Mapleton Public Schools Standards of Practice for Writing
Instruction, Assessment, & Administration Guidelines
Mapleton Public Schools believes in a balanced approach of literacy instruction based on a gradual release of responsibility. All instruction begins with an in-depth understanding of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS). Standards are explicitly taught at each grade level to all students through a shared writing experience. Students who demonstrate skills above or below grade level receive differentiated instruction and scaffold support through one-on-one conferencing or small, skill-based groups. Independent application of Standards are required daily through the writing process. Assessments are used on a continual basis to guide and inform instruction with students actively involved in monitoring their own progress. The following content of this document explicitly defines expectations for writing through a balanced approach and provides resources for the classroom teacher K-12.
Why Writing Matters
According to the National Educational Assessment of Progress (NEAP) writing is one of the primary ways that people today persuade and inform others, both socially and professionally. It produces and requires higher-order thinking, increases academic success, and is a demand of the 21st Century workplace. In order to improve writing trends, foundational skills must be explicitly taught and applied in the early grades (K-2) to prepare students for higher-level thinking and writing in future grades (3-12). Foundational skills for future achievement is established through mastery of handwriting, spelling, vocabulary development, and sentence construction (grammar, mechanics and conventions) through the process of writing with the application of writing strategies and knowledge of the genre. Students who fail to develop basic skills and knowledge of writing especially in the early years (K-2) will have a much harder time keeping up with their peers in more complex writing tasks in later grades (3-12).
In order to strengthen basic foundational writing skills in grades K-12, all students are expected to master Grade Level No-Excuse Targeted Skills for grammar and mechanics, conventions, vocabulary and spelling by the end of each year. Teachers are expected to provide explicit instruction on grade level expectations and hold students accountable to apply these skills with proficiency in all forms of writing.
Colorado Academic Standards
Colorado Academic Standards establish the core curriculum of what every student should master by the end of each grade level. Key shifts in Standards exist between the following grade levels: Kindergarten-Second, Third-Fifth, Sixth-Eighth, and Ninth-Twelfth Grade. These key shifts in the standards are important to note and should be evident in school-wide curriculum maps. Teachers are expected to unpack grade level standards with students to build an understanding of what individual standards mean, what is expected, and provide support for vocabulary and mastery of skills. To learn more about Colorado Academic Standards and how to apply them to instruction, please CLICK BELOW:
In Mapleton, teachers are expected to inform instruction based on students' understanding of the Colorado Academic Standards. Both formative and summative data are used to identify students’ instructional needs and inform instructional planning. Prompted writing assessments are administered typically in a 3-4 week instructional cycle across all genres: informative/explanatory, opinion/argument, and narrative.
District Writing Assessments and Anchor Text
Classroom teachers in grades K-12 are expected to administer two district writing assessments. The fall assessment, in September, will be used as a formative assessment to inform instruction and provide teachers insight into students' instructional needs. The May Spring Assessment will be used as a summative measure to evaluate a student’s growth over the course of a year. Through this form of assessment, students should learn writing habits of rhetorically analyzing prompts, identifying the claim or topic, the audience, the purpose, strategies for support, and the role or persona to be assumed by the writer. Students should also learn and practice reading text closely to heighten their awareness of an author’s craft and learn to read like a writer.
Teachers will score student assessments this year to become familiar with grade level rubrics and to develop inter-rater reliability. Overall scores of Distinguished Command, Strong Command, Moderate Command and Limited Command should be recorded on the following forms:
Winter District Assessment Collection Forms: Kindergarten
Teachers should record data on the Teacher Collection form and submit it to their Writing Steering Committee member for their school by the end of the assessment window. It is recommended that grade level teams share and analyze data together, set goals for continued growth, and discuss strategies to achieve set goals to meet the differentiated needs of their students.
Bank of Prompts
Kinder - 5th grade and 6th - 12th grade standards-based prompts and Every Child a Writer schema based prompts are provided as a resource for the teacher to use to expose students to a variety of genres and build rigor into daily writing tasks. Students should experience different prompts that require them to obtain knowledge of concepts through content and require them to apply background knowledge in a written form.
Grade level writing rubrics allow teachers and students to identify if a student's written performance is at a Distinguished Command (above grade level/4), Strong Command (at grade level/3) Moderate Command (below grade level/2) or Limited Command (2 years or below grade level/1) based on state proficiencies. Areas marked on the rubric indicate mastery of a skill. Teachers should use the grade level writing rubrics to score and evaluate both the fall and spring District Writing Assessment with 10 Principals for Scoring:
1. Know the rubrics
2. Trust evidence, not intuition
3. Match evidence to language in the rubric
4. Weigh evidence carefully - base judgment on the preponderance of evidence
5. Know your biases - leave them at the door
6. Focus on what the student DOES, not what the student doesn't do
7. Isolate judgment - one bad element doesn't equal a bad paper
8. Resist seduction - one good element doesn't equal a good paper
9. Recognize direct copy or plagiarism
10. Stick to the rubric
Standard Validation Plans (SVP)
Standard Validation Plans (SVP) have been developed and aligned to the grade-level writing rubrics. They serve as a quick reference tool or checklist to monitor student’s progress towards mastering Standards listed in each genre. Teachers may choose to use SVPs during one-on-one conferences or small, skill-based groups to identify areas of continual support.
Both the grade level rubrics and standard validation plans (SVPs), may be used to provide specific feedback to students and target specific learning goals during an instructional learning cycle. A body of evidence consisting of independent writing assignments, informal observations and summative data should be used when determining students' overall performance and instructional needs.
DELIVERY OF INSTRUCTION
Classroom teachers are expected to provide standards-based literacy instruction daily through a gradual release of responsibility and explicit instruction. Mentor text, examples and non-examples of student writing should be used to expose students to a variety of effective writing techniques and styles. Mentor text and writing models may be found at www.ecaw.org.
All writing instruction is delivered through the Mapleton Balanced Literacy Framework and standards of practice for writing. Students should daily apply the writing process and receive scaffold support through small, skill-based groups or one-on-one conferencing. It is assumed that students are at grade level unless they demonstrate otherwise, above or below grade level. Teachers are expected to adjust instruction during Guided Writing to meet the needs of their students while maintaining grade-level rigor during Shared Writing. All students must have an opportunity to apply the learning target during Independent Writing both independently and in a collaborative group with other students.
For further support and resources, please watch this video to see how instruction using a balanced approach is delivered within Mapleton Public Schools.
Effective classroom instruction is reciprocal to student engagement and classroom management. As a district, our focus has been to increase student engagement and effective classroom procedures within all of our schools. Eric Jensen’s work has provided us with many effective strategies and resources to build relationship and learning partnerships with our students creating a culture of learning and engagement. To learn more about how to create learning environments that are energetic and engaging for our learners, please watch this video.