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Six traits to

good writing

By: Cecilia Rosas


Delgado

Read this:
I always did well on essay tests. Just put everything you
know on there, maybe youll hit it. And then you get the
paper back from the teacher and shes written just one
word across the entire page, vague.
I thought vague
was kind of vague. Id write underneath it unclear and
send it back. Shes return it to me, ambiguous. Id send it
back to her, cloudy. Were still corresponding to this
day. hazy. muddy
Jerry Seinfeld (SeinLanguage)

Walk around activity: Walk around


answering each question
What do teachers look for when grading students
writing?
How do we grade papers?

What do teachers teach when we teach writing?


Do your students like writing assignments?

Is this your students reaction?

The 6 traits +1
Ideas
Organization
Voice
Word Choice
Sentence Fluency
Conventions
+ 1 Presentation

Traits give the writer a clear picture


of what to do to revise their writing
- making it the best it can be.
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Purpose
The purpose of using The Writing Process and The Six
Traits is to give teachers and students the same language
and expectations of writing. We want students to
develop writing skills and transfer them to any other
subject matter, whenever writing is used, not just within
their language arts experience.

Sounds familiar..

Discuss with your partner


Students

have been conditioned to believe


that great papers just happen. That they
are a guessing game and that one finds
out what to do after it is too late.

Margie Krest Adapting the Portfolio to Meet Student


Needs English Journal February 1990

Warm-Up Writing
Task:
Create something with the lump of
clay on your desk.

Questions for Discussion


Look at your creation.
What steps did you go through to create
what you did from the lump of clay?
How do you think this is similar to writing
a paper (composition, essay, report?)
How did you feel, what did you think
when I said create something with the
lump of clay?
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The Writing Process


Pre-Writing
Drafting

Reflecting

Presenting/
Publishing

Editing

Revising

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The Writing Process


voice

Traits help us to
understand how
organization
Prewrite
the writing process
works!

ideas

conventions

Final Draft

ideas

Publish

ideas
sentence
fluency

Draft
sentence
fluency

Revise/Edit

organization

voice

word choice

conventions

word choice

voice
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The Big Idea:


voice
Whenever you execute one of the steps
in the writing process,
you are manipulating one or more traits!
Prewrite

organization

ideas

conventions

Final Draft

ideas

Publish

ideas
sentence
fluency

Draft
sentence
fluency

Revise/Edit

organization

voice

word choice

conventions

word choice
voice

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Recipes
BAM!
French Food

Proportion

Season

Saut

Select Ingredients

Sea Food

The Master Chef

Chinese Food

Italian Food

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Narrative

IDEAS

Expository
ORGANIZATION

BAM?
Descriptive

VOICE

Reflective
SENTENCE FLUENCY
The Master Writer !

Response to Lit.

WORD CHOICE

Persuasive
CONVENTIONS
Research Report
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Prewriting
Think, Think, Think
Who is my audience?
What is my purpose?
What do I want to say?

What are the requirements that I need to


fullfil?
Do I need to research information to
complete my writing?
How do I want to say it?
Am I writing a letter, creating a book or
PowerPoint, an essay
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Defining the traits: IDEAS


The ideas are the heart of the message, the content of
the piece, the main theme, they are the reason we are
writing.
Ideas are also the accompanying details that enrich and
develop that theme.
Ideas are strong when the message is clear, not garbled.
The writer chooses details that are interesting,
important, and informative.

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Strategies to teach Ideas


Narrow focus to one story, one event:
Instead of describing an entire birthday party, focus on
the incident when the birthday girls hair caught in fire.

We dont want the writer to tell us that the Grand


Canyon is awesome If someone fell into the Grand
Canyon, that would be worth writing about.
Exercise magazine:

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Narrative
Ideas: Entertaining
Org: Chronology (plot)
Voice: Informal, authentic
WC: Descriptive
SF: Conversational, natural
Conv: Quotation marks

Expository
Ideas: Clear, relevant
Org: Compare/Contrast
Voice: Authoritative, credible
WC: Content specific terms
SF: Flowing, varied
Conv: Semicolon, colon
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Defining the traits: ORGANIZATION


Organization holds the whole thing together.
Think of it as a skeleton.
The internal structure of the piece.
Events and details are sequenced in some
order.

Begins with a strong lead, has a good


middle, use smooth transitions, and ends
with a thought provoking end.

