Self-regulatory writing behaviors in the secondary language arts classroom through a gradual-release workshop model

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Self-regulatory writing behaviors in the secondary language arts classroom through a gradual-release workshop model
Houk, Julia ( author )
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This research evaluates the effectiveness of a gradually-releasing curriculum, designed for a 9th grade language arts class. The curriculum under review was constructed to support students' development of self-regulatory writing behaviors. The research findings demonstrate evidence of students' independent use of writing skills and strategies that lead to increased perceived self-efficacy in writing.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver.
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School of Education and Human Development
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by Julia Houk.

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SELF REGULATORY WRITING BEHAVIORS IN THE SECONDARY LANGUAGE ARTS CLASSROOM THROUGH A GRADUAL RELEASE WORKSHOP MODEL by JULIA HOUK B.A., University of Colorado Denver 2009 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Grad uate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment o f the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Curriculum and Instruction 2014


ii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Julia Hou k h as been approved for the Curriculum and Instruction Program b y Richard Argys, Chair Nancy Sha n klin Sherry Taylor November 7, 2014


iii Houk, Julia (M.A., Curriculum and Inst ruction ) Self regulatory Writing Behaviors in the Secondary Language Arts Clas sroom Through a Gradual release Workshop Model Thesis directed by Senior Instruct or Richard Argys ABSTRACT This research evaluates the effectiveness of a gradually releasing curriculum, designed for a 9 th grade l anguage a rts class The curriculum under review was constructed to regulator y writing behaviors. The research findings that lead to increased perceived self efficacy in writing. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication Approved: Richard Argys


iv TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 Contemporary Context 1 Study Connecti on 4 II. LITERATURE REVIEW 7 The Habit of Creativity 7 Perceived Self efficacy 10 Writing Instruction 1 2 Self regulatory Str ategy Development 1 4 III. STUDY DESIGN 1 8 Overview 18 Curriculum Design 19 Research Conditions 40 IV. FINDINGS 42 V. RECOMMENDATIONS 5 1 REFERENCES 5 2


1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Contemporary Context The goal of education is to equip students with the intellectual tools and self regulatory capacities to e ffectively self educate as life long learners (Bandura, 1993). The lives of 21 st century students are characterized by unprecedented change (Robinson, 2009). The rapid rate of change makes forecasting the future difficult. The edu cational needs of the advancing century cannot be comprehensively anticipated, and because of these prospective uncertainties the priority of education should be to teach students to respond innovative ly to their worlds. Students should be prepared to fac e this future of uncertainty with the i ntellectual resources to inquire create, and communicate. Writing is a premiere vehicle for cultivating these capacities. The importance of writing is increasingly evident in the demands of the 21 st century work place an d conscientious educators must consider the current exp ectations of workforce entrants into the job market. O ne of the primary goals of education is to prepare students for careers. Furthermore, economic trends often dictat e educational prioritization. The 20 th century model of education was designed to prepare students for careers in an industrial economy. Students learned by rote memorization, sat in rows, moved to and from classrooms in single file lines, clocked in an d o ut of the day by the bell, and often assumed more passive roles in their education. The economic milieu of the United States has evolved beyond the industrial model, and the market into which schools are sending their graduates requires increased critical thinking, interpersonal communication, and the ability to move through uncertainties with confidence. In this


2 new era of education, then, schools need to be more student directed, creative, and attuned to the behaviors and roles students are expecte d to fulfill outside of school. Many schools have begun to respond to the demands of this new era, but large scale transformations have yet to emerge Schools still have a long way to go in meeting the needs of their populace. Many graduate s are completing their formal education underprepared, according to employers surveyed by the Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21 st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management (Casner Lotto, 200 6) These students also perform belo w standards of proficiency, as measured by formal testing institutions. ( For the purposes of this paper, the assessment performance of students will be reduced to the results of writing assessments alone .) America According to results from ACT scores nearly one third of high school graduates are not ready for college level English compositions courses (2005). On the 2011 National Assessment of Ed ucation Progress (NAEP) writing assessment, 44 percent of 8 th graders performed at the Basic level. Here in Colorado, students also perform poorly on standardized writing assessments. On the 2012 TCAP, for example, 47 percent of 9 th gr aders scored Unsatisfactory or P artially Proficient in writing. That means that nearly th grade writers are underperforming T hese deficiencies impact young graduates in substantial ways. In creasingly, b usiness leaders notice deficiencies in the young workforce. Young people entering the workplace from high school or college are underprepared in English writing, written communication, and creativity/innovation. These are high prio rity skills


3 for current employers, and entrants who have a high aptitude in these are as have greater career opportunities (Casner Lotto, 2006) 73.6 percent of employer respondents projected that the needs for creativity/innovation are going to increase. Currently, 54.2 percent of employer respondents report that new workforce entrants with a high school Lotto, 2006, p. 10) The next area of preparation f o cus, written communication, does not fare any better. Employer written communication skills, and 52.7 percent of them said that written communication or successful job performance (Casner Lotto, 2006, p. 3) Written communication is just one aspect of writing in the English curriculum In regard to English writing, 72 percent of employer respondents rated new entrants to their comp any with high school diplomas as deficient in writing skills 49.4 percent of respondents said that English successful job performance (Casner Lotto, 2006, p. 13). A revamped writing curriculum can promote t he accelerated advancement of writing skills, written communication abilities, and creativity/innovation In addition to these three skill sets, students are expected to de monstrate proficiency in a range of applied skills on the job Applied skills include: critical thinking / problem solving, oral communication, teamwork / collaboration, diversity, information technology application, leadership, lifelong learning / self direction, and professionalism/work ethic (Casner Lotto, 2006). According to the National Council of Teachers of English, these applied skills can be taught through creative inquiry in the l anguage a rts classroom (Yancey, 2009). These applied skills parallel the writing process and the development of self r eg ulatory


4 behaviors in writing. The behaviors and attitudes that need to be present in a successful writing program facilitate the development and deepening of these applied skills and creativity in students. Students need to be explicitly taught these applied skills which presents a challenge for many teachers because instruction that supports the development of applied skills is often time consuming and process based. One prime example is writing instruction that focuses on the execution of the writing process and a focus on the writing process as a process of learning Study Connection Quality writing instruction is pivotal to the academic and intellectual development of students, but it is often overlook ed or given a superficial treatment because many teachers, including l anguage a rts teachers, are not adequately prepared to teach writing To complicate the issue further, even fewer t eachers teach writing as a process ; w riting is often a product based assignment Teachers assign a paper, students complete the paper at home, turn it in and it comes back to them with a grade. T oo often t hat final grade is a seal of completio n; students will not return to graded work to revise. The assignment is finalized without having students really work through the process of writing and without an authentic audience or purpose Students face a unique paradox then in the writ ing instr uction or often lack thereof they receive With the introduction of Common Core State Standards, students are seeing more and more writing assigned in all of their content area classes. There is a greater emphasis on writ ing to learn and using writing to deepen content specific understanding. Teachers in every content area are expected to teach writing. With the


5 implementation of CCSS, schools can expect to see a sys temic overhaul in how writing is taught and used in most classrooms (Graham et al, 200 5 ). That means that all teachers will need to be taught how to teach writing. In order to teach writing and support Writing is a goal dire cted and self sustained cognitive activity that requires the skillful management of the classroom environment, an understanding of the writing topic and genre of discourse, the intentions of the writer, an understanding of compositional skills, and, a bove all else, knowledge of process ( Graham et al, 2005 ). Unfortunately, many students are given inadequate writing instruction. Students have little time to practice writing in an academic setting, mainly the classroom, and are rarely offered writing inst ruction that spans their curriculum or connects to their lives in authentic ways (Lenhart et al, 2008). Writing needs t o be practiced in the classroom and practiced frequently. Writing is best taught as a holistic approach that connects subjects and conten t (Lenhart et al, 2008). Teachers should pay mind to these recommendations because students reported that their interest in writing depended on their t eacher s interest and curriculum. Furthermore, students want their assignment to relate to them and their interests specifically (Lenhart et al, 2008). When students were given the option to self select topics or fit writing assig nments to their personal interests, they reported that their mandatory writing was more enjoyable and meaningful (Lenhart et al, 2008). However, students also recognize the deficiencies in the writing instruction that they are receiving. 82 percent o f the teens surveyed said that additional time in class writing would improve their writing abilities. They would also like additional instruction in writing from their


