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We’re riding the coattails of an inspirational school visit last week!

Here’s a snapshot of what we witnessed: Third-grade students identified run-on sentences like they’d been doing it for ages (even though it was introduced moments before); fourth-grade students thoughtfully selected topics and began the prewriting stages of how-to pieces (“How to Write a Musical Sheet”, “How to Commit a Foul in Basketball”, “How to Train a Mini Horse”, “How to Care for Small Children”); middle school-students pondered possibilities for cause/effect or problem/solution essays (“Leonardi daVinci had an idea”, “People losing money”, “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech”). This was the Writer’s Stylus program in action. We noticed students are becoming familiar with the learning flow of this program and as a result:
  1. Students are patient with the process and are choosing to think deeply about things they value.
  2. The Student Portfolios are effectively helping to guide the process.
  3. Teachers are successfully leading students toward exemplary work.
So, for this edition of curated news, we decided to explore what other writers have to say about underlying concepts of Writer’s Stylus:

High-leverage Teaching Practices

Frustrated that teacher education programs were not sufficiently equipping teachers for effectiveness, a team at the University of Michigan asked, “When a teacher goes out into the field, what are they routinely going to be needing to do?” Pursuing an answer resulted in a list of “high-leverage teaching practices” that now inform UM’s training of teachers. Skills such as leading class discussions and analyzing instruction to improve it are now core components. How many “high-leverage teaching practices” do you possess? Check out the full,19-item list here.

Under the Hood: A Look at Learning in the Brain

What are the basic cognitive processes the brain must engage in to build new learning? Betsy Hill suggests they are reception, perception, direction, and memory, all of which empower thinking. These processes mirror those of the Architecture of Learning: experience, comprehension, elaboration, and application, all of which empower transfer or intentionality. Does your teaching align with how the brain learns? Instructional programs, such as Foundations & Frameworks (reading) and Writer's Stylus (writing) use a natural learning framework as the basis for teaching.

Not All Feedback Leads to Learning

Students want to learn and they want feedback that will help them improve, but they also want to know why it matters.


“Teachers that are more effective at formative assessment go for student thinking, not just how correct they are,” explains Susan Brookhart. While the timing of instructional feedback matters (significantly!), so does the content. “Without descriptions students don’t have the information they need to take that next step,” says Brookhart. Giving effective feedback is a skill we can develop, as evidenced by the success of the coaching component of Writer’s Stylus. Giving students actions to take is not enough. As the article claims, “Students want to learn and they want feedback that will help them improve, but they also want to know why it matters.”

Skilled Writers Influence

Writer's Stylus equips teachers to develop skilled writers because skilled writers influence. It embraces high-leverage teaching practices, incorporates cognitive processes that empower transfer and intentionality, and thrives on feedback for student improvement and purpose. Learn more (free PDF download).
Writer's Stylus Summary
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