Six Trait Writing PPT

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Six Trait Writing PPT
Write Traits
An Introduction to the
Six Traits of Writing
Part One
• “I always did well on essay tests. Just put everything you
know on there, maybe you’ll hit it. And then you get the
paper back from the teacher and she’s written just one
word across the top of the page, “vague.” I thought “vague”
was kind of vague. I’d write underneath it “unclear,” and
send it back. She’d return it to me, “ambiguous.” I’d send it
back to her, “cloudy.” We’re still corresponding to this day
… “hazy” … “muddy”…”
Jerry Seinfeld (SeinLanguageBantam Books: 1993)
Seinfeld’s teacher was surely the
exception, not the rule. Studies show
that most teachers
spend a superhuman number of hours
writing very specific comments on papers, but
it would help to have a common vocabulary that
everyone is familiar with.
A common vocabulary for:
how to write well
papers and
explaining the
(how to improve
a paper)
The Six-Trait Model for Writing
Instruction and Assessment has an easyto-understand, practical vocabulary that
can be adapted to fit Kindergarten
through 12th grade and a variety of
modes/genres of writing.
An Overview of the
Six Traits
 The Six Traits are basically a summary of what teachers
value in writing—
What makes writing work?
Word Choice
Sentence Fluency
“Ideas are the heart of the message, the content of
the piece, the main theme, together with the details
that enrich and develop that theme.”
Teach ideas by:
 Demystifying the process by writing alongside the
students— Model, model, model!
 Reading aloud from books with good detail or
strong imagery
 Showing students how to eliminate “filler”
 Helping students create questions to expand and
clarify an idea
Organization is the internal structure, the thread of
central meaning, the logical and sometimes intriguing
pattern of the ideas within a piece of writing.
Teach organization by:
Working on strong leads
Brainstorming “transition” words
Practicing the art of sequencing effectively
Matching organizational patterns with sample text
Working on strong conclusions
Model your own thinking as you organize thoughts for a paper
Voice is the heart and soul, the magic, the
wit, along with the feeling and conviction of
the individual writer coming out through the
Teach voice by:
 Reading aloud from voice-filled text
 Researching a topic prior to writing– knowledge creates a
confident voice
 Choosing topics about which the writer feels enthusiastic
 Identifying key questions that help bring topics to life
 Model
Samantha Abeel’s second grade
voice (A “show and tell” memory
from My Thirteenth Winter)
I lift the paper grocery bag from the place where I am
sitting and I move to the table in front of the class. I set
the bag down and unroll the folded top. I look down, reach
into the bag, and then pull my hands out quickly, saying, “Be
nice and behave.” Everyone in the class begins to lean in
closer, curiosity spreading, all of them wondering what I
have in my paper sack.
I place my hands back in the bag and after a little
struggle, I pretend to lift something fairly heavy up and out
of the sack. “This,” I say to the class, “is my invisible pet
dragon.” A heavy silence falls upon my classmates, along
with a few confused looks. “If you are all really good,” I
continue, “I will let him go so you can watch him fly around
the room.” More silence and wide, wide eyes.
Word Choice
Word choice is the use of rich,
colorful, precise language that moves and
enlightens the reader.
Teach word choice by:
 Working with words within the context of meaning
 Encouraging precise language
 Sharpening writing with active verbs, precise
nouns, and accurate modifiers
 Reading aloud to students so they can appreciate
the language.
 Model
Sentence Fluency
Sentence fluency is the rhythm and flow of the
language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which
the writing plays to the ear – not just to the eye.
Teach Sentence Fluency by:
 Reading aloud pieces of literature that “play to the ear”
 Having students block their sentences to check for variety
in length.
 Encouraging variety in beginnings and lengths of sentences
 Pairing short, choppy sentences with longer sentences
 Showing models that do not always follow the subject, verb
 Model
“Edit out loud. Listen to the music of
the draft and tune it so that each
paragraph, each line, each word, each
space between words creates a beat
and melody that supports and
advances the meaning of the draft.”
-Donald Murray
Conventions are like the mechanical
correctness of the piece – spelling, paragraphing,
grammar and usage, punctuation, and use of capitals.
Teach conventions by:
 Teaching copy editor’s symbols and showing students how to
use them
 Keeping writing tools, such as a good dictionary, grammar
handbook, and thesaurus, accessible in the classroom
 Reading backwards for spelling errors
 Providing numerous opportunities for students to
practice editing
 Model– Show students how you edit your own writing
Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is all
about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful.
People who are not like you admit to being
useless and inferior.
You have ruined me for other men. I yearn
for you. I have no feelings whatsoever
when we’re apart. I can be happy forever.
Will you let me be yours?
Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is. All
about you are generous, kind, thoughtful
people who are not like you. Admit to
being useless and inferior. You have
ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For
you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When
we’re apart, I can be happy forever.
Will you let me be?
Part Two- The
Write Traits Notebook
• Overview
• Components
• Write Traits as a teaching tool
From a presentation developed by Karen Bauer, High School
Literacy Mentor (NB School District # 2)
Structure of the Write Traits
Notebook: Advanced Level
The Notebook looks at writing over
four genres:
• Personal/narrative
• Persuasive
• Informational/expository
• Business/professional
Using the Write Traits Rubrics
-Suggested scores are given for each practice paper.
-It is more important that students can distinguish
between a strong paper and one in progress than it
is to agree on a specific score.
-Understanding and using the rubrics will allow
students to assess all writing, including their own.
Components in Write
Traits Advanced
• Teacher pages- blue pages that take the teacher
step-by-step through each part of the program.
• Student pages- grey pages that take the students
through 24 practice lessons (four per trait) and
24 sample papers (four papers per trait)
• Fold-out posters- one for each genre showing how
the traits support each genre
• Overhead transparencies- for whole-class scoring
or discussion
• Blackline Masters- for making hard copies on
which students can write
Teaching the Traits
• Six units, one per trait
• Each unit contains an overview, four lessons to
build strength in the focus trait, and a unit
• Each lesson focuses on one of the four specific
• Sample papers are in pairs, showing successful and
less successful applications of the trait in two of
the four genres
• A rubric is provided for assessing each trait on
both a 6 and 5 point scale; the six point within the
lessons and the 5 point in the appendix
Trait Connecting a to
Classroom Practice
• Examine one section of the Write Traits
Notebook: Advanced Level-Organization
• Lessons to teach organization
• Sample Papers-- “Oh, Baby- What a
Night” & “A Trip to Remember”
Trait Connecting a to Classroom
Practice- Jigsaw Activity
Examine one section of the Write
Traits Notebook: Advanced Level.
What are aspects you would use in
your classroom?
How might you link the trait to
favorite lessons in your repertoire?
Share your trait with the group.
Teachers using the traits often use one, all or
any combination of the following steps:
• 1. Introduce a trait through interesting
• 2. Do hands-on activities to help students
understand what it is and how to improve
it in their own writing.
• 3. Guide them through the analysis of
anonymous sample papers.
• 4. Follow with a writing assignment that
targets that trait.
• 5. Use the 6-trait rubric to provide useful
6. Guide students through revising
their papers based on that feedback.
• 7. Use a pre-identified rubric to assign a
grade to the paper.
• Questions
• Comments
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