It has been an EPIC two years at Phoenix Elementary School,
but not for the reasons you may think.
Staff and students have been engaged in a whole-school initiative to implement instructional practices, resources, and structures to improve student achievement in writing. The EPIC framework has been the catalyst to drive professional learning, challenge notions of impactful practice, and raise levels of personal and collective responsibility.
Writing is an incredibly complex and challenging skill to learn and teach. Staff have worked intentionally to incorporate practices and structures integral to effective writing instruction and writing skills development.
|Practices and Structures||How we do it|
|Daily writing practice||Ensure writing occurs in other curricular areas while applying the skills gained from structured writing practice.|
|Teach the writing process||Use 6+1 Traits resources;Model and practice use of Traits language;Explicitly teach, model, guide and practice the writing processes.|
|Teach students to write for a variety of purposes and audiences||By writing across the curriculum, students have increased opportunity to write for different purposes and audiences.|
|Teach students to become fluent with printing, spelling, sentence construction, word processing and typing||Start early!! Focus on forming letters, phonological awareness, spelling phonics and morphological spelling. Employ adaptive technology where appropriate.|
|Frequent formative feedback||Use the 6+1 writing rubrics and frequent structured opportunities for student-student and student-teacher feedback. Foster a culture of goal setting, reflection and growth.|
|Create a community of writers||Teachers model and share their writing;Provide student choice of writing topics;Make use of collaborative writing projects.|
Where are we at?
Since September 2021, Phoenix Elementary has seen steady improvement in the overall writing performance of students. While current on-track performance is promising, 43% of students are in the approaching expectations performance level. There is still much work to do to ensure these students continue building upon their successes. Refining instructional practices, professional learning and monitoring student outcomes is the way forward.
- Students are becoming increasingly comfortable using the 6+1 traits language. This makes structured feedback cycles more efficient and allows students to respond to and integrate feedback.
- Collaborative writing projects and activities, such as the school newspaper, are commonplace and engage reluctant writers.
- Student writing is evident and visible throughout the school.
- Students are increasingly capable of conducting research and sharing what they know using expository text.
- Students are actively improving the quality of their writing through reflection and goal setting.
- Continue refining instructional methods to ensure the most effective levels of instruction, modelling, guidance, independent practice, and feedback is achieved for each student.
- At the primary level, ensure all staff have the foundational knowledge, training, and ability to teach students the skills to spell words correctly.
- At the primary and intermediate level, ensure all staff have the foundational knowledge and ability to teach students to construct sentences for fluency, meaning and style.
Submitted by Dan Sparanese, Principal Phoenix Elementary School
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