I love to get email from graduates of my online 6-traits class. I get a glimpse of their classrooms and the fun and excitement of teaching writing with the six traits. Here's news from Karen's 5th grade class!
I've done 3 traits so far this term and have never received such overall great writing from a class. The three or four that really shine have become 17 and 18. I am truly impressed with the improvement and excitement about their writing (and honestly - I'd put a lot of energy into my writing program BEFORE 6 Traits!).
I really think the key changes for me in my teaching were including a lot of modeling of my own work with the students. When they see the time and effort I've put into my samples for sharing (of both good and bad writing!) they know I'm looking at specific features of their own writing very thoroughly. The very methodical coverage of key points for each trait helps students see, in a tangible way, what they need to address when they are writing.
Inspiration diagrams of each trait (simplified) help the children check their work for each of the significant points of the trait. I'm having them color in their own diagram, and I color one as I'm marking. We have a mini conference to compare and discuss our evaluations.
I came up with a rather neat plan. Using GarageBand ( a Mac program that allows one to create a podcast very easily), I had the children each rehearse and make an aural podcast of themselves reading their stories. They put them into our classroom public folder where anyone in the class can listen to them. Not only are they working on their reading fluency and expression, they have a whole class audience. I get to listen to everyone's aural reading at my leisure, and can choose samples of exceptional work to use as examples for the rest of the class.
My next challenge is to figure out how I can get the students to email their file home. How wonderful for a parent to be able to listen to their child reading their own story!
Gotta love this technology!
Karen (Grade 5 teacher, 31 years experience)