Citation
Writing across the curriculum in vocational classrooms

Material Information

Title:
Writing across the curriculum in vocational classrooms
Creator:
Conrad, Jennifer Lee
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
67 leaves : ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of English, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
English
Committee Chair:
Addison, Joanne
Committee Members:
VanDeWeghe, Richard
Mudge, Brad

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
English language -- Composition and exercises -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Interdisciplinary approach in education ( lcsh )
Vocational education ( lcsh )
English language -- Composition and exercises -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Interdisciplinary approach in education ( fast )
Vocational education ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 64-67).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jennifer Lee Conrad.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
49630628 ( OCLC )
ocm49630628
Classification:
LD1190.L54 2001m .C66 ( lcc )

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Full Text
WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM IN VOCATIONAL CLASSROOMS
by
Jennifer Lee Conrad
B.A., Colorado State University, 1993
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
English
2001


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Jennifer Lee Conrad
has been approved
by
tter 4. Stef)/
Date
Brad Mudge


Conrad, Jennifer Lee (M.A., English)
Writing Across the Curriculum in Vocational Classrooms
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Joanne Addison
Abstract
Before the 1970s, writing was used primarily and solely in the English
classrooms. Since then, the use of writing has expanded to many other academic
classrooms, including science, math and social studies, and is presently called Writing
Across the Curriculum (WAC). Today, classrooms that may not fully utilize WAC
include the project oriented vocational classrooms such as technical education, art,
music, and Consumer and Family Studies. Vocational classrooms that use Writing
Across the Curriculum yield great benefits such as increasing the learners
understanding of classroom content, improving the quality of student writing, the
learners ability to retain concepts for a longer period of time, and obtaining a deeper
understanding of discipline specific writing styles and terminology. While there are
many advantages to WAC, there are also problems that are encountered while using
WAC. They include poorly designed assignments, teacher resistance, and student
resistance.
Chapter three delves into the practical application of WAC with assignments
designed for a middle school Consumer and Family Studies classroom. A variety of
the different types of writing assignments and methodology are demonstrated such as
admit/exit slips, journal entries, writing letters, newspaper write-ups, and other
writing examples. Also, this chapter demonstrates the use of authentic audiences,
peer review, self-review, and standards/assessments as evaluative techniques.
Finally, chapter four discusses the need for research to further delve into the
study of WAC and state standards as well as teacher resistance and what can be done
to increase teacher motivation and less burn-out with WAC. Future educators can be
better informed of the benefits and problems associated with WAC to consequently
be better carriers of WAC to all classrooms.
111


This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
IV


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
To my mother-in-law, Nancy Conrad, I would like to thank for the constant and
unselfish dedication of her time to and for the children throughout the years I have
been trying to complete this project. Her support has been like a ray of sunshine to
me.
To my advisor, Joanne Addison, I would like to thank for her patience as well as the
gentle words of improvements for this thesis.
To my husband, Mitch, I would like to thank for his uncanny ability to not let me give
up, but to push for the finish line.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. WRITING IN THE CONSUMER AND FAMILY
STUDIES CLASSROOM ..........................................1
Introduction ...........................................1
Teaching Context .......................................2
The Project and Why It Is Needed .......................3
Primary Goals and Objectives ...........................4
How/Why This Particular Project and This School ........5
Assessment Procedures ..................................7
Summary of Thesis Content ..............................8
2. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WRITING ACROSS THE
CURRICULUM AND STUDENT LEARNING ............................9
Introduction ...........................................9
The Writing Process and Historical Findings .......... 10
Benefits of Writing Across the Curriculum .............13
Deeper Understanding of Content .................14
Higher Quality Writing ..........................17
vi


Longer Retention of Concepts ........................18
Deeper Understanding of Discipline Specific Writing Styles
and Terminology .....................................19
Other Benefits of WAC ...............................20
The Versatility and New Directions of Writing
Across the Curriculum .....................................22
Problems with Writing Across the Curriculum ...............24
Poorly Designed Assignments .........................25
Resistive Students ..................................27
Resistive Teachers ..................................28
Conclusion ................................................31
3. CLASSROOM ASSIGNMENTS THAT NURTURE WRITING
ACROSS THE CURRICULUM .........................................33
Introduction ..............................................33
Syllabus of Expectations and Lab Rubrics...................35
Types of Written Assignments ..............................41
Evaluation/Assessment .....................................55
Conclusion .............................................. 58
4. A SCOPE AND SEQUENCE FOR FURTHER RESEARCH ....................59
Teacher Resistance, Development, and Writing Centers ......59
Writing and State Standards ...............................61
vii


Implications for Pedagogy .............................62
BIBLIOGRAPHY .......................................................64
viii