6 teachers (Lenhart et al, 2008). Students are aware of the value of writing. They understand that their ability to write effectively will have an impact on their future education and career p rospects. 98 percent of teens surveyed by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the National Commission on Writing (2008) agreed that writing was at least somewhat important for their future success. Of these, more than 56 percent said that writin T eens care about the quality of writing instruction they are receiving ; they know that writing is cr ucial to their future success. Writing is an indispensable tool for learning. It also provides a connection point that elicits empathetic response and interpersonal understanding. Writing establishes a link between family, friends, colleagues, and strangers (Graham et al, 200 5 ). It is universally connective and valuable. Teaching writing has a strong impact on how students read. An increase in writing output leads directly to an increase in reading abi lity (Graham et al, 2005). As an art form, it is one of the only medi a in which people get to make sense of their world, share experiences and information, explore who they are, combat difficult emotions, and make meaning of their chronicled experience(s). Writing can be beneficial psychologically and physiologically (Smyth as cited by Graham et al, 200 5 ). Writing a ffects the way that people think, learn, feel, and read. W riting is and in life It is important, therefore, that the most effective methods are used in teaching student s to write.


7 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW The Habit of Creativity The demands of the 21 st Century are demands of accelerated innovation. The Google model has been adopted by other businesses and some innovative schools Under this model employees ( an d students in less occu r r e nt instances ) are allowed to use 20 percent of their work time for personal endeavors and pet projects (Pink, 2009). The products created d uring this self designated work time are often the most innovative. T o use the Google mo del again, Google engineers create some of their most remarkable breakthroughs during their free time, including developing gmail and Google News (Pink, 2009). These companies have discovered that employees are more producti ve and engaged when they are intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation comes from a sense of autonomy, purpose, and mastery (Pink, 2009). When people are motivated intrinsically, the existent impediments are easily surmountable. Those who are motivated from within act with resolve and fortitude and they demonstrate deep commitment to the tasks at hand They have a vision (Pink, 2009). These same attitudes and dispositions should be cultivated in schools. Unfortunately, these factors are rar ely present but they can be if students are encour aged to discover their passions (Robinson, 2009). Giving students the opportunity to discover their passions requires that they be given time to explore. Classroom time, a la the 20 percent model, needs to be designated for exploration of topics of interest to the individual Freedom of time, or rather from the constraints of it, allows for openness and creativity


8 When students are given opportunities to explore creatively, they co nnect with their own sense of possibility and purpose (Robinson, 2009). Once students uncover their talents, they exp erience a greater sense of sel f confidence (Robinson, 20 09 ). Students who are prompted to explore ideas creatively or create innovative artifacts redefine problems, question and analyze assumptions, encourage the generation of ideas, identify and surmount obstacles, take sensible ris ks, tolerate ambiguity, believe in themselves (self efficacy), discover what they love to do, delay gratification, allow mistakes, personal successes and fai lures, and continue to allow for intellectual growth (Sternberg, 200 6 p. 91). At some point, the skills acquired through creative process and applied toward a product become students for the advan cing century, we should be looking to instill these mindsets (risk taking in the face of am biguity, delay ing gratification, surmounting obstacles, generating and pursuing ideas ) The instillation of these mindset s is not necessarily a difficult endea More important ly it depends on the embedded culture practices and expectations of the school. Children are naturally creative, imaginative, and innovati ve but in school they are syste matically trained to think in more linear, traditional ways (Ro binson, 2009). By high school, too many students sense of imaginary worlds and experimental play is all but lost. Students are given messages, both implicit and explicit, that they either are or are not creative. This messaging occurs in areas other than creativity as well and by the time many students reach adolescence they act out their prescribe d This prescriptive branding of kids can be detrimental to students ac ross the continuum, from


9 remedial (Dweck, 2006). Undoing these mindsets is difficult, but can be more easily achieved if students are introduced to creative processes in schools. Students must be encouraged to experiment, innovate, delay gratification, seek intrinsic motivation rewards, and tolera te ambiguity (Sternberg, 2006). Furthermore, creating is the most sophisticated cognitive process, and if students are to truly learn they must create (Krathwohl, 2002) I f parents and educ ators want to encourage development of the whole child, we must defer from any kind of labeling or messaging direct or implied. avid R Krathwohl who placed creating at the top of the thought hierarchy (Krathwohl, 2002). Creation synchroniz es thinking and doing. It is based on conceptual knowledge (Krathwohl, 2002), but is in essence, a metacognitive function (Fasko, 2001). Metacognitive functions are though ts that monitor thoughts They are the combination of knowledge and regulation. Metacognitive functions operate in process and the processing is linked to intelligence. Another common phrase for the monitoring of met acognitive processes is self regulation which can be effectively taught through process based curric ula, and i n particular, writing instruction that emphasizes process over product. When students are taught in this fashion, they use hab its of focus, practice, and discipline, and they appl y these habits to ot her learning goals (Oreck et al 1999). Harris, Graham, and Mason (2006) found that the self regulatory behaviors of goal setting, self monitoring, and self instruction helped student s to accomplish difficult tasks and to grow A process based curriculum is tremendously valuable, but process teaching takes time.


10 The first step in a process based curriculum treatment is planning for habituation. Creative thinking can be taught, or mor e accurately habituated (Sternberg, 2012). Creativity is a habit : an adopted behavior that when repeated regularly enough becomes almost involuntary (Sternberg, 2012, p.3) In order to habituate students, conditions must remain consistent over time If students are to think critically and solve problem s they must be presented with problems that allow them to explore their worlds Further, they must be show n how to do so and then given am ple time to experiment. The habituation of creativity requires that students be taught to perceive their challenges as moments ripe with potential growth (Dweck, 2006 ). This shifting of perception is easier for some students than for others, but with time, creative thought processes can be habituated by all, each in a manner that fits the individual. Once creative behavior becomes habituated, the person sees the ir sel f differently Perceived Self efficacy study on youth spoken word programming (2010) she found that teens went from being novice writers to expert writers in a fairly brief period of time These teens developed literate identities, in which they saw themselves as writers. They were aware of th e moves that they made in writing, the themes in their work, their areas of strength, and their areas of growth. As they developed the habits, and eventually the identities, of writers, teens experienced a greater sense of belonging, stro ve for excellenc e, and challenged themselves to move the artistic community forward. Succes s in the arts changes the way students execute self regulatory behaviors. Students are aware of the strategies they use in order to be successful : habits of focus, prac tice, and


11 discipline. They learn to apply these habits to other learning goal s (Oreck et al, 1999). Harris, Graham, and Mason (2006) found that the self regulatory behaviors of goal setting, self monitoring, and self instruction helped students accomplish difficult tasks and grow, specifically as writers. These self regulatory behaviors established affective The affective outcomes of writing instruction are enduring. According to Oreck et al. (1999), the developme nt of writing skills can positively affect the personal qualities that are critical to becoming psychologically healthy and productive adults (p. 69). regulation, and stron g identit y formation (commonly without adolescent identity crisis ) (Oreck et al, 1999, p. 70). Writing instruction improves self efficacy, and self aspirations, motivations, academic accomplishments, and resilience to failure (Bandura, 1993). Chil dren with the same level of cognitive skill development differ in their intellectual performance depending on the strength of their perceived self efficacy (Bandura, 1993, p. 136). Perceived self efficacy can be directly enhanced thro ugh real life writing tasks (Weinstein, 2010). Additionally, children with a high sense of self efficacy behave more prosocially (Bandura, 1993. p 137). Weinstein (2010) found that student s who participated in spoken word poetry tropes had therapeutic experienc es that allowed them to overcome social barriers, such as shyness and lack of confidence. Positive self identification not only influences self efficacy and socialization, it improves academic outcomes. The habituation of creativity and the development of self regulatory behaviors can be achieved through a writing curriculum that emphasizes process.


