The 6+1 Trait Writing "framework" is a way to learn and use a "common language" to refer to the characteristics of writing and to create a common vision of what 'good' writing looks like. Basically, all writing can be scored using an analytical rubric based on the six traits plus 1. The traits are the qualities of writing. All students at all levels can talk about their writing using this language. If you do writers workshop, you use the traits in prewrite (ideas, organization), draft (all the others), revise (improve fluency, word choice, voice), editing (conventions), publish (presentation). They go hand in hand!
Most state writing tests use rubrics based on the six traits.
What are the Six Traits + 1?
The ideas are the heart of the message, the content of the piece, the main theme, together with the details that enrich and develop that theme.
Organization is the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the logical and sometimes intriguing pattern of the ideas.
The voice is the heart and soul, the magic, the will, along with the feeling and conviction of the individual writer coming out through the words.
Word choice is the use of rich, colorful, precise language that moves and enlightens the reader.
Sentence fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of work patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear - not just to the eye.
Conventions are the mechanical correctness of the piece - spelling, grammar and usage, paragraphing, use of capitals, and punctuation.
Presentation zeros in on the form and layout of the text and its readability: the piece should be pleasing to the eye.