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Chapter 6 Launching the Unit

Kathy Tuchman Glass Solution Tree Press ePub

You have learned about the fundamentals of designing and redesigning writing units—the importance of writing and its different types, the six stages of the writing process, options for using digital environments, an effective approach to unit planning (backward design), KUDs, culminating assessments and criteria for success, preassessments, lesson design through the gradual release of responsibility model, and options for differentiation. Now you’re ready to step into the spotlight and launch your unit. This chapter details how to accomplish the following aspects of unit development.

•Pilot the unit.

•Discuss student work.

•Reflect on lessons.

Try as you might to plan for any scenario, there are unforeseen situations that you might encounter during unit implementation, such as unintentionally omitting certain skills that needed to be targeted, missing an opportunity to differentiate, wishing you had led a particular discussion that yielded critical thinking, or failing to present the criteria early enough in the unit. To circumvent any future issues, catalog any opportunities for revision in real time when teaching each lesson while they’re fresh in your mind. Later, reflect on your impressions and revise your teaching so that the next time, instruction will occur more smoothly and yield even better results in student achievement. This ongoing self-assessment will put you in good stead when beginning subsequent steps. If colleagues are teaching the same unit, everyone should share his or her reflections. Set up a system for note taking that works well, whether it is on the hard copy of the unit, in a journal, on a note-taking app, or electronically (perhaps on a Google Doc).

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Appendix B: Professional and Student Resources

Kathy Tuchman Glass Solution Tree Press ePub

A plethora of writing resources are available online and, of course, in print. Additionally, there are organizations and associations that support teachers and provide a wealth of resources to enhance curriculum and instruction. Peruse the following categories and the provided links for valuable teaching and learning resources. Visit go.SolutionTree.com/literacy to access these resources.

Some of the following are appropriate for students; others are for teachers to use. General resources for researching, citing, writing text types and genres, grammar and conventions, the writing process, and others include:

Duke (University) Thompson Writing Program (http://twp.duke.edu/twp-writing-studio/resources)

Google differentiated search lessons (www.google.com/insidesearch/searcheducation/lessons.html)

Purdue University Online Writing Lab (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/659/1)

University of Washington Tacoma’s Teaching and Learning Center (www.tacoma.uw.edu/teaching-and-learning-center/writing-resources-0)

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Chapter 2 The Stages of the Writing Process and Digital Environments

Kathy Tuchman Glass Solution Tree Press ePub

Although the writing process has evolved over time, D. Gordon Rohman (1965) is credited as the initial source of the three-stage model that comprised (1) prewriting, (2) writing, and (3) rewriting. The process is now more expansive and is often presented with the first five of the following stages. Some researchers include reflecting as an additional sixth stage, which I believe to be prudent.

1.Prewriting

2.Drafting

3.Revising

4.Editing

5.Publishing

6.Reflecting

Writing Next points to the benefits of teaching students the stages of the writing process so they can produce well-constructed products: “Teaching adolescents strategies for planning, revising, and editing their compositions has shown a dramatic effect on the quality of students’ writing” (Graham & Perin, 2007, p. 15). This process is meant to be instructive. Therefore, deliberately teach each step in a systematic way so students apply what they learn directly to their own work to maximize the likelihood of achieving optimal results. Ruie Pritchard and Ronald Honeycutt (2006) explain:

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Chapter 3 The Backward Planning Approach to Unit Design: KUDs and Guiding Questions

Kathy Tuchman Glass Solution Tree Press ePub

When planning any unit of instruction, there is an orchestrated method to help ensure that optimal learning takes root. This chapter introduces the components of backward planning in general and focuses on the first stage of this research-based design process.

Essentially, backward planning is the practice of designing units by beginning with the learning outcomes and what constitutes success in a final product before creating specific lessons. When starting with a clear focus on goals and evidence of learning, you can be more intentional in lesson planning so each lesson has an express purpose to support overarching unit goals. Teaching in this manner has proven to optimize the likelihood for success. For example, John Hattie (2009, 2012), renowned synthesizer of more than eight hundred meta-analyses, cites in his seminal work Visible Learning that backward planning is a sound pedagogy that correlates and contributes to an increase in student achievement. As Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (1998) state:

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Chapter 5 Effective Lesson Design: The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model and Differentiation

Kathy Tuchman Glass Solution Tree Press ePub

Most of us have experienced the situation of teaching the same skill over and over without managing to produce the desired student results. We feel disappointed because we’ve let our students down. There could be numerous reasons for this frustration, but one could be not systematically and explicitly teaching the skill, strategy, or process in a way that yields success. That’s where gradual release of responsibility can help—an instructional model for teaching new learning (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983). In this chapter, you will read about the aspects and benefits of this model along with a clear example, plus receive an inventory of generic ways and resources to differentiate instruction. When you create lessons for your unit, refer back to this text for support in finding appropriate lesson design and differentiation ideas.

The gradual release of responsibility model provides students with a continuum of support. It begins with teachers assuming control initially and moves to an eventual point where students take ownership of applying the new learning independently. David Pearson and Margaret Gallagher (1983) say this about the strategy:

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