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Welcome to Blair Community Schools’ on-line Writing Center. Our goal for this site is to provide resources and instructional tools for a variety of writing tasks. Many of the resources have links to other online sites with additional information.

Blair Community Schools’ Writing Program:

Learning how to read, write, and speak well are the foundation pieces of an excellent education. Blair Community Schools’ Language Arts’ standards reflect our commitment to helping all of our students develop top-notch skills in the language arts.

The Blair Community Schools’ writing program prepares students to succeed as writers in middle school, high school, college, and beyond. Writing is crucial to success in a career and life in general.

Writing is a complex set of skills that requires continuous practice. We believe that writing assists students in mastering material, shaping ideas, and developing critical thinking skills. Our program reinforces the Nebraska State Standard: Students will learn and apply writing skills and strategies to communicate.

  • Students will apply the writing process to plan, draft, revise, edit and publish writing using correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other standard conventions appropriate for grade level.
  • Students will write for a variety of purposes and audiences in multiple genres.

 

Following is a brief description of Blair Community Schools’ writing program.

K-5, the Foundation:

Our writing program focuses on a variety of writing experiences, such as in-class writing activities, fall and state writing (Grade 4), and writing on selected writing prompts throughout the year. All students practice and master various modes of writing. They also learn the conventions of standard written English.

6-12 Middle School and High School:

Writing is emphasized throughout the upper grades as well. Students at the middle school and high school, also participate in fall and state writing assessments (Grades 8 and 11).

All students in middle and high school are required to take language arts core courses each year through graduation. These core courses continue to emphasize increasingly sophisticated writing tasks. At both the middle school and the high school, writing and reading instruction take place in all curricular areas. All teachers, regardless of academic discipline, assign, evaluate, and provide feedback to students for all required writing. When teachers provide feedback, teach students to assess their own writing, and monitor students’ writing progress, overall writing quality improves.

Monitoring Progress

Tracking student progress is essential in teaching writing. Blair Community Schools’ teachers establish clear criteria for high-quality writing, analyze student writing using state and teacher developed rubrics, and collaborate with other instructors to score student writing when possible.

In the Blair Community Schools, we continually advocate for providing additional time for student writing practice and revision, collecting multiple samples of student writing, and assessing student writing in a variety modes. Our writing data collection is used for teachers to track feedback and interventions students receive and determine with method proves the most effective.

Ideas/Content Resources:

WritingFix: Home of interactive writing prompts
http://writingfix.com/traits_primary.htm

Six Traits Basics for Kindergarten Through Grade Two
https://writingextravaganza3.wikispaces.com/Six+Traits+K-2

Using the Six Traits

Upper Elementary Lessons: Ideas
http://apps.educationnorthwest.org/traits/lessonplans.php?d=1&search=1&grade=3&trait=1

Lessons in Idea Development
http://writingfix.com/6_traits/idea_development.htm

Ideas and Content Activities
http://writingfix.com/6_traits/idea_development.htm

Mini-lessons to Generate Ideas
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/mini-ideas.html

Strategies for Teaching: Ideas
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/strat2.html

Primary Level Books: Ideas
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/book6.html

Intermediate Level Books: Ideas
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/book5.html

Sentence Fluency Resources:

Upper Elementary Lessons: Sentence Fluency
http://apps.educationnorthwest.org/traits/lessonplans.php?d=1&search=1&grade=3&trait=5

Lessons in Sentence Fluency
http://writingfix.com/6_traits/sentence_fluency.htm

Sentence Fluency Activities
http://www.edina.k12.mn.us/concord/teacherlinks/sixtraits/sentencefluency.htm

Mini-Lessons in Sentence Fluency
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/mini-sf.html

Strategies for Sentence Fluency
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/strat4.html

Primary Level Books: Sentence Fluency
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/book8.html

Intermediate Level Books: Sentence Fluency
http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/book7.html

“Good writing doesn’t come naturally, though most people seem to think it does. Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you think writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.” (William Zinsser).

Writing is a highly complex process, one that is recursive and not linear. Effective writing instruction incorporates a process approach to writing, rather than a just a focus on the final product. The five-step approach to the writing process is widely accepted in classrooms today. The steps include pre-writing/idea generation, drafting/idea development, revision, editing, and publishing. This page will link to different resources in developing each of the steps in the process.