CHAPTER 1
WRITING IN THE CONSUMER AND FAMILY STUDIES CLASSROOM
Introduction
Since I became a Consumer and Family Studies elective teacher, I have tried
to incorporate as much of the other core subjects into my content area as possible,
thus increasing learning in CFS (Consumer and Family Studies) as well as social
studies, math, science, and English. I believe that the more students practice
elsewhere the concepts they learn in class, the better learners they will be and the
longer they will retain the content. Now, taking this one step further, I pursued a
Masters degree in English and have designed a curriculum that focuses on English
writing in the vocational classroom.
An important question to ask in todays schools is, what can be done to
increase the learning of students in the classroom, and more specifically for the
purposes of this paper, what can be done to increase the learning of students in the
vocational classroom? Traditional teaching practices guarantee delivery of content to
the student, but it does not necessarily mean that the student is learning it. By
implementing writing practices into the vocational content, there appears to be a
stronger learning curve and a life-long retention of learning for students. I am taking
1


Writing Across the Curriculum into the Consumer and Family Studies classroom, and
bringing the advantages of writing to my students.
Teaching Context
My experience in teaching encompasses approximately seven years in the
classroom. Six of the last seven teaching years have been at Drake Middle School in
west Arvada, Colorado. The school nestles in the suburbs, which is made up mostly
of Caucasians and middle class families, thus transferring the same type of population
to Drake. Drakes student body count fluctuates between 650-700 students. Over the
last several decades, Drake has been known across Jefferson County as one of the
strictest schools, and in some cases, stricter than many other high, middle, or
elementary schools. Many high school teachers have transferred from their own
schools to Drake because teachers are well supported by administration and
expectations are high for the students. Drake has a dress code that is enforced, a no
late work policy, strong parent communication, and retains students who choose not
to earn the grades required to continue on to the next grade level. Most of those
involved with the school think that the school is a good academic school and a very
safe place for the students.
Drake has less than 40 special education students. The special education
department consists of three teachers and an aid. There is also a gifted and talented
program sponsored by two of Drakes most respected teachers. The program invites
2


about 45 students to participate and is a trimester long class. This year Drake also has
a two-man teaching team that consisted of only honor students from the feeder
elementary schools. Barb Goings, principal, states, The 7Z [honor students] team is
a good idea for those students who are serious about excelling in the classroom. The
honor roll includes over 150 kids on average. In fact, the last honor roll had 43
students on the 4.0 list and 127 students with at least an average of 3.5.
As a teacher, I recognize that all students do not learn the same and therefore,
it is important for a teacher to address all learning styles and make classroom
instructions more personal. Writing Across the Curriculum requires the learners to
make information personal to tie classroom content in with the learners life
situations.
The Project and Why It Is Needed
This project is a variety of written assignments implemented into the daily
lessons for the Consumer and Family Studies program and specifically, the seventh
grade Foods and Nutrition unit. My personal goal is that this curriculum will not be
used only at Drake, but across Jefferson County where literacy is of heightened
importance especially with scrutinized CSAP scores. In the foods unit the students
love to prepare the foods, but Im designing this curriculum to improve the learning
of the bigger concepts so that the student can transfer those concepts to home while
they are preparing or eating other foods, and also to retain the instruction after the lab
3


that will help them in everyday life. For example, practicing safety and sanitation in
the food lab at school is a life long skill that individuals use all of the time, whether at
school, home, or work. By using writing in the classroom, this can help the student
achieve this goal by connecting his/her knowledge of the classroom with situations
from the outside world. We live in the world of language, and students should be
encouraged to engage in expressive, academic, and professional writing and speaking
in all of their classes fwac@niu, home page).
Primary Goals and Objectives
My primary goal is to create a curriculum that uses writing to aid in the
learning of the Foods and Nutrition unit and consequently, enable the learner to retain
the information longer and be able to apply it to other areas of Foods and Nutrition,
not only the segment currently being studied. I will use a prescribed lesson plan, and
I will use writing assignments to supplement the lesson, whether the lesson is
presented via lecture, audio visually, guest speaker, or collaborative learning.
A secondary goal of mine is to have the students become better writers. The
NIU English Department described Writing Across the Curriculum as a pedagogical
movement based on the premise that students learn by being actively involved with
the subject matter. As students write about what they are learning in various classes,
they make it their own and, simultaneously, they learn to be better writers
('wac@niu. home page).
4


How/Whv This Particular Project and This School
In my classroom, the students write frequently. They write by taking notes,
doing crossword puzzles over the days lesson, answering questions out of the book,
and other little exercises that do include writing, but I am looking to incorporate
writing assignments that may be more meaningful. I feel that a change is needed
especially when the class has a lesson over something as simple as table setting, they
set their own cover correctly, do a worksheet filling in blanks by unscrambling words,
then two days later, the very same students cannot set the table for the lab in which
they are being partly graded for a correct table setting. I think that if I use writing
differently, more students will be able to accomplish this small task days later.
According to Lytton, Baker, Benson, and Blieszner, writing, as a tool for learning,
exemplifies one educational method that increases student involvement in the
learning process and has universal applications across disciplines (35). Now, the
student with the aid of a meaningful writing assignment, could not only set the table
correctly at the lab, but also do this at home and then taking this one step further,
when this student goes to a dinner engagement, he/she knows not to use the tableware
from the cover next to him and someday, for an interview over lunch.
At Drake, the faculty and staff feel there are always ways to improve
education. We push for higher standards together. If there is a new procedure, all
members of the faculty consistently enforce it. This prevents the students from being
5