12 Writing Instruction Writing instruction should be process based, student directed, and gradually releasing in order to ensure the development of self regulat ory behaviors in students Writing instruction is critical to student achievement in all content areas. Writing is a unique cognitive experience in that it supports the development and cementation of thoughts, supports knowledge transfer, and facilitates c ommunication. As a learning tool, by curriculum developers and educators. Prioritization is evident in t he Common Core State Standards (Graham et al, 2013). With CCSS, students are expected to write in eve ry content area class. Through content area writing, students deepen their knowledge and apply fact based learning in meaningful, critical ways. One challenge then is for teachers of content area courses who have a limited background as writers thems elves. Many of these teachers have not been taught to write through a process writing model, and in their content specific fields the output of written product is valued beyond the writing process. T his changes the parameters of writ ing instruction in English classes In their English classes, s tudents should be taught to see writing in a different light. W hile all content areas should provide students with quality writing instruction, it is in English class where students really lear n to be writers this requires process instruction. O nce students learn to be writers in English class writing in other content areas become s easier. A self regulating, confident writer can learn to write in different modes and adapt to different g enres Process based instruction can be effectively taught through personal narrative. In many other content area courses, students are asked to write informational non fiction. Their converge with their personal interests and life


13 experiences. M otivation increases when students feel a level of connection to the assigned work (Weinstein, 2009). They are motived to write when they can self select topics that are relevant to thei r lives and interests so personal writing can be a great motivator. The rec ounting of lived experiences through writing allows students to make makes tha t happening more real and often understandable. We need both to record and to (Murray, 2009, p. 17). Students report pleasure in writing pieces that effectively comm unicated their thoughts. If these pieces were recognized positively, student s felt increased inspiration and motivation (Lenhart et al 2008). The self exploratory aspect of writing also allows room for creative writing. Students expressed a positive relation to writing enjoyment under partic ular instruction and environmental conditions. Students reported that having teachers who challenged them and gave detailed feedback was a great motivator (Lenhart et al 2008). Students also reported that writing for an audience motivated them to write mo re and write well (Lenhart et al 2008). According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the single greatest motivator for student writing was people teacher s parent s friends, peers, etc. (Lenhart et al 2008). That is why writing instruction should be collaborative and designed with an end goal of public sharing. Sharing written work, especially writing that is personal in nature, often requires surrendering to vulnerability. When writers share their work with an audience, they tak e a risk. When teachers ask students to take risk s and allow themselves to be vulnerable, the teachers must be willing to do the same (Urbanski, 200 5). This fosters an


14 environment of safety. If risk taking can be framed as a positive experience, it becomes easier to take risks. Teachers, then, who risk sharing their own writing open the door for their students to do the same. And in so doing, students can learn confidence, courage and trust. Self regulatory Strategy Development Risk taking is critical to the development of self efficacy and self perception. In the classroom, self efficacy operates at three levels of beliefs: students, teachers, and faculties (Bandura, 1993 p. 117). Students need to believe that they are agents in their own ed ucation. A sense of agency allows students to take more ownership. When students feel that they can regulate their own learning and master academic challenges, they also demonstrate higher aspirations and motivation (Bandura, 1993 beliefs prom as educators. When teachers believe that they can motivate their students and cons truct learning environments where students can continuously demonstrate success and growth, stu dents are more likely to experience an increase in their sense of self efficacy (Bandura, 1993 ). These learning environments, constructed initially by teachers but maintained by students, should teach that ability is an acquirable skill. In highly efficaci ous learning environments, the effort of learning is of the utmost value (Dweck, 2006). When learning is the focus to the academic environment, competition is deemphasized. The measure of academic success and growth is self comparison. The focus of learnin g should be on individual students progress and personal accomplishments (Bandura, 1993 ). To further promote the conception of self efficacy in students, teachers should demonstrate to


15 students how to set personal goals. When personal goals are set, they should focus on capability and capacity development. perceived self efficacy the higher they set their goals. W hen students believe in their self efficacy and set high goals for themselves, they are also like ly to expend greater effort. The most efficacious students continuously expend their greatest effort and usually persever e through numerous difficulties. When students feel a strong sense of self efficacy not only are they willing to k eep trying to succeed, but they are more likely to respond positiv ely to failure (Bandura, 1993). Goal setting is appraisal: the stronger the perceived self efficacy, the higher the goal (Bandura, 1993). Beliefs about self efficacy impact motivation in the following ways: they determine the goals that students set, how much effort they expend on the goal, how long they preserve, and how resilient they are to failure (Bandura, 1993, p. 131). When students act upon positive beliefs of their own ability to succeed, they develop the capacit y to be self regulatory learners. Formal education then, should be designed to equip students with the capacities to self regula te their learning. Self regulated learning requires motivation and both cognitive and metacognitive strategies on the part of the student. The first part of the process is supporting students as they develop the intellectual tools to begin to self reg ulate. Students need to have knowledge of their subject matter, and that knowledge should be built upon exist ing prior knowledge. The development of content understanding is different for each student, so the teacher must know how to assess wh at their students know at the beginning of instruction where they need to go in order to be self re going to get there. The teacher should design instruction so that aids are progressively reduced as


16 students become more compet ent (Bandura, 1993, p.140). This strategy, the progressive reduction of teacher and instructional support, is called guided mastery. The graduated steps begin in full support, the content objectives are straightforward and easily achieved in small steps and progressively these content objectives become more challenging for the student (Bandura, 1993) The goal in guided mastery instruction is for the novice to become the expert and shift the participant roles between the teacher and her students (Weinst ein, 2009). In writing instruction, self regulatory strategy development begins with establishing knowledge. Students need to be explicitly taught writing strategies. The initial strategies that students are introduced to should be simple and easy for th em to execute from all levels of background knowledge both generally and in writing specifically. When students demonstrate mastery of strategies, they should be introduced to more advanced strategies while simultaneously being taught how to regulate the use of the strategies they currently know. As they develop strategies for w riting and the ability to regulate the use of strategies, students should examine their writing behaviors. At this stage of the development of self regulatory behaviors in students, students are engaged in metacognitive functions that require them to exami ne their learning, their use of strategies, and their continu ed regulatory behaviors, paired with deepening knowledge and motivation, propels their development as writers (Graham et al., 2005 ). Instruction that promotes the development of self regulated strategy development should be a keystone to writing curriculum design. Teachers should plan how and what writing strategies their students need to be explicitly taught, how to use these stra tegies,


17 and procedures for regulating these strategies (Graham et al., 2005 ). Instruction should be designed in graduated steps that progressively reduce the amount of teacher based t use of writing (Bandura, 1993). In this process, students and their teacher are equal, active co llaborators (Graham et al., 2005 ). Curriculum designed in this fashion prioritizes the role of learning over all else. Under this model, instruction should be criterion rather than time based so that student can move through each instructional and strategy development stage at their own pace (Graham et al., 2013). As students move through instructional and strategy development the type of feedback that they r eceive from their students develop the capacity to be independent, self regulated writers, teachers should take less responsibility for providing feedba ck (Graham et al., 2013). The promotion of self perception of writing efficacy, and improved self efficacy in writing has a global effect on academic goals and attainments (Bandura, 1993). The benefits of graduated, self regulatory writing instruction are evident, but how precisely is this type of instruction developed? Through a process model, students are taught to look at the interplay of process steps in the creation of the final writte n product. Process bas ed instruction for writing teaches students to see that writing is a fluid, interrelated process.


