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Writing-to-demonstrate-learning Activities #6

9-12 Teacher Strategies to Increase Writing Skills



Writing to Demonstrate Learning


  • Provide instruction on crafting these pieces (e.g., essays, open response questions, research assignments, etc.).

  • Include models of assignments students are asked to write (one effective strategy is for the teacher to write the model).

  • Ensure that students have experience with the writing process. Tiers II through V may need additional cues or graphic organizers for the pre-writing and drafting process. Use of technology and word processing is especially beneficial to Tiers II through V students in the revising process.

  • Provide multiple opportunities for students to practice different kinds of writing assessments.

  • Assess written work frequently to diagnose weaknesses.

  • Provide rubrics/scoring guides that address all aspects of teacher expectations for student’s performance. Allow students to score sample papers using the rubric in order to better understand writing expectations.

  • Assign appropriate weight in scoring to grammatical/mechanical concerns. For example, in a 100 point scoring guide for an essay test, 85 points might assess knowledge of content or concepts with only 15 points for the quality of grammar and mechanics.

  • Provide rubrics to students prior to their writing assignments. Rubrics for Tiers II through V students may be adjusted to reduce length and/or complexity.

  • Assign one grade on the writing process and another grade on the quality of the final product.


Writing Instruction


Essential Element Writing


Framework Refer to box below






W.5.9.1, W.5.10.1, W.5.11.1, W.5.12.1 W.5.9.3, W.5.10.3, W.5.11.2, W.5.12.2 W.5.9.4, W.5.10.4, W.5.11.3, W.5.12.3

Strand: Writing, Standard 4: Process

Paragraphs, essays, essay and open-response questions, lab reports, research assignments, creative tasks, on-demand writing, project reports

SREB Literacy Across the Curriculum




Writing-to-demonstrate-learning Activities #6


Academic paragraphs are formal paragraphs with a topic sentence, body sentences and a concluding sentence, often written in response to a teacher’s prompt. Students can demonstrate the ability to compare and contrast, describe a scene, predict an outcome, discuss a topic, analyze character or support an opinion.


Academic essays incorporate an introductory paragraph ending with a thesis statement. They have a minimum of three body paragraphs, a concluding paragraph and are often written in response to a teacher’s prompt.


Essay test questions are responded to in a timed situation that assesses students’ ability to demonstrate understanding of materials studied.

Example: Unity in a work of art may be achieved by means of repetition, proximity, texture, color, harmony, and dominance. Explain how each is used to create unity.


Open-response questions assess students’ abilities to apply their knowledge of content and concepts to new situations.

Example: A bicycle is a composite of several simple machines. A. Describe where these simple machines are found on a bicycle: lever, pulley and wheel-and-axle. B. Describe how each is used to transfer energy. [Note: The analysis of the bicycle has not been used as an illustration during instruction.] (1998-99 released item from Kentucky’s assessment of core content taught in high school science).


Lab reports are write-ups associated with laboratory experiments performed by students.


Traditional research assignments involve an inquiry process to compose a research paper on a topic.


Creative tasks designed by students allow them to demonstrate their knowledge of content in a more flexible way than structured academic formats.

Example: In a social studies class, students might write a dialogue between two historical figures or a letter from the point of view of a person in a particular time period. The assessment tool for this assignment would then focus on the students’ demonstrated knowledge of content.


On-demand writing requires student response to a “general knowledge” prompt in a timed situation (often a state assessment). Rather than testing knowledge in a particular content area, this kind of writing usually assesses students’ abilities to focus on the prompt, develop ideas, adhere to standard academic form, compose effective sentences, use language appropriately and demonstrate knowledge of the conventions of standard written English. In a few states, such as Kentucky, the on-demand writing assessment requires students to write a letter, article, editorial or speech to a specified audience for a designated purpose. In this case, the writer’s level of audience awareness becomes significant in the assessment process.


Process papers are step-by-step descriptions of how to complete a process or use a product. These papers help teachers diagnose whether students not only get a right answer but also understand the steps involved, use the appropriate technical language and apple accurate content knowledge.



Tiers II & III Additions/Accommodations/Modifications

  • According to which activity, students can be paired with a student peer with stronger writing skills or with a paraprofessional. Also, students can write in short phrases or single words for their answer. Reduce the length of the paper from 5 paragraphs to 3 or 4. Students can have access to word processing technology as they revise, edit, and publish.


Tiers IV & V Modifications
  • Allow student to work with a student peer or paraprofessional and either dictate or use a tape recorder to record responses to a particular activity. Students may use any electronic means; such as, a computer, AlphaSmart, etc., to revise, edit, and publish as needed.


Writing To Demonstrate Lessons + Worksheets


Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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