confused by contradictory classroom expectations. Specifically, Drake does not
allow students to turn work in late except if the student was absent. Every teacher
enforces this expectation. This is difficult for some students but they learn all about
deadlines and responsibility.
Another area that Drake is trying to excel in is on CSAP scores. Three years
ago, Drake was awarded a certificate that stated its CSAP scores were above the
expected percentages. Jefferson County studied the schools that achieved this status,
there were three middle schools in the county, and decided that one of the reasons that
Drake excelled was because of the consistency in the school environment. The staff
also agreed that this was a major contributor to the success of the student test scores.
This year, Drake really pushed for higher scores on the CSAP by stressing literacy in
all classes. Every teacher was asked to begin each class hour with a literacy question
that resembled the format of CSAP test questions. In the building, a literacy
specialist aided teachers in preparing students for the CSAP by making classroom
tests more like the CSAP test. The literacy specialist also taught four reading classes
to students who earned lower CSAP scores, with the hope of improving their scores.
In 1999, a mill levy passed in Jefferson County that was contingent upon test scores
increasing. Test scores had to increase by 25 percent in order for Jefferson County to
get additional funding for the schools. Drake is trying exceedingly hard, using the
procedures described above, to help this happen.
6


Although core teachers have most of the pressure to succeed, the elective
teachers have tried to contribute. This is another reason why I believe this curriculum
would be beneficial at Drake Middle School. This is just one more way to help
students retain information about writing and the subject matter, and to help students
work on their CSAP scores.
On March 20,2001, Dateline described students who gave up their lives, as
they knew them, to study at a better high school and try to achieve superior SAT/ACT
scores to enter the college of their dreams. As the race to the finish gets harder, the
bottom line is those who do the best academically have the options to go to the best
schools. Test scores are not only important to school districts, but also to students
with very high goals that others can only dream of and will never attain.
Assessment Procedures
I have watched my students for years and guided them through the education
of different Consumer and Family Studies modules. My idea of successful teaching
is most of the students doing well on tests and on the application of techniques in
labs. I want to motivate students, even the underachievers, to want to try to succeed
even if they do not do so in any other class. In this curriculum, not only is this to be a
bit more academic than most Consumer and Family Studies curriculums, but also to
be exciting and fun for the seventh grade students.
7


The assessment style that I use is rubrics and standards, the most current
method of grading. In each unit of the curriculum, there is an outlined form of the
rubric to be given to each student on the first day of class before the journal
assignments or labs. In addition, each student will be graded on any class work that
may not be a writing assignment.
Summary of Thesis Content
In chapter two, I discuss the issues surrounding Writing Across the
Curriculum including my belief that writing increases student learning in any content
area. The material learned can be retained longer through the use of implementing
writing in the assignments. Also, I describe the problems frequently encountered by
those who use Writing Across the Curriculum in their classrooms and how they can
best overcome them. Chapter three gives examples of the curriculum used in the
Consumer and Family Studies classroom highlighting writing assignments. Then
finally, chapter four examines the need for further study of teacher resistance,
development, and support as well as the implementation of state standards into any
WAC classroom.
8


CHAPTER 2
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WRITING ACROSS THE
CURRICULUM AND STUDENT LEARNING
Introduction
After frequently talking with a variety of Consumer and Family Studies
teachers from neighboring districts, I do not know one teacher who integrates a
substantial amount of writing into his or her classroom. In fact, perhaps the situation
is almost opposite. Many vocational teachers of technical education, art, music, or
Consumer and Family Studies shy away from any substantial amount of writing for
reasons such as time, academic level of vocational students, or student enrollment
interests. Even though there is published research material on the topic of Writing
Across the Curriculum, there is little published about writing in a middle school level
Consumer and Family Studies classroom. In addition, there is not one published
curriculum for Consumer and Family Studies that has an intensive writing focus.
Because of this, I wanted to develop a variety of lessons using several written
assignments that Consumer and Family Studies teachers could use in their middle
school classrooms. These specific writing assignments for Consumer and Family
Studies classrooms are found in chapter three.
9


Chapter two focuses on proving the following question: What does Writing
Across the Curriculum do to aid in student learning? Writing in any classroom,
specifically the Consumer and Family Studies classroom, does aid the student in
learning the content. Research, backed by the experiences of others, proves why this
educational movement is so successful. This is why I believe writing is so important
to my own classroom.
To really understand Writing Across the Curriculum and its advantages, the
user must have a full understanding of the history of WAC and the founding
philosophies that have guided it to where it is today. Thus, this is how I begin chapter
two. Then, I will discuss the benefits for both students and teachers of using Writing
Across the Curriculum methodology, its unique versatility, and of course, the
problems sometimes encountered by WAC.
The Writing Process and Historical Findings
When James Britton and his colleagues wrote the description for writing
development in the 1970s, it was the beginning of the WAC era in America.
Because of Brittons work, the value of writing to learn was realized in the world of
education. He defined two purposes of the written language. One, as with talking,
written language is used.. .for the purpose of developing personal relations and two,
that writing constitutes the act of perceiving mature conclusions (Evertts, 28). He
ultimately stated, As with talk, so when it comes to writing, children learn by
10


