6 Traits poll - ProTeacher Community


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6 Traits poll
Old 03-05-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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How long have you been using 6 Traits?
Does your entire building/ district use 6 Traits or are you a Lone Star?
What kind of professional development has helped you incorporate this into your classroom?
What do you suggest to start 6 traits at this time of the year?
What do you suggest to a lead teacher to assist her building thru just starting the 6 Trait process?

We (the building) have decided that this what we need to help with our writing scores because it will give the students and teachers common language and common scoring. It coordinates well with our state testing. We are doing our own learning of the traits because of the lack of money. Our building has started off with one building wide writing prompt with a video presentation for the prompt. We then used some collaboration time to score the writing. We will be having an author's lunch to celebrate some of the better pieces and then we will be posted them in the hallway to model student writing samples.

I have read many books and am starting to use the language in the classroom. I wish that I had started this in the Fall but with the whole school doing this my new students coming next year will be introduced to the traits.

I was excited to see Joanna suggest this room and then PT editors to listen to her. Isn't this forum a blessing!!!!!!


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Wow
Old 03-05-2008, 01:12 PM
 
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Combow, I am the head of a committee that purchased a copy of Ruth Culhams, Six Traits Complete Guide for every single teacher. (According to level). We had book study groups every month at staff meetings. I like the books because they are straight forward and easy to digest. Then, after we completed the books we met as grade levels to learn to score according to rubrics and have a common understanding of what each of us was thinking as we scored. We have school wide "drop and writes" now every month--with a prompt from the principal! Kids think they are writing her and they love it! We take those samples and practice scoring them and use them to see growth on the traits schoolwide.

Oh, I have been teaching the traits for about 5 years now. I suggest you start reading books to your students and constantly pointing out "listen to that word choice" and things like that. Use picture books! That is an easy way to get started! Speak the language! Your kids will listen and they'll start speaking the language, too.

We have culminated our year of learning the traits with two webinars on Six Traits, right in our own building from SDE. They are so inexpensive and our whole staff participated! Everyone is raving about them.

If I could suggest one book it would be Ruth Culham's book, The Complete Guide.

I am so glad that this forum is going to help people!!! Let's get crackin' !
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Old 03-05-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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I started using the traits with my students when we returned from Christmas break.

I know of only a couple other teachers in my building who are teaching with the traits. I have heard from our language arts specialist that eventually our county will begin using it.

Professional Development - During our state's reading conference in Dec., I sat in on a workshop led by a fellow teacher who shared lots of helpful information! I also bought a copy of Ruth Culham's book as the PP mentioned and a copy of Using Picture Books to teach Writing With the Traits. Yesterday, I received a copy of Barry Lane's, Reviser's Toolbox, so hopefully I'll find some good ideas to use from there.

If I were starting 6 traits now I would definitely wait until we returned from Spring Break. Also, it really depends on the group of students you have. I was able to introduce all of the traits in one week. I just wanted them to get their feet wet with the terminology. At first, I considered doing one trait a week but decided to talk about all of them that first week, which ended up being fine because it wasn't like anything was "isolated." For example, when we read picture books students were noticing not just one trait, but several others. I went to Office Depot and had the mini posters printed which featured each trait. I gave my students a bookmark that had a little explanation of each trait too...printed on cardstock and laminated.

I have taken the picture book approach along with lots of colored chart paper! I will attach a list of picture books that helped me get started. I use chart paper to record specific sentences that evidence certain traits.

Also, when we first started after Christmas I had all my students bring in a composition book for their writer's notebook. As we read books with vivid verbs, powerful phrases, etc. we would record them on the appropriate page. They also use their writer's notebook to record any and all response writing we do after a picture book is read or even a chapter book. If certain sentences pop out at me I will make a chart highlighting them for students to see the traits in action. I like to do this ahead of time, but there are times where we will record them together.

Ashley
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Old 03-05-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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This is the bookmark I gave each student. I found the info. from somewhere on the web I'm sure, but changed it around a little to fit my needs.
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Thank you...
Old 03-06-2008, 03:37 PM
 
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Joanna and Ashleymarie! You have shared some great ideas to get us started. Joanna, thanks also for the pm.