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Strategies to teach Structure


Exposition Informational provides information
Compare and contrast
Sequence of events
Description
Problem Solution
Cause and effect
Directions
Persuasive
Narrative- relates a story
Introduction of setting, characters, problem
Efforts to solve problem leading to rising tension
Point of high tension in the climax
Resolution
Stories, Fables, Fairy Tales, other genre
Chronological order, flashback, memory

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Match each genre with its skeleton


Description
A. Characters

Protagonist:
Antagonist:

B. Setting
C. Theme
1. Motivation

D. Plot

2. Conflict:
man vs. man
man vs. environment
man vs. himself
man vs. animal
3. Complication
4. Suspense
5. Climax
6. Outcome
7. Denouement

Sequence
of Events

Narrative Text

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Teaching Organization
Teach connectors and their purpose
Transitions Charts
Cause and Effect
Compare/Contrast
Conclude/summarize

Opposition

Since
Due to
As a result

Similarily
In comparison

But
Although
Despite

To conclude
In short
As a conclusion

Therefore
Consequently
Because

Like
Similar to

However
Nevertheless
In spite of

Briefly
In conclusion

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Teaching Organization
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of
Happiness

The beginning of the paragraph

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Teaching Organization
Look to authors for examples of conclusions.
A surprise
Once again the tarot cards lay before him. Once
again the bells ring twelve times. At the stroke
of midnight, he flipped over the first card. It
was
THE SERVANT.

Smiling broadly, Fabrizio turned the next card

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Drafting
Now that you know what you are writing about,
start writing
Do not worry about- grammar errors, or spelling
errors.
Just get your thoughts down!!!!

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This would not


be our
preferred
approach.

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Defining the traits: VOICE


The voice is the heart and soul, the magic, the wit, along with the
feeling and conviction of the individual writer coming out through
the words.
Voice gives writing personality, flavor and style.
The voice is the writer coming through the words, the sense that a
real person is speaking to us and cares about the message.
Good writers can vary their voice depending on the purpose of the
message. For instance, a love letter carries a different tone than a
letter to one's lawyer
Through the voice you can tell:
the presence of the writer on the page
passion
the text dances with life and energy

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Defining Voice
A writer should:
Write honestly and from the heart
Interact with the reader *without using YOU
Use language that brings the topic to life
Care about topic
Use expression to voice personality

Voice is:
What the author has to say about the world

The point of view of the author


Authors theme or statement about world
The perspective on the idea or subject
Insight

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Strategies for teaching Voice


Read and compare:
- Our neighbors have a new car. Its a nice white minivan.
I wish we had one. I will get to ride to school with
Timmy in it next week.
- Rewrite: Our neighbors brought home a new sparkly
white-like-teeth minivan last night. Its cool. Timmy told
me hed show me how the moonroof works when I ride
to school with them next week. My mom said thats just
what they need. My dad said, I wonder how much that
set them back?

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Strategies for Voice


Give the students a situation and ask them to write
short texts with different voices. For example, how
would a young shy boy tell this situation? How
would a confident athlete tell this same situation?

Show students how to integrate dialogue in their


texts.

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Teaching Voice
"I have heard the word "sir," more often than I have
heard the word "friend," but I suppose there are
other rewards for wealth.
"No matter what our facades, we are all children."
"I was born into a position of extreme wealth, but I
have spent many sleepless nights thinking about
extreme poverty."
"I have lived a lot, trembled a lot, was surrounded
by little men who forgot that we entered naked and
exit naked and that no accountant can audit life in
our favor."
"When I was a boy, I was told that the Lord
fashioned us from His own image, that's when I
decided to manufacture mirrors."

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Defining the traits: WORD


CHOICE

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Defining the traits: WORD CHOICE


Word choice is the use of rich, colorful, precise
language that moves and enlightens the reader,
makes the piece of writing almost come alive, not
the same boring words used over and over and
over.
In a descriptive piece, creative word choice paints
clear pictures in the reader's mind.
In expository or informational writing, strong word
choice clarifies and expands ideas.
In persuasive writing, careful word choice moves
the reader to a new vision of things.

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Strategies to teach Word Choice


Word wall: During text comparisons and reading,
look for key words, beautiful and meaningful words.
Post them on the wall.
Give a song or a poem to students. Ask them to
change certain words by using a synonym. How
does it transform the song or the poem?
Teach the students how to use Dictionaries,
thesaurus etc.

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Teaching Word Choice

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R.A.F.T.
Ideas
Voice
Word Choice

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R ole
Audience
F ormat
T echnique
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Here are some examples:

Role
Audience

Nonvascular plant

Role

Cube

Stratus cloud

Audience

Square

Format

Letter

Format

Dialogue

Technique

Persuade

Technique

Instructions

Role

Boston Tea Party


Raider

Audience

Role

Little fish

Friend

Audience

Rainbow Fish

Format

Email

Format

Note

Technique

To inform

Technique

To persuade

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Defining the Traits: SENTENCE FLUENCY


Sentence Fluency

the writing flows


there is a sense of rhythm and grace
creative phrasing, sentence variety
easily read aloud

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To help students with SENTENCE FLUENCY


we can teach them to.
Begin sentences in different ways
Vary length and structure (simple vs compound
sentences)

Read it out loud


Each individual sentence has power and punch

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Teaching Sentence Fluency


A rolling stone gathers no moss

If a stone rolls, hardly any moss will be


gathered.
If you are concerned about moss gathering
on a stone, roll it.
When trying to rid yourself of moss, roll the
stone quickly.