writing (Evertts, 28). American educators took notice of Britton and thus began the
first stage.
The first stage of Writing Across the Curriculum in America began in 1978 at
George Mason University. At this time writing was viewed as a .. .mode of
expression and a way to encourage critical thinking (Jamieson, 2). The educational
community hailed the efforts of those trying to promote WAC in the system, yet
Jamieson states that in most cases participants had to minimize or ignore the
sometimes huge epistemological differences at the heart of their disciplines (2).
The epistemological differences came to light when teachers of any other
subject but English were expected to teach formal writing instruction to a classroom
full of students enrolled to learn math, engineering, or any other variety of subjects
besides English. Many teachers engaged in the new movement of WAC thinking that
the students would learn more. However, as it was designed, WAC was primarily
about teaching writing in other content areas, not about enhancing knowledge in that
class through writing assignments. Teachers became overwhelmed when they
realized what they were expected to do. They did not feel they were qualified to
teach writing instruction, which they felt was the English teachers job anyway, and
neither did they have the class time to take away from their own content instruction
time.
Because of these negative responses, the second stage evolved to try to
resolve these issues. Writing in the disciplines emerged, seeking to address the
11


problematic issues by acknowledging the different discourse communities in the
university and designing writing programs that help students to do that too
(Jamieson, 3). This extension of WAC served the needs of the entire faculty, not just
the English department, by giving them a tool that taught their students, in any
particular discipline, depth of knowledge in that subject while still using writing.
WAC now focused more on using writing to further class content, not on teaching
writing methodology. In fact, grading papers on mechanical errors was discouraged.
Yet, many teachers tried to take the best from both stage one and stage two teaching
content specific writing skills. Susan McLeod notes in a 1989 Staffroom Interchange
that Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and Writing in the Disciplines (WID)
exist in most programs simultaneously... (339).
Now, WAC seems to take on a third stage that includes writing to learn to do
- writing in the workplace, writing across the world, (Russell, 4-5) technology, and
communicating across the curriculum. The hand of WAC has expanded to touch
more people. There are people who are todays strong advocates for WAC and
teach interactive distance-learning courses, lead multi-disciplinary service-learning
courses, serve on the University writing community, win state Teacher of the Year
awards, give papers on writing to leam at their disciplinary conventions (Thaiss, 4).
In some ways, WAC looks very different today than it did 25 years ago, yet its
help for all students remains unchanged. Now, Writing Across the Curriculum is
considered one of the most successful educational reform movements in the United
12


States according to J. Carson (1992). This movement still has strong supporters all
over the country because it has been so successful. Chris Thaiss talks about how, in
his college alone, there are numerous activists at different stages of WAC, and I have
seen the same pattern at my school, Drake Middle School. Various factors weigh into
the equation, of course, including new teachers brought into the school who need to
be trained in writing workshops. These teachers are just beginning to use writing in
their classes regularly and are finding new ways to use writing better and more
efficiently.
Art Young describes how today, mature programs move into the twenty-first
century by attempting to use all four underlying premises as a way of empowering
students as active learners and effective communicators: writing to leam, writing to
communicate, writing as social process, and writing as social action (61). Writing
Across the Curriculum expounds on the basics to encompass all perspectives and
viewpoints and produce a well-educated, well-rounded writing student. Young
continues, the stance of most WAC programs is to... see WAC as an inclusive and
evolving movement (61). The future is always changing and WAC will change and
adapt with it.
Benefits of Writing Across the Curriculum
To students, writing in the classes is sometimes thought of as just another
assignment to take up time busy work that is boring and unfruitful. This should not
13


be the case if the teacher has a clear goal of increasing or reinforcing student learning
by making the assignments well written and unique. Yet, beyond that, the list of
benefits that WAC offers is quite impressive benefits both to the students and
teachers. The students reap the benefits academically, and the teacher reaps the
benefits psychologically. One of the primary reasons a teacher is in the field is to
know that he/she is making a difference in his/her students knowledge and
consequently, life. WAC does just that!
Teachers recognize the advantages of students writing in the classroom in the
following ways: a deeper understanding of the class content, higher quality of student
writing, longer retention of concepts, better student attitudes about writing, students
willing to take more risks with their writing, and finally a deeper understanding of
discipline specific writing styles and terminology. If a teacher uses writing well in
his/her classroom, these benefits will come to fruition.
Deeper Understanding of Content
When James Britton, Nancy Martin, and their colleagues began their work
with Writing Across the Curriculum, one of their main goals was to integrate
language into the curriculum for the express purpose of helping students become
more active and engaged learners. Today, the use of writing in the classroom is to
give the more active and engaged students a deeper understanding of the content.
Writing is a form of thinking. When using writing in the classroom, students are
14