18 CHAPTER III STUDY DESIGN Overview This study is an examination of the effectiveness of instruction designed aro und a gradually releasing guided mastery writing curriculum. The aim of the curriculum is to get students to ex ecute self regulatory behaviors and successfully replace the need for an instructor with independent use of writing skills and strategies. The c urriculum has its roots in the work of Don Murray (2009) Ralph Fletcher (1996) and Penny Kittle (2006) s meta ana lysis, Writing Next (2007) The writing curriculum under review here has been de veloped to based instruction The process model supports the development of self regulatory behaviors while working with students to improve their writing efficacy as writers. The executi on of this curriculum depends upon the teacher design ing instructional supports that gradually reduce, with the ultimate goal of full student control over, and success for, their own work As students work through the curriculum, they will learn writing skills and strategies, select appropriate strategies according to the demands of the composition, and r eflect on their decisions as writers. Students will work through the creative process of writing with greater independence. In this stud y, I will develop a writing curriculum for 9 th grade l anguage a rts. The curriculum begins with will develop with frequency and exposure, so the practice of daily writing is an initial


19 crucial step s with writing begin to shift from knowledge to a more fluid practice they will be introduced to skills based exercises These practices are designed t With the tool kit in place, students will become increasingly independent writer s and self editors Using their skills, students will eventually draft narratives. The final step in tran sitioning students from novice to expert writers through the curriculum is to release them from their need of an instructor overseeing their work The workshop model that students will work within through the revision process of their n arratives is designed for s purpose is to move instructional support from a teacher st udent relationship to a student student instructional team eventually leading students to self regulation. The instru ctional model established in this curriculum gradually releases supports for students so that they can ultimately be their own feedback and revision vehicles thusly masters Self regulation the ability to monitor of all writers. Curriculum Design The writing practice and process is distinctly different for each individual. Students select their own topics for writing and develop tho se topics in sustained, multi stage pieces of writing. Ultimately, students will engage in the writing behaviors executed by writers outside of the confines of academic writing formulas. Students will have ample time to develop their fundamental skills bef writer's workshop. Students will be thoroughly prepared to engage in workshops as experts at the end of the curriculum progression


20 Before students begin the shift to self regulatory writing habits by means of gradual release, they need to build a foundation for writing fluency. Ralph Fletcher (1996) suggests that writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised. People learn to write by writing. If students are to improve as writers they must write often. I argue that writers need to write daily. Writing is a habit t hat must be cultivated (Murray, 2009 ). In order to cultivate the habit of writing, I have established the practice of dail y writing in Borrowing a term from Don Murray, I call these journals D aybook s (2009) The idea behind Daybooks is emphasized in the daily aspect of this practice : s tudents write every day in order to find their voice and themes in their work One of t he benefits of keeping a Daybook is prior a ctivation. The brain anticipates the writing activity well before it begins and prepares for the task in beforehand (Kittle, 2006). This subconscious cognitive preparation is non regulated habituation. The mind responds to anticipated activity i n advance of the activity, and when the anticipated activity is a daily occurrence, the mind frequently returns to preparatory anticipation. Whether actively or passively, students are planning and preparing for upcoming writing activities. Their brains ar e being habituated to the practice of daily writing, in and beyond the classroom. The hope for Daybook writing is that writing becomes a habit for students that transcends the classroom and enters daily life. We introduce and begin to use Daybooks on the first day of class. Instead of beginning the course with the introductory talk, students begin class by writing. This signifies to students that the priority in this class is writing (Murray, 2009 ). Daybook prompts are initially offered by the teacher Each day, students


21 are presented with two prompt options. Prompts begin with an invitation: ell me. . The open endedness of this prompt format allows stu dents to enter the writing in a dialogical mode as though they a re in conversation When prompted T have a personal entry point. After students are familiar with Writing Into the Day prompts, once each week they will be giv en the option to w rite about whatever they want This allocation of time ends up being 20 percent of their Daybook writing time Th is 20 percent of student designated time is an idea that I have borrowed from the Google model (Pink, 200 9 ). In their daily writing, students are supported by the teacher in regard to idea generation. The intention of prompts is to lead students to ideas and memories that they would have ot herwise not accessed. The Daybook functions as a master catalogue of student ideas. In the early habituation of daily w riting, students need to be guided into subject matter A fter several weeks of Writing Into the Day with prompts, students are given opportunities to self select topics. Students need to be taught how to generate ideas (Kittle, 2006), and teache rs need to help students generate ideas (Graham et al, 2005). The release to self selection is an important transitional step for students as they move towards developing longer pieces. Daybook practice is a normative experience that needs to be establis hed from the outset of the school year. O ne important factor is that w hen students practice writing, they should see their teacher writing too and in a similar mode (Kittle, 2006). In this type of writing course the teacher does not c reate the model; the teacher is the model (Kittle, 2006). Teacher modeling and sharing builds trust and community (Kittle, 2006). If teachers want students to be vulnerable and take risks, they need to show students how to be vulnerable and take risks (Urbanski, 2005). The teacher is a model of self regulatory


22 writing behaviors: from idea generation to final revision. If the teacher is to adequately model writing behaviors, the teacher needs to be an experienced practicing writer herself. In addi tion to having experience, teachers should demonstrate enthusiasm for writing. As a writer and a teacher, I try to impart my own passion for the art of writing in the classroom. The environment that I have established is open and collaborative. I n my work with students there are various forms of interaction: one to one, small group, whole class, and conference style. The interactions can occur with or without the teacher present. Interaction styles are fluid and ever changing which makes them adaptable to a range of student needs. Adaptability and flexibilit y are key to a successful writing environment. I design and adapt instruction and assignments to benefit and promote the needs of individual students while deciding how mu ch support the individual needs so that they can function with less and less instructional support at each level. T he goal of education is to teach students well enough so that they no longer need a teacher (Bandura, 1993) In order to promote this goal, t he learning environment needs to emphasize the value of effort. The philosophy of the classroom should be that learning is a process that involves trying hard, taking risks, and p ersevering in the face of failures. Every student needs to be taught that writing skills and creativity can be learned. Students should see that the standards that their teacher sets for them are high, and that they are high because they are realistically achievable. I established an environment wher e writing was a normati ve habit and standards for learning and effort were very high With these elements in place, students began working on enhancing their writing via skills specific instruction.


23 Writing skills instruction was separated into four categories: language usage and and using mentor texts, and the writing process. Language usage skills instruction was designed to get students to examine the ways in which they use language to convey emotion, character, action, etc. One skills connotative effects of words that were serialized. An example is: slim, slender, thin, skinny Students repeate early in the school year, so that their language usage became attuned to th e connotative effects of word selection. Once students began to look at the effects of word choice for themselves as writers and for their audiences as readers they worked on improving their use of description. In substitutions for more vivid words. Instruction began with adjectives, and students worked on replacing flat adjectives with precise, robust descriptives. Through this set of skills instruction, I wrote sever al models of both weak and vivid descriptions. Once students had a handle on the power of adjective selection, they moved on to enhancing their verb usage. We followed a similar method : s tudents first identified their verbs and then conside red substitutions to make their verb usage more lively. I generated examples for them, with them and then they found examples in choice reading books. The instructional focus on language usage characterized the first quarter of the school year. Once stude nts beg an to consider the how and why of word selection in writing, we moved on to developing the ir s The On Writing (2000) In this book, King explains how he learned to develop and then hone in