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Teaching Sentence Fluency


Go placidly. Go amidst the noise. Go amidst the
haste. Remember things. Remember peace. Peace
may exist in silence. Be on good terms with people.
Feel this way toward all people. But only feel this
way if you can. Do not surrender.

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Teaching Sentence Fluency


You have to be flexible to survive teaching. Be
gentle, be patient, be stern, be

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Good VOICE is built


upon three other traits
You change your voice!

VOICE
WORD
CHOICE IDEAS

SENTENCE
FLUENCY

When you change these. . .

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Revising
A- add. What do you need to add to the
paper to make if flow better (think about
transitions and any lack of facts)
R- Remove- remove any unnecessary
information
M- Move- what information would go
better in another spot. Make sure that all
of your paragraphs are on the same topic.
S- Start over. If you paper/paragraph isnt
working start over

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Editing
Correct your work

Have I used complete sentences?


All of my thoughts are complete.
Are my language conventions correct?
Spelling
Capitalization and punctuation
Grammar

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Editing
Correct your work

Have I had at least two people edit my


paper?
Choose two people in the classroom,
that are on the editing stage. If no one
is, you may choose to look over your
work again.
Help editing others work

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Whats the difference between Revising


and Editing
Revision

Content (ideas)
Organization

Editing

Spelling
Grammar
Punctuation
Capitalization

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Defining the Traits: CONVENTIONS


Are the good table manners of writing. They are
important, but NOT the MOST important.
Conventions are simply those rules of grammar and
punctuation that make one's reading readable.
must be learned

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Conventions
A woman, without her man,
is nothing.

A woman: without her,


man is nothing.
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Strategies for conventions


The student corrects his/her own text. The teacher
can provide the students with a verification list or
guide. For example, the teacher can offer
suggestions like Change at least one sentence
beginning or Add one detail to help your reader to
see your text. or he/she can ask questions like Do
we hear your voice?, Is there a main idea in your
text? or Did you check your spelling by using the
word wall?
It is important to give a focus to the students while
they correct. Try to avoid giving more than 1 to 3
things at the same time.

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Should we laugh or cry?


Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they
all wrote in Hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah
Dessert and traveled by Camelot.
Ancient Egypt was inhabited by pharaohs and they
all wrote in hieroglyphs. They lived in the Saharh
Desert and traveled on camells.

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Strategies for Conventions (contd)


The students correct a text written by someone else.
The student reads his/her text aloud to help him/her
find mistakes. Students often hear their mistake
easier than they can read them.
Base your mini-lessons on a common problem
noticed in your students writing while conferencing.
Develop a list of fautes communes with your
students with mistakes such as Jai a, Jai mourru
and so on.

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Yes, Words do Matter!


My son is under a doctors care and should not take
P.E. today. Please execute him.
Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very
loose vowels.
Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his fathers
fault.

Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He


had a cold and could not breed well.

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Publishing

This is your final draft make sure that it is p_ _ _ _ct!

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Defining the Traits: PRESENTATION


Presentation
How it looks on the paper
Uniform spacing
Legible and consistent handwriting, or appropriate use of fonts and
sizes if it is word processed
Appealing use of white space, amount of white space, graphics
Where necessary, use of bullets, numbers, side headings, and other
markers that help readers access content
Effective integration of text and illustrations, photos, charts, graphs,
maps, and tables
Skillful and tasteful use of colors

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The importance of presentation

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Strategies for Presentation


Think about examples of text and presentation in your
environment.
Which signs and billboards attract your attention?
Which packages catch your eye at the grocery store?
How do businesses get your attention when they
advertise in the phone book?
Why do you reach for one CD over another?
What makes one advertisement on the internet
more appealing than another?

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Strategies for teaching Presentation


Design writing tasks that mirror real life. Involve
students in creating classroom newspapers,
pamphlets, websites, books of their own, brochures,
newsletters, and flyers.
Have students create works for a variety of
audiences. Ask them to explain how the
presentation changes depending on the audience.
Ask students to present their work, especially
research projects. Include lessons in PowerPoint
and other presentation tools to allow them to share
their ideas with others.
These suggestions use higher levels of Blooms
taxonomy; they are also meaningful and engaging.

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The importance of presentation

Even if our words are precise,


our ideas are unique, and
our sentences are correct,
the piece will not be inviting
to read unless the elements
of presentation are
exhibited.
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PRESENTATION

A final copy can serve as a welcome mat or as a


barricade to the reader.

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Why do we need to teach writing


If people cannot write well, they
cannot think well, and if they
cannot think well, others will do
their thinking for them.
George Orwell

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6+1 Traits of Writing


In Conclusion . . .
A clear vision of what good writing
looks like
A common language (K-11)
Consistent, honest assessment
Specific feedback for revising &
editing
Manageable steps
Empowers students

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Thank you very much!!!


Keep on writing
cecilia.rosas84@hotmail.com.

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