forced, as solitary active learners, to be responsible for their written work. Roland
Stout from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke describes how he uses
writing in his classroom, and he sees frequently how students use writing to think and
generate ideas. He states, .. .writing requires better thinking which generates deeper
understandingwhat I really wanted in the first place (10).
When in my own classroom, I teach the basic principles of Foods and
Nutrition, continually surveying the faces of my pupils for understanding on the
concepts being presented. Next, I delve into the reasoning behind why things are the
way they are and continue to evaluate the effectiveness of my teaching as I go. But
without some form of writing, a visual record of students thoughts, I cannot be sure
that every single student in the classroom is understanding the concept. With the use
of writing, students must think through the subject at hand, clarifying in their own
mind what they have heard and justifying whys and hows, and making the days
lesson or weeks topic more personal and understandable as they work on turning
their thinking into words on paper. Diana Mitchell explains, .writing to learn
involves getting students to think about and to find the words to explain what they are
learning, how they understand that learning, and what their own processes of learning
involve (93). Charles Hill, a well-known authority on Writing Across the
Curriculum, describes writing to learn as an external memory.
.. .Writing provides an external memory. When I use writing to help
me reason out the implications of an issue, or to explicate a story, I can take
more viewpoints into account, use more information of various types, because
15


I dont have to keep all of it in my head, all at the same time, during the entire
time that Im working toward my conclusion (3).
Because of having words on paper, a student can put things together and
generate a fuller, deeper, more inclusive study of the topic. Mary Jager is an art
teacher and president of the South Dakota Art Education Association. She describes
how her students learn best through hands-on writing activities, not as a passive
audience. Through her own experiences, she has found that Writing Across the
Curriculum enables students to develop a deeper understanding of art which, in turn,
is reflected in more meaningful, higher-quality artwork produced (40).
At the same time, writing affords the learner the ability to identify gaps in
his/her reasoning and knowledge. Any writer/leamer, who plays the part of the
critical reader, should be able to see any problems with the reasoning on the written
topic of study. Hill contends, writing may help us notice problems with our
reasoning that we might not notice if we didnt write (3).
One of the greatest advantages of Writing Across the Curriculum is that the
student is now considered an equal participant in his/her education. The student takes
on much more responsibility along side the teacher in the realm of education. Audrey
Kleinsasser, Norma Collins, and Jane Nelson say exactly that:
If teachers ask students to write more, they may begin to value student
writing as a contribution to knowledge as well as a test of knowledge.
Teachers may begin to regard students as active and equal participants in
constructing knowledge as well as consumers of it (118).
16


Side by side, students work with teachers for a deeper understanding of class content.
Higher Quality Writing
Roland Stout and Art Young use formal writing assignments, and both men
see a higher quality of writing the more formal the assignment. Roland Stout talks
about the amount of writing his students do in chemistry. Yet his main focus never
wavers; that his students learn to do chemistry. He regards his writing assignments
as thinking assignments and requires his students to rewrite their work. Stout says,
If they [students] take it [rewriting] seriously, this almost always causes students to
sharpen their writing. If -writing is a form of thinking, and if students write better,
they think better too (10).
Art Young from Clemson University comments on a particular writing
assignment that produced a higher quality of writing: As I read the exchange of
student letters, the first thing that struck me was the quality of the talk about literature
that is exhibited in the letters (68). Young attributes this to assignments that require
students to give answers to another student/peer that is different than the instructor,
someone who does not already know the answers to the questions. He also mentions
how important it is that the right questions are asked of the student for the writing
assignments. Like Stout, Young states that the questions should not be easy. They
must require the student to think. Fundamental to every discipline is figuring out
17


how to ask important and germane questions that continue the advancement of
knowledge within that field (70).
Longer Retention of Concepts
It is estimated that adults carry very little of what they learned in their
schooling careers into adulthood, especially when concepts are never used past their
science, math or social studies assignments. What may help students retain the
concepts for longer than a semester is the use of writing assignments that require
students to put forth a lot of effort which makes it very personal and consequently,
applicable to their lives. As already discussed earlier in this chapter, writing
promotes a deeper understanding of classroom concepts, more than just the surface of
the material. The learner seems to personally own the concept. Because what is
learned is so intimate with the learner, it makes sense that what becomes part of the
learner is retained longer in the learners memory. Tracey L. Smeltzer is a Library
Media Specialist in Pennsylvania and talks about all the assignments she sees and
what the students do with them and the value they seem to place on different ones.
She states,
Students often comment that they tend to remember more information
about the topics they have used for research papers. Writing requires students
to think about what they know and to search for information they would like
to know. In doing so, they begin to learn about the subject in a different way
(17).
18


