Sunday, September 18, 2011

Helping teachers become writing teachers.


How this class came to be:

My first formal online learning experience was in 1996. I took an online class offered by the Milken Family Foundation that was mentored by the great Lajeane Thomas of ISTE and Louisiana Tech renown. Thanks to LaJeane I returned to school and earned an online masters degree focused on online teaching and learning.

I began teaching online in 1999. I wrote and started teaching my 6-Traits class in 2001 for the University of Northern Iowa. I moved the class to the University of Wisconsin Stout in 2005. I've taught the course nearly every semester for the past 10 years.

The two essential drivers that make this class work are a very strong sense of community that encourages teachers to share methods and practice scoring of papers using a number of databases that provide expert feedback. It's all about hands on discovery of highly practical ideas. My litmus test is: "Will this work on Monday morning?" I also enjoy helping teachers discover that they've been teaching with the traits all along. Learning the vocabulary of the traits helps everyone understand the bigger picture of writing instruction.

I learned about 6-Traits and the writing process when I was an elementary teacher in the 80's. Later, as a district Language Arts coordinator, I worked with the Northern Nevada Writing Project to train dozens of teachers. This early exposure to the writing process, combined with 25 years in the classroom and 10 years online make this online class a rich experience.

I love teaching this class. It's a chance to connect with teachers from around the world and share practical methods and materials about 6-Traits and the writing process.

I also publish the 6-Traits Resources Facebook Page as a way to share ideas about writing and teaching.

If you now of anyone who would be interested in this class pass it on? 

Helping teachers become writing teachers is one of the most satisfying things in the world. ~ Dennis

University of Wisconsin-Stout of EDUC 744 Teaching and Assessing Writing with the 6-Traits. 
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