24 on his craft by breaking it down into smaller, practicable skills Conceptual and craft skills in writing need to be explicitly taught if we expect students to use the m in writing. Some of the concepts we covered were: figurative language, precision and concision, characterization, pacing and movement on the page, and dialogue. Students were taught figurative writing at an elementary level first : they learned the types of figurative expressions and then practiced writing them. After practicing figurative expression s they were tasked with using figurative language (metaphor and simile spec ifically) to embody the five senses. After they worked on sensory, figurative language, they were taught how to sustain figurative writing in extended metaphors. These extended metaphors could have been written in a variety of forms, but most students chos e to write them as poems. After students established a foundation for writing sustained figurative pieces, they were assigned to an exercise in personifying place. That is, t hey had to select one room in their home and capture the character of the place The progression of their figurative language instruction allowed students to build skills on top of skills and apply them in longer narratives. Figurative writing allows for open application of language, and students can be taught to write creatively through figurative speech. After students had opportunities to practice with figurative language, which is often poetic and verbose, th ey had to flex their skills in the reverse direction. By this I mean, their next skill was working on precision and concision: saying exactly what they mean t to say with as few words as possible. I explained that these were exercises in distillation Students first practiced concision/precision with reading responses. They w ere assigned wo Sentence S ummaries. They were instructed to


25 capture and convey the story, and they were allowed to use only one compound sentence This exercise taught students to edit out superfluous words. Economy in lan guage is an important skill, but difficult to demonstrate. Often economy can be demonstrated best through word play. After doing wo S entence S ummaries for a quarter of th e school year, students started practicing with concision and precision i n more creative ways. An students have to tell a story in ten sentences. The first sentence has ten words, the words per sentence progressively decrease and the final se ntence has one word This is a very challenging writing exercise, but it taught students to see how language economy works their own formulas. The formulas they made we re first visual ; students mapped out the patterns of their sentences with rectangular boxes, each indicating a single word. Students built pyramids, wrote sentences of prime number counts, wrote sentences that revealed personal information like birth dates and age ; really their sentence patterning was limitless in its creative potential. Exercising economy is a practical tool for all types of writing: creative, expository, argumentative, etc. Exercises of economy attune students to the exactness of language and t he power of precise conveyance. Once students are able to shape language When I teach characterization, I teach that place/setting functions as a chara cter too in that it imbues its own mood and tone and a dds dimension to the narrative. When developing the for characterization, I have students begin with place, n place. Students


26 are what stage place as a livable space for characters to interact with in Students practiced ich they had to de scribe one room in their house. Setting is a foundation for the world in which characters interact, the world in which characters are challenged, the world in which characters grow, and the shades in which setting is painted directly impa nvironment and their existence. Characterization is the lynchpin to narrative development. The 20 th Century introduced the era of the character driven novel, and in lesser degrees the character driven non fiction n arrative (the Postmoderns in particular). Contemporary readers and writers still prioritize character beyond other narrative elements. Therefore, if students are to write strong narratives and tell compelling stories, they need to start with strong charac terization. Characterization is craft tool in the that takes many shapes and forms. Writers of personal narratives, memoir specifically, need to d ea l a deft hand in their portrayal of others and themselves in their stor ies I liken char acterization to portrait painting, and to demonstrate this idea visually, I show students portraits from Diego Velazquez, Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and the self portrait s of Lucia n Freud In these visual demonstrations, I want students to perceive the a ttitude of the painter towards their subject. I translate this idea then, the attitude of the artist toward their subject, to tone. Character portrayal is an exercise that needs regular practice, so students begin their character portraits with char acters who are already established. Using class novels, specifically To Kill a Mockingbird, Beowulf and The House on Mango Street students


2 7 create character sketches. These sketches are literally illustrations of their characters. These visual imaginings help students to see characters. Once students have an image of their characters, they analyze the interior landscape of their characters. They examine motivations, fears, o bsessions, moral dilemmas, etc. After working with characters of prior construct ion, students build their own characters. I have developed a game where students randomly select personal traits: age, personality, gender, and occupation. While I recognize that these are limited traits and not entirely defining, they give students a shad ow of who their character will be as he or she takes shape. The pairing of the four traits often presents unique combinations. For example, a character might be a 37 year old female scientist who is stubborn. Students once again literally sketch their cha racters first Upon completing their sketches, students complete character surveys where they have to consider a range of experiences and props character have any collecti ons? ion or attitude towards faith? e tc. These fictional character constructs teach students that character development must be robust Once they have a sense of crafting charac ters they move on to non fiction characterization and characterizing the key players in their lives. At this stage, I share my own models, and present character sketches of my sister, mother, and father. I first portray these characters as portraits (wri tten sketches really), and then I put them in scene. My modeling affords students the opportunity to see how I select key details and personality traits to bring life to the people in my own life Students practice characterizing family and friends After they have a solid grasp on characterizing


28 others, they direct the craft inward and work on personal characteriz ation. I tell students that the first gift they were eve r given was their names, and using the idea of naming as a revelation of character, I ha ve students write narrative about their names. Before they The House on Mango Street explores the natur e of her name, how it feels to the ear and on the tongue, how it tells the story of her lineage, and it shows innate expectation. The ment or text model is another tool for gradual release into skill building. By using the trope of naming to develop a chara cter sketch, students also learn the value of names and their connotative power in writing The final stage in the development of characterization in the is self characterization. The revelation of self as character is essential in memoir It is also the most difficult aspect of personal narrative writing because it requires an objective portrayal of self w hich is tremendously difficult. Students begin self characterization by describing themselves based on re wearing ; this allows students to maintain some objectivity. Once I have a feeling that they understand how to portray themselves as characters on the page, we practice writing character sketches similar to those stud ents have already written. Presentation of character also depends on staging. By this I mean, how, when and why characters are cued into the narrative and what they say. Dialogue brings characters to life. It is the primary means o f rounding out character s, giving them a dynamic that the reader can interact with, and allowing space for dr amatic irony or reader insight. The realness of speech is often difficult to capture for novice writers. Most conversations


29 are tangential and circuitous and fragmented. In verbal interactions, people rarely say exactly what they mean to say in their first utterances. Speech and the flavor of sounding authentic when captured on the page, can add a special dynamism to the narrative To They are assigned to go to a public space, preferably one where they are not well acquainted with the speakers whose conversations they will be transcribing, and write down the conversation. They nee d at least two written pages of dialogue. At this time, they are instructed to be less concerned with cueing and punctuating dialogue, because their goal is to capture real conversations. This exercise is a breakthrough exercise for most students. They ret urn to p eople These reckonings help students to write dialogue that sounds and feels real. The last element in the is pacing and movement on the page. This is how writers speed the narrative up, slow action down, zoom in on a scene It also involves the use of fores hadowing and backstory to change the tempo of narrative pace. When students learn how to use language cinematically I rely on the metaphor of a film camera here they learn how to alter the emotional landscape, mood and tone of the narrative. These mov ements on the page create dynamism that brings the narrat ive lushness and believability. To teach these elements, I begin with mentor texts. in on a scene until one can see it done by another author. Player Piano The scene begins with an overview of the town that focuses on its postwar history, then


30 discussing the mentor example with students, I show them how I would write my scene using this technique of zooming in When I finish my modeling, I set students to work on their own exercise. After they have a grasp of this movement inward, I have them change direct ion and work on zooming out of the narrative. From here I explain that these movements can happen across a range of point s of view the text. This movement on the page leads nicely into pace practice. Narrative pacing is a difficult skill to master, but o nce novice writers establish an understand ing of the functions of pace, the simplest devices of pacing can make a significant impact Using examples from film and television to illustrate my p oint, I demonstrate to students that moments of dramatic action, either right before or during, are set in slow motion. Putting dramatic moments in slow motion builds suspense and of events to ensue Once students have a vi sual understanding of the effect of slow motion, I show them examples in writing. I use i n t minute in real time but spans the length of five pages. We discuss how Wolff slows down the action of the story by slowing down his language. He simplifies sentences, starts wri te my own slow motion scene for students. Then in the same formul a of gradual release previously iterated, students practice writing their own scenes. In the same thread of zooming in then zooming out, I have students practice the opposite of slow I explain to students that accelerated pacing can help them leap over periods of time,