One question I have is grading. A consultant from our ISD states the the 6 traits rubrics are not meant to be grading rubric but more of an analytical rubric. He was suppose to come back to our building today for something else, but he was sick. I plan on asking him more when he returns. How do you grade the writing to report back to parents on the report cards?


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Choose the highlighted trait to score
Old 03-06-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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If you are doing a mini lesson on voice let's say, you grade on voice. If you take a piece all the way to publish---you'd grade on all of them. For a really great explanation go to the MCREL web site. That is where the top writers on Six Traits are and they have all the scoring rubrics, papers to practice scoring, etc. You'll learn a lot there. I started by researching----then bought books, then more....the book Complete Guide is truly "complete".

Keep reading books to your class and stopping to point out a trait. Like talk about Word Choice and keep a list of Strong Verbs going on a wall chart. The kids need to be infused with it. Talk it, talk it, talk it.

I begin the year with a Six Trait Writing Sundae party. We study all 7 of the traits all week--maybe two and then have a Six Trait Sundae party...we color in sundaes first, then I give them a "test"...real ice cream...

bowl--organization
spoon--conventions
cherry--presentation
whipped cream--voice
hot fudge--sentence fluency
ice cream--ideas
sprinkles--word choice

It's a kickoff to my whole writing program and it "sticks". I can't take all the credit for the idea though. I got it from a booklet a presenter gave us about five years ago.

AshelyMarie---thank you so much for the bookmarks!!! I am going to print them tomorrow and have the kids keep them in their journals to mark the page they are on!!! What a fantastic idea!!!!
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Old 03-07-2008, 06:24 AM
 
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Quote:
How long have you been using 6 Traits?
Does your entire building/ district use 6 Traits or are you a Lone Star?
What kind of professional development has helped you incorporate this into your classroom?
What do you suggest to start 6 traits at this time of the year?
What do you suggest to a lead teacher to assist her building thru just starting the 6 Trait process?
about 5-6 years
some do some don't
Took a 2 day course at the district level
I'm not sure I would start to teach 6 traits at this time of the year, I would evaluate my writing program to date and decide what students had mastered and what they needed to become better writers and move from there.
Suggestions: find materials and classes for the building, make people aware that 6 traits can supplement their writing instruction, not replace all of their current instruction.
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Sundae LOVE it!
Old 03-08-2008, 09:22 AM
 
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The sundae activity a great idea! Thank you for sharing!
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New at 6 traits
Old 03-10-2008, 03:24 AM
 
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I never used 6 traits
my building is investigating it
I would like to start it in September and learn all I can until then
I would like to be a lead teacher and get others on board if this is something that will definetely help our state testing with writing.
Looking forward to learning all I can
Very excited!
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Start with
Old 03-10-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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Your best purchase will be Ruth Culhams Complete Guide. Straight forward, gives you a history, explanation of all traits, and even teaching ideas in an easy to read format.
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Love this new forum
Old 03-18-2008, 05:09 AM
 
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How long have you been using 6 Traits?
My district started about six years ago.

Does your entire building/ district use 6 Traits or are you a Lone Star? My entire district uses six traits and I love it!

What kind of professional development has helped you incorporate this into your classroom?
We have had local instructors for presenters. Janet Allen did presented to us on vocabulary development.

What do you suggest to start 6 traits at this time of the year?
Just jump in with some mini lessons and help the students become familiar with the terms as well as the writing process. One trait at a time and take it slowly. Read alouds should focus on the traits and be sure to point out good examples in the book for the children.

What do you suggest to a lead teacher to assist her building thru just starting the 6 Trait process?
This is a tough one. Take this slowly and discuss each trait and how you might address it. Focus also on the writing process. Evaluate lots of writing together. Study what a great piece of student writing looks like at each grade level. Encourage teachers to collect student examples of good writing to use for future lessons. I must say that most of us were overwhelmed when we first started six traits in our district. Be prepared to be challenged and tell your fellow teachers that itís worth it. I have taught writing for 33 years and fell that Iím now the best writing teacher that Iíve ever been. OK ... now Iíll get off my soap box.
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