This Literacy Routine addresses the following questions:
How can I use writing to help my students learn?
How can I get them to generate their own ideas?
How can I help them remember new information?
How to implement Pencil to Paper in your classroom:
Plan for informal writing throughout the lesson.
Plan how students will express their thinking with informal writing tasks aligned with the standards throughout the lesson cycle. Tasks could include quick writes, graphic organizers, Cornell notes, interactive notebook, learning logs, journals, and exit tickets*. Check HISD curriculum unit planning guides and/or adoption materials for suggestions. Prepare writing prompts, instructions, and word banks before class.
Prepare for writing with structured conversations.
When you introduce complex writing tasks, have students generate ideas with peers before they write. See the Let’s Talk routine for tips on how to structure conversations. Students could also participate in a silent Chalk Talk or Padlet conversation. Alert students when you plan to follow a structured conversation with individual writing.
Scaffold with stems and frames.
Post a stem or frame when introducing the writing task. To differentiate, you may provide a stem or frame just for students who need additional support, or change the complexity of the stem or frame depending on students’ language proficiency levels.
Model new “writing to learn” tasks.
Plan ahead how you will model new or complex writing tasks. Do a think-aloud to show students how you would approach the task. Use academic language and key vocabulary. Make sure students can see your modeled writing as you capture your thoughts in writing.
Circulate and coach as students write.
Provide quiet time for students to write (consider setting a timer for pacing purposes). Scan student writing as you circulate. Prompt students to write in complete sentences, use academic language, and expand their thinking as needed.
Scan student writing.
Treat informal writing as formative assessment. Give quick, precise, and warm written feedback on selected student writing on a regular basis. Focus on students’ progress in articulating their understanding of content. Save samples of students’ writing to monitor progress.