31 sequence semi linear narratives in a more linear fashion, or simply cut out the mundane. chronology by the narrator. In this example, students can see how narrative voice out pace Ultimately, the idea is that students should know how to pace their stories and what different paces do for the overall effect of the narrative. The last elements of movement and pacing skills in the are fl ashbacks and foreshadowing. In my experience, students are familiar with flashbacks and foreshadowing, so I have them find examples in their choice reading books. Once students have examples, I ask them to explain what the author is doing with th ese tool s and why the author is using foreshadowing or backstory a t this particular moment By examining the moves that other writers make, we can discover ways in which we can make similarly successful moves in our own writing. I then show students flashback stru ctures, the two main ones being beginning a story to frame a flashback or using a flashback as a bookend. I model a flashback frame for them, and then have them experiment with their own flashback development. We spend less time on backstory, because it of ten occurs organically in storytelling, and if students focus too much on it the exposition can bog down narrative pace. exercises and mentor text modeling is to get students to understand the power inherent in language. The latter tools that I cover with students, characterization of place and person, dialogue, pacing and movement, are tools of showing and not telling. The saying


32 mantra of successful narrative writing. These exercises reveal to students the pow er of showing and teach them how to show with precision, clarity, and beauty. The establishment of the focuses student s attention on the affective capabilities of language. Students work on their tool kits so that they can write their personal experiences with brightness and hon esty. This is essential for emotional resonance and expressing the human condition, but it cannot be fully conveyed unless the machines of language, grammar and syntax, are used correctly. Grammar instruction is equally important. I explain to students th at punctuation text, where they slow down, where they pause, where they yield, where they stop. Proper punctuation allows writers to get their message across, and from da y one in the classroom, I stress the value of using punctuation and grammar correctly. My grammar instruction is always in contex t primarily through choice reading books (Anderson, 2005) While there are widely different theories about tra ditional grammar instruction and diagramming, I have found contextual instruction most valuable for my students as writers. Students look for examples of punctuation in the books that they read by choice. They rewrite model sentences, practice writing thei r own sentences punctuation, sentence structuring, coordinating and compounding, syntactical shifts, and so on. Their grammar practice is conceptually graduated beginning w ith simple comma usage like serialization and ending with punctuating dialogue and other multi mark systems (Anderson, 2005) I have also found it valuable to make grammar practice


33 collaborative and competitive. Students work together to find the best mod el sentences and compete in monthly scavenger hunts. They become watchers of words and their placement within sentences is the techn ique of r eading as a w riter. Students read mentor texts and examine writing to uncover the tools and tricks that other authors use to make their work stand out To be successful r eading as a w riter should be inspi red by wonder and enthusiasm. Students should read sense of wonder can be modeled by a teacher, and I bring examples of writing that I love and ponder for my students all the time. I show them how I examine language structure and word choice, how I then use these observations in my own writing Once students are exposed to r eading a s a w riter their curiosity is piqued, and the skill cannot easily be unlearned. Reading in this way teaches students to look at writing as human product, a n outgrowth of craft and creativity. Reading as a w riter teaches students to see the artist on the canvas. It teaches them to see themselves as artists too. I have found that r eading as a w riter is the best way to approach mentor text reading. When my students bega n their final writing unit, they defined the genre of memoir. Their definitions we re constructed from their own interaction with memoirs They read several examples of memoirs from Jeannette Walls, Domingo Martinez, Frank McCou rt, Gary Paulsen and others Once they read these m emoir excerpts, they construct ed genre text feature charts. This wa s a collaborative exercise, where students work ed in small groups and then as a whole class to define memoir as a genre Students


34 need to have a strong foundation in the assigned genre they are to write in, and the best way to construct such a foundation is through student driven processes. Students understanding of genre is much more me rather than handed down from the teach based instruction and also a key tenet espoused by Katie Wood Ray in Study Drive n (2006) Learning becomes more fixed when the meaning m aker is the student. The intent of my curriculum was to equip students with the skills to become independent, self regulating writers. development, grammar instruction, and r eading as a w riter, were all presented in graduated stag es of release. These stages worked students towards drafting their own memoirs, comprised of three vignettes, revising their work, and participating in student le a d workshops. The final product outcome was a book, complete with front and back covers ded ication page, title page, The final product was designed to give students an authentic audience and purpose: they perform ed and present ed their work to their peers, teacher, and other faculty members. The process approach to instruction is one of the most valuable educational approaches. By t eaching through process, we teach students that they really can learn anything with effort and persistence The process design of my curriculum began with idea generating Students generat ed ideas for over a semester in their Daybooks, and when I introduce d the memoir assignment, I reminded students that they had an arsenal of ideas to draw from in their Daybooks. Additionally, students brainstormed topics for memoirs, combined their topics, and constructed a class wide lis t of potential ideas. From the simple stage of brainstorming ideas, students began working with idea generation at a


35 visual level. Bringing non written, generative exercises into the classroom helps students explore subject in new ways. When students ill ustrate or map their experiences, for example, they be gin to see the places of their experience through different lenses They are often able to uncover buried memories and connect to them at a sensory level. They navigate space and memory in a more tangible way. The non written, generative exercise s that have been most successful for me are mapping exercises Students are assigned to write vignettes of place, but before they begin their initial drafts they draw maps. The first m ap that I have students draw is a map of a house that remains vivid in their memory. The house can be any house so long as the y can remember its layout. Once they draw out the floor plan, I have them jot down memories and sensory recollections about any aspect of that house that they remember The next map that they create is a neighborhood map. This exercise is virtually the same as the house mapping, it just captures the spirit of a larger geographic area. Once again, students write memories onto their maps. The aim of these visual exercise s is to inspire students to subject matter. Sometimes our most potent memories are those that remain hidden from immediate view. The next exercise for idea generation that students perform is also visual in nature. U sing the metaphor of life as a river, students draw empty rivers. These rivers are then filled with stones. On the stones students write significant life events, beginning of course with their birth s After students finish drawing their rivers, I have t hem color code preference, but some suggestions I offer include: memories where I learned something about myself, memories where a learned a valuable lesson about my actions, memoirs


36 that I can still see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. When students finish coding their memories, I ask them to share these stories aloud with at least two other classmates. It is important to note that t hroughout the generative process, I model f or students. I make maps of my childhood home my neighbor hood and my own I share my memories and talk about the people and sensory experiences that were present in these places. I model how to be honest and vulnerable These visual too ls are designed to get students to enter their memoirs from a well developed, dimensional space. At any time in the writing process, students m a y return to illustrating or mapping to explore ideas. Once students have at least one working idea establish ed, they begin writing their s tool kit skills to cr aft vivid, palpable narratives. Upon completing the first draft of their narratives students work through a set of revision que stions. The questions are: 1. Have you grounded the reader? 2. Have you shown who the characters are (yourself included)? 3. Can your reader tell your characters apart? 4. Is your language vivid and precise? 5. Does your story have good pace? 6. Do you tel l a complete story? 7. Did you use muscular language? Students have a handout with the questions further explained, bu t the phraseology is familiar in students to start asking qu estions of their narrative. I explain to students that if you learn how to ask the right questions of your writing the text will speak back to you. I believe that self reflection is the first step to revision, and it should also prece de any peer to peer discussions of the work.


