"But it is a long way to the Emerald City,
and it will take you many days.
The country here is rich and pleasant,
but you must pass through rough and
dangerous places before you reach
the end of your journey."
I have often felt a bit like Dorothy when teaching writing. As a social studies teacher, history is my thing and writing was something my students were supposed to learn somewhere else. I quickly learned I wasn't in Kansas anymore after reading the very first paragraph I asked my students to write. And so I embarked upon a journey to discover how to teach writing to middle school students.
Along the way, I have been trained in the Four Square Method, Step Up to Writing, and 6 + 1 Traits. And I have watched districts in our WNY region adopt various writing programs and assessment frameworks to improve student writing across content areas. Each time - we have discovered that there was something small about the wizard behind the curtain. None of these, alone, has helped to improve student writing.
So how do we teach "good writing?" In fact, what is good writing? I am hoping the participants in my workshops and those in the Web 2.0 will add to our learning and conversations as we travel the "rough and dangerous" places!!