Language arts classes in the Blair Community Schools practice writing in a variety of modes and genres. Age-appropriate writing products are created at all grade levels, including writing in the modes of expository/informative, narrative/descriptive, literary analysis, creative/expressive, and persuasive writing. Links on these pages will direct you to information and activities in each of those writing modes and more.

Expository/Informative Writing: The goal for expository writing is to inform, explain, clarify, define, or instruct. It is “fact-driven.” Expository/Informative Writing appears in and is not limited to these genres: letters, newsletters, definitions, instructions, guidebooks, catalogues, newspaper articles, magazine articles, how-to writing, pamphlets, reports, and research papers.

 

Expository Writing Resources:

Expository Exercises-Comparison/Contrast
http://ksdl.ksbe.edu/writingresource/comparison.html

Expository Writing Workshop
http://writingfix.com/genres/informative.htm

Expository Exercises-Process Analysis
http://ksdl.ksbe.edu/writingresource/processanalysis.html

Expository Exercises-Definition
http://ksdl.ksbe.edu/writingresource/processanalysis.html

Expository Writing
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/02/

Expository Prompts
http://www.certifiedchinesetranslation.com/essays/expo.html

Expository Characteristics
http://www.stanford.edu/~arnetha/expowrite/info.html

Narrative Writing: The goal for narrative writing is to tell a story about an experience, event, or sequence of events while holding the reader's interest. Narrative writing is usually characterized by the following: written in first or third-person, use of characters, setting, plot, may include some dialogue, and events organized in chronological sequence. Narrative writing appears in and is not limited to these genres: poetry, short stories, novels, personal essays, memoirs, tall tales, and folk tales, to name just a few.

Narrative Writing Resources:

Narrative Workshop
http://writingfix.com/genres/narrative.htm

Narrative Exercises
http://ksdl.ksbe.edu/writingresource/narration.html

Descriptive Writing Exercises
http://ksdl.ksbe.edu/writingresource/description.html

Narrative Writing
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/04/

Narrative Prompts
http://www.certifiedchinesetranslation.com/essays/narr.html

Descriptive Writing
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/03/

On-Demand Writing:

Writing the Essay Exam
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/737/01/

Timed Writing Strategies
http://www.csun.edu/~hflrc006/strategies.html

Persuasive Writing: Persuasive writing gives an opinion or presents an argument in an attempt to convince the reader that this point of view is valid. It often tries to persuade the reader to take a specific action. Persuasive writing appears in, but is not limited to these genres: letters to the editor, editorials, advertisements, advice columns, award nominations, pamphlets, petitions, and opinion writing.

Persuasive Writing Resources:

Persuasive Workshop
http://writingfix.com/genres/persuasive.htm

Persuasive Writing
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/05/

Persuasive Exercises
http://ksdl.ksbe.edu/writingresource/persuasive.html

Persuasive Writing Prompts
http://www.certifiedchinesetranslation.com/essays/pers.html

Write to Learn:

RAFT Writing Assignments
http://writingfix.com/WAC/RAFT.htm

Writing Across the Curriculum
http://writingfix.com/WAC.htm

 

Elementary

http://www.thewritesource.com/publish/
http://www.thewritesource.com/studentmodels/
http://eolit.hrw.com/hlla/newmainlinks/writ.jsp
http://www.finelines.org/
http://www.dar.org/natsociety/essays.cfm
http://teacher.scholastic.com/writeit/
http://www.readingrockets.org/books/fun/exquisiteprompt
http://www.pta.org/2032.asp
http://www.spidermagkids.com/corner
http://www.vrg.org/essay/

Secondary

http://www.thewritesource.com/publish/
http://www.thewritesource.com/studentmodels/
http://eolit.hrw.com/hlla/newmainlinks/writ.jsp
http://www.finelines.org/
http://www.dar.org/natsociety/essays.cfm
http://www.amvets.org/pdfs/programs_pdfs/programs_americanism_set.pdf
http://www.readingrockets.org/books/fun/exquisiteprompt
http://www.pta.org/2032.asp
http://www.vrg.org/essay/


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