37 At this stage in the process, I have student s record their thoughts. I explain to them that this draft is akin to laying the fram e work for a house. You have all the walls built, but the finer details still need to be decided and the piece needs to be decorated. Students work through the seven revision questions, and the n critique opens students up to peer critique, because they have already evaluated their work from a critical, semi objective lens. S tudents then write their second draft which will be the draft that they submit to their workshop groups. Transitioning to workshop is a pivotal moment in the school year. Up until workshop, students have been working on developing the skills and the vocabulary to deconstruct and talk about writing. Th is pivot point is also when I s t ep back from the main instructional role and allow students to regulate the ir own writing Workshop is the in the development of self regulatory writing behaviors. To prime our workshop s I show students examples of workshop on Youtube. The examples th and then they generate ideas for how their workshops will be successful too. After they decide w hat a sound workshop looks, sounds, and feels like, they decide on a system of regulating workshop behaviors and holding each other accountable. The last stage is the construction of a contract. The entire class works together to finalize a contract that i s fair and measureable. The example below is one such contract: Workshop Terms and Conditions


38 We will manage time by staying on task and focusing on the work that we are supposed to get done. nions, making eye contact to show that we are listening, and letting everyone talk. We will respect shared experiences by keeping anything we hear or say to ourselves and not telling anybody outside of class. We will honor our peers and trust them. Everyon e has to participate, everyone needs something to say, everyone need to show what they did. We will hold each other accountable by respecting each other and understanding that all of our writing can be better. Consequences If you do not have a memoir, you do not get to participate in workshop. Instead, you will work on your vignette by yourself, in class, and you will need to review your own work. (You will not get feedback from others.) Students cannot participate in workshop if they have not read their p eers memoirs and provided quality feedback. Instead, they will provide Participation points will be given every workshop based off of scale scores and comments. The last bullet on th e contract indicates the next step in establish ing the workshop. Students all signed the above contract, and they decided that they would like to grade each other on a scale. 1. Reader provided comments that were insightful and coaching, not corrections 2. Reader read for narrative elements and storytelling. 3. Reader offered useful suggestions on the copied vignette. 4. Reader listened actively throughout discussion. 5. Reader enhanced discussion by posing questions and guiding idea development in conversation. 6. Reader maintained respect for all group members. 7. Reader managed time and conversation and did not dominate either. 8. Reader supported my development as a writer and offered me suggestions that were useful and practical. 9. Reader was beneficial to my group. d social behaviors during the workshop


39 These evaluations were completed at the end of workshop discussions. I recorded responses on a roster template, and then shared the evaluations with students. After the evaluations we re scored they bec a me relative ly anonymous (or as anonymous as evaluations can be in groups of four and five). The s e evaluations were not graded. The purpose was to get students to think about how they can best support others as writers. By developing an awareness of how to support oth ers as writers, students begin to learn to support themselves. Peer to peer accountability is the most natural transition into self regulatory writing. The final stage of the writing process that students are primed for workshop is revi sion. Revision is the most important stage of the writing process : it when the story really reveals itself, the details are fine tuned, and the narrative finds its power. Students know the value of revision, and they are given ample time in class to revise. By allotting substantial class time for revision, students see that it is imperative in successful writing (Urbanski, 2005) answered their seven questions, revised their initial drafts, subje cted those drafts to workshop, and received both written and conversational peer commentary. At this stage of self regulatory writing, students should be confident completing their compositions independently. To illustrate in a different way, this is ho w self regulatory strategy development works in my curriculum : Step 1 Use background knowledge Step 2 Build on background knowledge Step 3 Deepen Knowledge Step 4 Independent Use


40 Research Conditions To reiterate, this study is an evaluation of curriculum. I am examining the student improvement in writing and the establishment of self regulated writing behaviors. The research wa s quasi experimental, constructivist action research. As the investigator and instructor, I was a collaborator with subjects, my stu dents The students and I share d similar roles : I preform ed every task that was asked of them (writing every day in class, practicing writing skills, contributing to workshop conversations, providing written feedback, etc.). Gradually, my di rect influence lessen ed and students filled my role as instructor for themselves and their peers. The effectiveness of the gradual release process was tracked by student self assessment s and reflection s Students assess ed thei r writing for strengths and weaknesses, work ed on enhancing and amending through revision, and reflected on the ir process. I looked for evidence of development and deepening in self regulation My interest is in the vocabulary used by students in their self assessments and reflections as it pertain ed to the lexicon of writing. The data revealed students development process in writing from novice to expert. All students cho o se whether or not they want to complete assignments; furthermore, they chose the fashion in which they complete assigned work this is true across the board The first aspect of student consent for my research was student choice in completing work. Assigned work is often incentivized by grade scales, but the work that students submitted in the writer's workshop was not graded only their final projects were graded Students receive d written feedback and coaching for every submission of skills and strategy exercises and multiple draft s, but not a letter grade. They were told


41 that they would receive grade s when their pieces had been revised several times and polished for publ ication. By removing the incentive of grades, students' motivation became more intrinsic. If they wanted to engage with the curriculum, they choose to complete the writing assignments. The motivat or became learning beyond all else. S tudent data was voluntarily accessed; meaning that students decide d if they want ed to submit their self assessments and reflections. Students were informed that I would be us ing their self assessment s and reflections for research, and I explained to them that all personally identifiable information would be withdrawn from their documents. T here was no incentive offered for submitting self assessment and reflections. The information offered by students was de identified. In order to de identify initially, subject names w ere blacked out with permanent marker on all handwritten documents. The documents were then typed into a database Student names were redacted and replaced with a number


42 CHAPTER IV FINDINGS Throughout the revision and workshop process, students were asked to reflect on their work. The list below contains the reflection questions posed to students. Not e that the questions are repeated. The repetition of questioning is intended to track deepening regulatory writing behaviors. Students answered these questions on the multiple drafts of their vignettes that they submitted to me fo r feedback. Their responses influenced the way that I provided feedback and offered overarching recommendations. 8 April 2014 When do you find feedback most effective? 14 April 2014 What specific skills do you need to work on for this next draft cycle? Wh at narrative element do you need extra support on? What aspect of your writing do you most want to improve? What is your greatest challenge in revision right now? 15 April 2014 Tell me about your revision process. How do you feel about your work after rev ising? 17 April 2014 What specific skills do you need to work on for this next draft cycle? What narrative element do you need extra support on? What aspect of your narrative construction do you most want to improve? What is your greatest challenge in rev ision right now? 18 April 2014 What advice did you give to peers that you heeded yourself? How did offering feedback to others change the way that you thought about your own work? Did you see some of the suggestions you offered to others come up as you we re revising your vignette? 21 April 2014


43 What major realizations about craft did you take away from this cycle? How are you going to use some of your realizations in your next drafting cycle? How are you internalizing this process? How are you going to de epen your self reflection about your work? 22 April 2014 What specific skills do you need to work on for this next draft cycle? What narrative element do you need extra support on? What aspect of your writing do you most want to improve? What is your grea test challenge in revision right now? 24 April 2014 What advice did you give to peers that you took yourself? How did offering feedback to others change the way that you thought about your own work? Did you see some of the suggestions you offered to other s come up as you were revising your vignette? What major realizations about craft did you take away from this cycle? How are you going to use some of your realizations in your next drafting cycle? How are you internalizing this process? How are you going t o deepen your self reflection about your work? 12 May 2014 work? How was providing feedback for peers altered by addressing direct targets? Do you feel identifying targets cha 18 May 2014 How has the practice of keeping a daybook influenced your writing? Looking back at your writing from the beginning of the year, how have you improved as a writer? How has your attitude towards writing ch anged over the year? Tell me know what you know about criticism and the potential for growth. How do you feel about taking risks? How do you image yourself as a writer in the future? How important is writing to you? 20 May 2014 How have you become your ow n reviewer/reviser (taken away the supports of peers and teacher and still succeeding)? As your writing skills built, how did you feel about your potential?