Mary Jager talks specifically about the students in her classes, who do
extensive writing assignments. I have observed a marked improvement in the
amount of information students retain from year to year... (38). Ann Dobie and Gail
Poinier also mention the length of concept retention in their study with nursing
students. .. .The higher retention rates of the classes using writing in all three years
of the study point strongly to its positive influence (29). When the students have
meaningful written assignments, they retain the material for a longer length of time.
Deeper Understanding of Discipline Specific Writing Styles
and Terminology
In 1989 the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics developed
Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics and described the
importance of writing in a mathematics classroom:
The development of a students power to use mathematics involves
learning the signs, symbols, and terms of mathematics. This is best
accomplished in problem situations in which students have an opportunity to
read, write, and discuss ideas in which the use of the language of mathematics
becomes natural. As students communicate their ideas, they learn to clarify,
refine, and consolidate their thinking (6).
This is exactly what stage two of WAC wanted math and other classes to do: use
writing to teach discipline specific content. Marilyn Bums, a math instructor and
curriculum developer, does just that and feels that there are big advantages.
Writing encourages students to examine their ideas and reflect on what
they have learned. It helps them deepen and extend their understanding.
19


When students write about mathematics, they are actively involved in thinking
and learning about mathematics (13).
Regis University Business department took on the task of improving the
writing skills of accounting students, specifically juniors. They hired a writing
consultant and had the writing assignments count five percent of each students grade.
In this study, they analyzed through the use of control/treatment groups, post-tests,
and pre-tests the effectiveness of the writing within the classes. The result was that
Writing activities in the accounting curriculum help students to
understand accounting issues, concepts, and procedures and to analyze
problems while reinforcing writing skills taught in English composition and
business communication courses (Roirdan, 49).
Students were getting the education they needed. Discipline specific terms and styles
of writing were being taught, and consequently, they were actively involved in their
learning and clearly understood concepts.
Other Benefits of WAC
Several other benefits of WAC are worth mentioning. One benefit is how
students attitudes change. Because the nature of writing in the curriculum makes
students writing so personal and applicable to their own previous knowledge, they
seem to really enjoy the class and see the validity of the class for their lives or
education. In the study conducted by Dobie and Poirrer of nursing students, 89% of
the nursing students felt that the writing classes they had taken positively helped
prepare them for future career writing tasks and had positive feelings about the
20


writing experiences in class and deemed writing skills to be necessary for success
(27).
Another benefit is higher-level thinking. In any classroom, when students
focus intensely on the writing, higher order thinking will occur. Although this is
dependant on the nature of the written assignment given and the questions asked,
students naturally formulate their own conclusions using past experiences combined
with new knowledge to form new conclusions. As a result of this writing assignment,
students are doing what Bloom deemed so important, the transformation from simple
information recall to synthesis and analysis (higher levels of thinking). Jager said that
because of WAC there is .. .an increased number of students using higher order
thinking skills to solve problems within my classroom (38). Sarah Freedman points
out in a journal article, Evaluating Writing,
Higher-order thinking occurs when there is an increased focus on a
writing process which includes encouraging students to take lots of time with
their writing, to think deeply and write about issues in which they feel some
investment.. .(4).
Lastly, if the content is more challenging, and creative writing assignments
utilize higher-order thinking skills without stressing grammar but more the ideas,
students also seem to be willing to take more risks with their writing (Graham, 7).
Anita Graham changed her writing program from a traditional expository essay
teacher to one who uses logs, writing folders and portfolios, and self-editing. She has
noticed the change in her students to be very positive. They are more creative; they
21


can write for a variety of audiences and purposes; they see writing as a process rather
than a product; they write much more often.. .writing has become a learning
experience (7).
The Versatility and New Directions of Writing Across
the Curriculum
Writing Across the Curriculum gives so many benefits to teachers and
students that sometimes we fail to see how versatile it is to others, including people in
the workplace or on the other side of the world. Anne Herrington from the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst states, WAC programs need to be responsive to new
challenges and issues (1). For example, with the expanded use of computers,
schools need to grow with the computer age and structure writing assignments that
can be used in conjunction with computers, bringing the old in with the new. WAC is
easy to integrate with computers.
Herrington speaks on the importance of the versatility of WAC, specifically in
that it addresses not only the English-speaking students, but also it can serve the
bilingual students whose attendance numbers in public schools increase yearly.
Herrington says, .. .a WAC program should aim to serve the interests of all students
and be attentive to who is not represented amongst those students (1). These
students may not have a complete grasp of the English language, but with the aid of
writing in a classroom, they would gain experience with the English language and
how it is used.
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The goal of education is to train students to be literate learners who function
well in the workplace. Sometimes students feel that once they get into the workplace,
they really are not prepared to deal with all that it entails. Research is well underway
to understanding what kind of writing the student must know before he/she enters the
workplace to prevent these kinds of responses. David Russell from Iowa State
University says that businesses are anxious to have these partnerships with the
schools. People in business, government, and non-profit organizations are often
eager to invite in people [instructors] with expertise in written communication (5).
In turn, knowing technical writing for a particular place of business provides the
instructor with new ways to design his/her writing assignments and everyday lessons.
Russell speaks on the innovation of WAC and the importance of teaching writing
about the workplace.
We must remember that learning to write and writing to leam are
valuable in so far as they help us and our students to do important things with
others, not only in school but beyond school, to make a difference in the
worlds students will enter-and eventually remake (5).
What a great learning opportunity for students to leam to work at school.
Another direction that WAC is expanding into is the technology field. With
the growing use of computers in education, WAC is one of those areas that slip
naturally into the slot. Anne Herrington believes, .. .since these technologies have
cross-curricular implications for writing and learning, participants in WAC programs
23


