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This Month’s Must Read: Is It Time To Go Back To Basics With Writing Instruction?


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This Month’s Must Read: Is It Time To Go Back To Basics With Writing Instruction?

Nicole Abesamis

We wanted to share with you this eye-opening article on how returning back to the basics of writing a simple sentence turned around high schoolers from struggling to successful writers and higher overall test scoring students.

Exposing the tough reality students of NYC public high school students face today, Katrina Schwartz for the insightful MindShift blog reports in depth with Nell Scharff Panero, director of the Center for Educational Leadership at Baruch College.

This article sheds light on the challenges students are facing with writing, discovering that their challenges stemmed from their lack of understanding of how to build and write a basic sentence.

Read on here to learn more about this writing revolution.

Quotes that stood out to us:

When teachers try taking instruction back to basics using what she calls ‘progressive mastery,’ they see big improvements in the quality of both thinking and writing, and that students can meet high school expectations when teachers slow down to show them how to write well.”

“Scanlon said it was difficult for his staff to acknowledge that pointing fingers at students wasn’t going to improve performance. Instead, the staff had to accept the reality of where their students were at and try something new and different for most high school teachers.”

“School administrators chose to implement writing across the curriculum because they began to see that many of the gaps in writing knowledge also pointed to fundamental abilities to express relationships. Using “so” correctly in a sentence, for example, indicates causality, an idea that’s just as important in math and science as it is in more writing-intensive disciplines like social studies and English.”

“Asking students to read longer and more challenging texts, and to write longer essays without first showing them in concrete ways how to build up to that level, defeats the purpose in her mind.”

“Ideally they should have learned this in elementary and junior high school,” said Lauren Salamone, who teaches sophomores Global History. “That’s your automatic reaction, but it’s not the reality.