• profdev;
  • school;
  • writing;
  • workshop;
  • strategies;
  • instructional
  • childhood
  • article

This article describes how one U.S. school district created a planned writing curriculum to provide strong, cohesive instruction for all students. Because of teacher preferences, some children received little instruction in expository writing, and scores on the state writing assessment fluctuated widely. The authors focus on how all teachers came together and hammered out a systematic writing program that took long-taught, favorite projects (such as making soup) and put them into a process writing format. Teachers agreed to take each workshop at least through the revision step, and rubrics in student-friendly language were created. Uniformity in content, instructional strategies, time spent on writing, and assessment was thus achieved.

Key points in developing the curriculum were inclusiveness, with all teachers participating, and flexibility of implementation. A teacher survey indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the program, and writing samples showed a noticeable improvement in targeted areas. Student writing included in the article demonstrates proficiency in previously neglected organizational skills at all grade levels. The authors also give suggestions for adapting the collaborative process described.