrade

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    Aug 10, 2009

    I love the idea of relating the different types of writing to TV - I bet it really helps them to get it! Definitely using that this year!
     
  17. Fairborn

    Fairborn Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2009

    I taught all types of styles last year in fifth grade. If you spell out the concept, model it with an essay of your own, hone in on a few key helping tidbits..my kids picked it up pretty well. I used a lot of The Writing Approach for help; it wasn't their text.
     

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