need to keep informed of new technologies, have occasions to discuss their
capabilities and impacts, and participate in shaping them (opening, 2).
Pamela Childers is a writing teacher in charge of a writing center for a private
secondary school. Daily, she works with teachers to incorporate writing into their
classes. She has seen the benefits of how writing and technology fit together and how
they can complement each other. She emphasizes how teachers and students use
email, links to the syllabi, web pages to inform, chatrooms through university
programs or within the institution, on-line writing labs, faculty listservs, and others
(1). Herrington states, .. .electronic technologies increasingly shape writing,
communication, and learning.... Some offer great possibilities (1). Only time will
tell how much technology will become a part of Writing Across the Curriculum, but
as some teachers already utilize technology teamed with writing, more use will
follow.
Problems with Writing Across the Curriculum
Writing Across the Curriculum has been portrayed as an instructional method
that will provide students with increased learning capabilities up to now, but it has its
share of problems and drawbacks. Toby Fulwiler and Art Young co-authored a book
about successful WAC programs, Programs that Work: Models and Methods for
Writing Across the Curriculum. Yet Art Young was the first to admit that writing the
introduction to that book was difficult because he felt that the reader needed to know
24


that things are not always easy when participating in WAC programs. There are
moments when being part of WAC is frustrating and defeating. Anyone attempting to
use writing in his/her classroom needs to be aware of three main problem areas and
be able to work around or through them easier, knowing that they are coming. They
are 1) poorly designed assignments, 2) resistive students, and 3) resistive teachers.
Poorly Designed Assi gnments
Each teacher needs to make sure that if he/she is going to incorporate Writing
Across the Curriculum practices in the classroom, the assignments need to be well
thought out and well written. Mary Munter from Regis University talks about why
Writing Across the Curriculum does not work for her. Her first point is that WAC
assignments are often wrong because they focus on writing performed in academia
rather than business writing, which is about writing performed in business (108).
Munter explains that writing done in most business classes is done for the instructor
making the writing very formal and passive instead of active and businesslike in
tone (108). When writing is done for the teacher who already knows all of the
answers, it very well may be dry and boring. Art Young speaks on the same topic.
So, in one of his classes he changed an assignment from the teacher as the audience to
the student as the audience. In other words, the paper was written from one student to
another. It became one of the most rewarding assignments for the semester because
25


the students labeled it so, and also Young noticed quite a difference in their writing.
He described it as one of the most educational experiences of the class.
As I read the exchange of student letters, the first thing that struck me
was the quality of the talk about literature that is exhibited in the letters: the
questions and issues that were thoughtfully raised, the insight and agility with
the process of literary interpretation, the quality of the writing and thinking,
the impressive array of intellectual skills that was brought to bear in assisting
another to understand the novel: analysis, synthesis, inference and speculation,
integration of primary and secondary sources (68).
Young gives two reasons for the success of any assignment. First, the social
nature of the assignment is important (69). Who the audience is must be authentic to
the student. Yet for the teacher, the students may not always be able to write to each
other this too would get boring and not become as productive. Make the audience
someone different than the teacher, although the teacher will still see the finished
product.
Second, the problem-posing nature of the assignment is important to its
success (69). Young says, Fundamental to every discipline is figuring out how to
ask important and germane questions that continue the advancement of knowledge
within that field (69). Good questions breed good responses. Avoid the yes/no
questions. Instead ask open-ended questions requiring thought and effort. Utilize
Blooms Taxonomy to advance higher level thinking. The use of this tool aids the
teacher in expanding from basic questions to more complicated questions in
assignments.
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Katie Kiefer and Mike Palmquist from Colorado State University summarized
five principles for writing assignments. A teacher in quandary about the best way to
assign writing in a classroom can follow these principles.
Tie the writing task to specific pedagogical goals.
Note rhetorical aspects of the task, i.e., audience, purpose, writing situation.
Make all elements of the task clear.
Include grading criteria on the assignment sheet.
Break down the task into manageable steps.
Once the assignments are designed and the above suggestions are followed, a teacher
should be well on his/her way to Writing Across the Curriculum successfully.
Resistive Students
Facing students who do not enjoy or may even fear writing is another problem
teachers face when using Writing Across the Curriculum in their classroom.
Teachers dread the comments they may get on their evaluations if they require the
students to write. Todays students come to value the safeness of a classroom that
requires them to memorize information, and then recall the same information for test
day. Kay Libbus is the chair of the nursings admissions and progression committee
at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and she sees this attitude frequently. She
says, Students seem willing to tolerate classes which teach the theory and
performance of these skills, but they have little patience for less well-defined
coursework (70). Art Young says something similar; The fear of student resistance
27


