Strategies in writing a paragraph rubric

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Strategies in writing a paragraph rubric

Share In my previous post, There has got to be a better way to do this! How to start an Interdisciplinary PLCI explained how a group of teachers at Walla Walla High School joined forces to help their freshman students become better at writing with evidence.

Our first year as a Professional Learning Community PLC focused on identifying common language and high-impact strategies for teachers across disciplines. Here are some of our key findings: Use quotations to cite textual evidence in support of claims.

This was the highest-impact strategy for our students, although it is not without controversy. As a pre-assessment, our freshman students were tasked with reading grade-level material and making a claim in response to a question, supporting that claim with textual evidence.

The results caused us to change what we thought our work was going to be about. This was an eye-opener for me on just how important it is to discuss student work in a PLC.

Instead of gathering textual evidence, many of our students were simply writing their own ideas about the topic the text was about the importance of forensic evidence in court cases.

The writing was almost entirely student commentary instead of an argument paragraph. We decided we needed to teach our students how to identify evidence as well as provide more structure, scaffolds, and practice for this type of writing.

The practice of citing evidence using quotations is something will continue to use with most of our freshman and sophomore students, while transitioning our junior and senior level students toward more diverse methods of citing evidence. Employ common language and strategies across disciplines.

Our students may have six to seven different teachers each day, each with their own expectations. We wanted our students to save the space in their brains for progressing in their writing skills, not trying to remember which teacher wants them to cite paragraphs and which wants page numbers.

Through our discussions, we discovered many commonalities between our courses. That makes writing easier for students and instruction easier for teachers because there is reinforcement for students throughout the day. One of the common strategies we agreed on for citing quotations as evidence is called Li-C-Q-Px3.

Student Models. When you need an example written by a student, check out our vast collection of free student models. Scroll through the list, or search for a mode of writing . Reading this book has given me the confidence I needed to teach writing. The information is presented in a clear, concise, easy-to-follow format and offers a myriad of ways to adapt the author's suggestions to your unique teaching style and to your class(es). First off, let’s be good little behaviorists and determine what writing a paragraph means. No room for subjectivity here. Let’s get on the same page. Let’s say a paragraph needs to include on topic sentences, use correct grammar and spelling, and include a topic sentence and concluding sentence.

Not only did this emphasize for students the fact that they needed to use direct quotations for textual evidence, but it also provided a specific structure that supported some of our reluctant writers.

With this strategy, a student first identifies or makes a claim, and uses this format to embed their supporting evidence. Here is an exemplar for a short summary of a science text.


We frequently color-code our writing, particularly at the start of the year. This could be done with colored pencils for written work, but my students strongly prefer to type since it is much easier to edit.

The amount of evidence and commentary will vary depending on whether they are writing an argument paper in English or a summary of a science text, and often a second quotation, commentary, and a concluding statement will be included.

The PLC also developed rubrics and scaffolding templates for writing with evidence, but at the end of the school year we still had different versions for ELA, science, and social studies.

We had discussed the possibility before, but for a variety of reasons most of us including myself thought it was just NOT possible. After more thoughtful questioning, we eventually conceded that, okay, we could try and develop a common rubric, and it was, frankly, pretty easy.

This also led to the common student planning template and makes it a lot easier for us to share these strategies with other teachers across departments. This school year we will be able to use this rubric across disciplines for writing with evidence.

Purdue OWL // Purdue Writing Lab

When we look at student work in our PLC, it will be clear where we need to focus our general classroom instruction; we can identify which students need more targeted support, and we can work TOGETHER to provide those opportunities for instruction and practice throughout the day.

This is like a dream come true! A full size PDF version can be downloaded at the top of this post. This is our common rubric This might be a completely normal thing for you other teachers out there, but for us this was big time progress!

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Here is our common student planning template for a double-chunk paragraph, or one claim supported by two pieces of evidence. It took us science teachers about two months to realize that the word double-chunk was not referring to a cookie!

Use templates and tools that allow for scaffolding. We know that some students can be overwhelmed by the writing process, and who can blame them?

General Format // Purdue Writing Lab

I saw the practically blank screens when I gave students a prompt, but as a science teacher, I did not have a lot of strategies in my toolbox to help students fill their pages with smart, evidence-based writing.

Thankfully, most of the teachers in my PLC have much more experience teaching writing than I do, and together we discovered some highly effective supports.

strategies in writing a paragraph rubric

They work for ALL students, including the reluctant writers. Post-it planning At the start of the year, we provided post-it notes for students to plan their writing.

Paragraph Writing Rubric Paragraph Topic: _____ 4 Outstanding & Consistent Mastery 3 Meets Program Level Expectations After Instruction 2 Shows Some Understanding 1 Needs Continuous Modeling & Guidance Content Paragraph Structure I have a topic sentence. I . An easy way to evaluate student writing is to create a rubric. This allows you to help students improve their writing skills by determining what area they need help in. This allows you to help students improve their writing skills by determining what area they need help in. Student Models. When you need an example written by a student, check out our vast collection of free student models. Scroll through the list, or search for a mode of writing .

One post-it has the claim; another has a piece of evidence, and another has commentary.Communication skills are essential for today's workforce. Find links to writing tutorials, resume writing, presentation skills, report writing, interviewing, research papers, technical writing and more.

paragraphs, with little or no details. Writing is purposeful and focused. Piece contains some spelling strategies. Inconsistent agreement between parts of speech. Many errors in mechanics. Limited evidence of Writing Rubric Author. Through a classroom game and resource handouts, students learn about the techniques used in persuasive oral arguments and apply them to independent persuasive writing activities.

Design and planning resource for classroom teachers, instructional designers, and professors of education. The glossary lists, describes, and provides links for over educational strategies.

I have been on hiatus from doing out-of-state teacher trainings recently for two reasons: 1) I'm writng a book on teaching writing, and 2) I'm preparing to retire from the classroom at .

Instructional Strategies Provide a Model How much would you enjoy completing a jigsaw puzzle without the photo box cover?
What are UDL-aligned strategies? Graphic way of organizing concepts proposed during brainstorming.

English Language Learners (ELLs) can have a wide variety of needs in their reading and writing instruction.

Some students may read and write fluently in their native language while others will enter the classroom with little or no prior literacy instruction.

Rubric for Evaluation of the Paragraph