Qualities of Writing
What Are the Six Traits?Give your English language learners a common language for talking about writing. The official Web site of the 6+1 Traits Writing Model provides the descriptive criteria used by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) to define the qualities of good writing at different levels of achievement.
Teach Them!What are the needs of your students? NWREL has compiled a vast array of free lesson plans organized around the traits, which any teacher for any grade level will find useful. Once you have assessed the writing needs of your students, you should be able to narrow the writing areas (traits) that they need to improve. Use the search form on the NWREL site to find a lesson that will work with your students.
Post Them!To help introduce the six traits, download the free classroom posters on this site and use them in your classroom. The posters are available as both Word and PDF files.
Prompt Them!The best prompts are the ones that spark a personal connection between the writer and his or her ideas. Provided on this site are some generic writing prompts to get your students started. You’ll also find tips on how your students can write their own prompts. These self-written prompts will offer better starting blocks for your English language learners than the generic prompts because they spring from the immediacy of their lives.
Assess Them!Deepen your understanding of how to score your students’ writing and specifically its components. NWREL provides a 6+1 Traits Scoring Rubric, as well as student writing sample papers, organized by trait, score and grade level to help you assess and evaluate your students’ writing based on the six traits.
Click Here to Download Free Scoring Rubric
Plus: NWREL’s primary version of the 6-Trait Writing Assessment Model is designed to help you see early writing with new eyes—instead of looking for what students can’t yet do, look for and build on what they can do.
Patterns of Writing
SPOTLIGHT! On Text Structure
Text structure refers to the basic organizational pattern or form that a writer uses to convey his or her message. The classic forms of discourse are narration, exposition and poetry. Discourse is the formal orderly expression of thoughts through oral or written language. The form denotes the overall purpose or reason underlying prose and poetry. Generally speaking, the complexity of both oral and written language increases as one moves from narrative to expository prose. Readers expect a text to have clear, logical form. Internalized knowledge of text structure facilitates memory and cognition.*
Recognizing different types of expository text structures and analyzing their characteristics will help your students in both their reading and their writing.
*Excerpted from Reading–Writing Reflections: Theory to Practice by Mary F. Heller. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999.
Ask Questions, Visualize AnswersHelp your students analyze the characteristics of different types of organizational structures. This site lists questions students can ask about the following text structures: chronological sequence, comparison/contrast, description, point of view, problem/solution, and process/cause and effect. You’ll also find lesson plans, examples of completed graphic organizers and blank graphic organizers.
Plus: Choose from these English or Spanish graphic organizers. You can print in landscape or portrait, as Word or PDF files.
What Does It Signal?Sensitize your English language learners to words that signal a text’s organizational structure. The signal words on this site are categorized according to the following types of structures: chronological sequence, generalization/principle, comparison/contrast, process/cause and effect, and description.
Different Genres, Different Patterns
Explain It to MeExpository writing is an increasingly important skill for elementary, middle and high school students to master. This interactive Essay Map helps your English language learners organize their writing online. Using the tool, students can write outlines for informational, definitional or descriptive essays. The map includes space for all elements of the traditional five-paragraph format: an introductory statement, three main ideas that students want to discuss or describe, supporting details for each idea and a conclusion that summarizes the main ideas. The tool offers multiple ways to navigate information, including a graphic in the upper-right corner that allows students to move around the map without having to work in a linear fashion. Students can also click the Review My Map link and preview what they have written, return to the map for revisions or print the completed map for reference.
Are They the Same?Introduce your English language learners to the basic characteristics of comparison and contrast essays. The interactive Comparison and Contrast Guide includes an overview, definitions and examples. The Organizing a Paper section includes details on whole-to-whole (block), point-by-point and similarities-to-differences structures. In addition, the Guide explains how graphic organizers are used for comparison and contrast, provides tips for using transitions between ideas in comparison and contrast essays, and includes a checklist, which matches an accompanying rubric.
Plus: This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences or point-to-point.
Convince Me!Help your ESL students map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate with the interactive Persuasion Map on this site. Students begin by determining their goal or thesis. They then identify three reasons to support their argument and three facts or examples to validate each reason.
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Get help in the face of financial challenges and budgetary constraints. The Troxell Communications’ Education Scholarship/Grant Rebate Program can help make technology dreams come true in your ELL classroom.
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View the free video clips and samples for EASY (English Academic Success for You) – The ESL Series and see how easy it is to take your beginning ESL students to intermediate level.
Click Here to Visit Web Site
Help your English language learners achieve academic success with Northpoint Horizons’ Content Academic Vocabulary System. The five-step teaching plan (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) helps you provide differentiated instruction to meet the diverse needs of your students. Visit the site to learn more about the system and to access sample math and science vocabulary lists for K–2 and 3–6.
Click Here to Access Sample Math Vocabulary
Click Here to Access Sample Science Vocabulary