44 use d t he language of professional writers, what I have referred to above as the lexicon of craft. They coached each other on how to slow down dramatic moments, how to reveal the internal condition of the characters and inform the reader respectively, ho w to sharpen details, especially those that are speculative, where to add flashbacks, the importance of drawing characters with five senses, and adding dialogue in choice areas. Ultimately, I was looking for students to demonstrate self regulatory writing behaviors and to identify themselves as writers. I found that students responded to self assessment and ref lection questions in four ways: habituation, writing skills, self regulatory behaviors, and academic perception. Out of 210 responses, 36 exhibited evidence of successful habituation, 42 addressed specific writing skills and advancements, 111 demonstrated self regulatory writing identities, and 23 demonstrated that writing for them had become a personally valuable, non acad emically exclusive activity What resound s most acutely from these responses is the number of students who demonstrated self regulatory behaviors. 53 percent of the pooled questions focused on self regulatory writing. Additi onally, these responses demonstrate how self regulatory writing has an inherent connection to the prosocial effects of writing and perceived self efficacy. Upon completing their memoir workshops, final revisions, book compilation, and performance reading, students responded to the following questions: Post revision Reflection Questions: 1. How has the practice of keeping a daybook influenced your writing? 2. Looking back at your writing from the beginning of the year, how have you improved as a writer? 3. How has y our attitude towards writing changed over the year? 4. Tell me know what you know about criticism and the potential for growth.


45 5. How do you feel about taking risks? 6. How do you image yourself as a writer in the future? 7. How important is writing to you? There a re seven questions here. These seven questions were posed to a class of 30, which in sum g a ve me 210 responses. I am aware that these questions provoke specific responses (evidence of self regulator y behaviors, habituation, etc.), but they are stil perceptions. To demonstrate the types of responses draw from student questions that evidence habituation, I have pulled the following responses: Student 1: I used to not like to write, but having to wri te everyday got me used to it so now I actually like writing. Student 2: The practice of keeping a daybook has influenced my writing by allowing me to practice different types of writing. Also, I have gathered ideas and place emotion into my writing. Stu dent 3: The practice of keeping a daybook influenced my writing by making it better. I got to practice every day. Over the year I have actually started liking writing. These three students demonstrate a range of effects produced by Daybook writing and wr iting habituation. Students 1 and 3 both express a newfound enjoyment for writing. a space for exploration and discovery. They also function as a place to keep ideas and musings. The writing that students produced in my class was atypical, i n that it focused almost exclusively on their voice and their experiences. Students in my cl ass learned to s ee writing a s more than just an academic assignm ent:


46 Student 4: Writing about emotional/personal experiences has changed the way I thought about writing because I used to think writing was just about school assignments (ex: resea rch papers, biographies, etc.) Student 5: I used to see writing as only an academic duty. Now I see that writing skills area a must for the future. Student 2: My attitude towards writing has become a way to escape my problems and the world. Before it was Student 6: I have improved from the beginning of the year because I find it a lot easier to write about what I want. I used to write really well when I was given a prompt but now I find it easy as well to write abo ut what I want. Students 4, 5, and 2 articulate a shift in perception. Student 2 most clearly communicates promising that students now treat writing as a personal hobby, but that is an outcome beyond the desired outcome, which was to get students to see writing in a more expansive, less academically rigid way. Student 4 expresses that in writing about emo tional/personal experiences perceptions of writing shifted. When students are given entry points into writing from the position of their own experiences, they begin to see writing in a new light. The quote from Student 6 demonstrates the transition many st udents experienced into self motivated, independent writing. Student 6 explains that at one point prompting lead to good writing, but throughout the year, as prompting lessened, the student was better able to self self selected topics produced satisfying writing. This student demonstrates the transition to more independent, self regulatory behaviors. The transition from dependent writers to self regulatory, independent writers is what I hoped to see in my student s upon completing the curriculum. Prior to the full, prosocial effect of self regulatory writing as increased perception of self efficacy,


47 students demonstrate a depth of knowledge in writing that is based on craft and technical mastery. When a person can articulate areas of challenge and observable growth, they are on the way to becoming fully self regulatory. Student 7: I learned to write better with: characterization, morphology, what a clause is, sentence types, memoir set up, second person, using a di ctionary (the proper way), dialogue, etc. Student 4: Looking back at my writing from the beginning of the year, I have improved by being more descriptive and getting my point across. Now my writing has improved drastically in adding dialogue, characteriza tion, and showing not telling. Student 8: I have improved as a writer drastically. At the beginning of the year, I barely knew how to use a comma. Now I can add detail and dialogue and write what I want to write. Student 5: I have improved as a writer b ecause at the beginning of the year, I writing is the way words can be replaced by synonyms, yet make the reader experience something different. Word choice is important when trying to convey something. Student 9: My writing is stronger now because I notice a lot of mistakes I do, and I am a better writer because of it. These students can directly identify the ways in which they have improved as writers, but furthermore they can evaluate craft and self how with skill development, students can begin to identify their own mistakes and correct them. Oftentim often know what these comments mean. Unless you are an experien ced writer or a prolific reader know exactly how to use a comma. Student 9, though, has enough insight into the mechanics of writing to be self


48 that accompanies self regulatory writing. Student 4 articulates an awareness of craft. This student has learned to develop narratives that use dialogue, characterization, and, most importantly, show instead of tell. Similarly, Student 8 commented on what has been and Student 8 used the word process in metacognition, in that this student is examining the reasons behind the moves he made and makes as a writer. Student 5 articulates a previous tendency writing to sound smart, but selecting the wrong words then expresses a learned insight abo ut the nature of language and its power in precision and connotation. This is all strong evidence that the writing curriculum that these students received was effective, but the most solid measure of effectiveness for the sake of my study is demonstrate d perceived self efficacy and self regulatory writing behaviors When perceived self efficacy increases, students expend greater effort, preserve longer through difficult tasks, set higher goals, are more likely to take risks, a nd demonstrate the prosocial outcomes of increased confidence through a sense of efficacy (Bandura, 1993) Some of these prosocial benefits are revealed here: Student 10: I feel like taking risks in life is almost essential for becoming a better person. It opens doors to new opportunities and new experiences. It also helps us find who we are. If we never take risk in our lives, then how will we know who we are and what we want in life? Student 8: Taking risks has always been hard for me, so when we were as ked to I thought. Taking risks has opened the door to help me become a better writer. n


49 In my estimation, these are great epiphanies about learning, growing, and the value of risk taking. These students all convey an excitement for taking risks and confronting challenges. This is a tremendously valuable self perception of the world. The final evidence o f the effectiveness of this writi ng curriculum is in students relationship with writing as it moves into the future. I had three students express the des ire to be writers: Student 12: I can actually imagine myself having at least one piece published and hopefully admired by others. Student 13: I imagine myself as a great writer in the future. I will improve over the years, and I will continue to write eve ryday on my own. Student 14: I actually imagine myself as an author, so it will be my job. Other students expressed a commitment to continue their growth as writers: exactly to grow with more knowledge, I can be the best writer I can possibly be. Student 15: In the future, I see myself continuing to write, not just for school but for myself as well. Stu dent s in this course demonstrated deep knowledge of craft and self regulatory writing behaviors coupled with an increased perceived self efficacy. This outcome was the product of a gradually releasing curriculum that beg a n with the establishment of norm ative writing behaviors, namely Daybook practice, and progressively introduced structure in which students are the teacher, the critic, the student, and the critiqued. Studen ts have to have a particular depth of knowledge to be of any help to another


50 student and the workshop is one of the best models to solidify their knowledge in working practice


51 CHAPTER V RECOMMENDATIONS L imitations of thi s study are evident. It was conducted with a small population, a class of 30, i t was limited to one academic year, and there were comparison control groups. Further research into a curriculum of this design would benefit from being longitudinal, so that students progress could be tracked as they advanced in school. I anticipate that my students will continue to be successful writers in a range of content areas and types of writing, but I do not have evidence to back this assumption. Tracking student writing across their remaining high school career would provide valuable evidence into the continued nature of self regulatory writing behaviors. It would also be be neficial to conduct thi s study with a plan for control group comparison. This study was not conducted with a control group, because I only had one 9 th grade l anguage a rts class, so I did not have a similar population of students to compare the results with Furthermore, I woul d likely have considered it unfair to design a curriculum that I thought would benefit all students and then only use if for one class population. There is ample room for continued research into creative habituation, self regulatory strategy development, and the effects on perceived self efficacy based in a gradually releasing workshop model.


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