is another key enemy: everyone knows students hate to write, so why turn them off
and risk getting lower student evaluations at the end of the term? (63).
Writing Across the Curriculum is not about using only information recall
questions in written assignments. It involves pushing the learner to use higher
thinking skills and at the same time, be able to have a deeper understanding and
longer retention of the material. Young states, Our system of education has trained
students to be like Skinnerian pigeons to prefer things simple. But as every WAC
teacher knows, students are not pigeons, and when given the opportunity, most prefer
not to be treated a pigeons (63). It is important that our students have the thinking
skills they need for the workplace and that they are independent thinkers. Libbus
knows that nursing students have a need for thinking skills that require judgment
calls. They [students] do not yet know that the majority of nursing practice requires
solving complex problems that have no single right answer (70). Many times, the
harder teachers work to help students learn, the more students value the class. Kiefer
and Palmquist state, .. .if you tell students up front what your key criteria will be as
you grade the papers, they'll try harder to.make the paper meet all those criteria.
Resistive Teachers
Change is hard for someone who has been doing something the same way for
a long time, especially when it has worked pretty well. This is how teachers feel
when they are asked to use Writing Across the Curriculum in their classrooms. It
28


seems to be a difficult change for some for a variety of different reasons. Art Young
addresses several of these issues (62). One, WAC is identified as a remedial
program, and once the problem is solved or at least diminished, it will be phased out.
Two, tenuous administrative support and some faculty turnover means WAC exists at
different stages for different people. Three, the English department is hesitant to
share the load of writing and possible watering down of the writing curriculum. Four,
teachers feel threatened by efforts made to improve/alter their teaching. Five,
teachers are nervous about the time commitment involved in grading written work
and the time WAC may take away from daily class teaching time fitting more
content into the same amount of time. There are many things that make teachers
resistant to the change that Writing Across the Curriculum entails. William E. Coles
Jr. of the University of Pittsburgh wrote, that the real wonder is not that the program
has enemies. The wonder is that it has gathered so many friends (23). Art Young
knows the enemies of WAC and doesnt have any immediate solutions- for them, but
he does know of strong existing WAC programs that excel in spite of these problems
that could plague it. So why try? Coles says it well!
Why bother to work at writing across the curriculum? Finally, I
suppose, because a student, as it turns out, is not the only focus of the process.
For teachers, no less than for students, writing across the curriculum given its
insistence that one ask real rather than loaded questions, the way it takes for
granted the importance of dialogue and revisions as part of the writing
process, and its emphasis on teachers rather than the supremacy of the
Teacher-can be an expression of faith that can keep faith itself alive, faith in
this case that real growth, real development, real change, are possible, even in
an educational institution. This does, of course, demand a commitment of
29


time and energy, but an unreasonable one only if I forget that, very simply,
Im a better teacher, a better student, a better person, when I act as though I
had that kind of faith (25).
There are ways that teachers can combat these problems they see when
writing in their classrooms, or at least make them so they are not so overwhelming.
One, WAC has been around for over 25 years, and WAC may get stronger or weaker
in a school. However, the teacher can make it strong in his/her classroom for an
indefinite period of time. Two, WAC may be at different stages for different people,
and sometimes a school may feel like it is continually starting over with new faculty
every year. In this case, let the leaders lead and the others may follow. Three,
perhaps the English department can look at it like this: CSAP scores will be higher in
English writing the more practice a student has at writing. Four, the teachers who
feel threatened can take WAC one step at a time. A little at a time will eventually add
up, possibly to a more effective teacher. Five, teachers do not have to grade
absolutely everything. Maybe a check on a set of papers or just comments, or a
designated few papers receive grades use time management techniques to grade.
Kiefer and.Palmquist have many suggestions.
Use an occasional WTL [Writing to Leam] warm-up at the beginning
of class as a "quiz." Pick up a single sheet of paper and comment briefly
on students' grasp of a reading assignment or key concepts.
Pick up WTL material from five-ten students every day or every other
day. Don't read every word, but skim quickly to identify tasks students
might need help witha reading that bogged down in class discussion, a
page that has very little written, a page that has lots written.
30


Use different colored pens or highlighters to note points in selected
entries. One color means "good idea," one means "consider pursuing this
idea as a paper topic," another means "come back to this idea again and
explore it in more detail," and so on.
While students axe writing at the beginning and end of class, walk
around the room and read over shoulders. This technique is especially easy
if you have students writing on computers. Stop to talk to or jot a note on
the writing of 3-4 students. If students don't like having you read over
shoulders, ask them to select a few recent WTL activities and put those to
one side for you to collect and read quickly.
Ask students to select their best or most provocative WTL writing for
you to review.
Ask students to share WTL activities with one or two classmates.
Ask students to send the WTL writing that contains questions about
course material to you over e-mail.
Ask students to post provocative questions or summary/analysis of
readings on an electronic bulletin board or Web forum for class comment.
These may not be perfect solutions for these issues, but maybe they will help
some teachers figure out ways to deal with problems. In the end, a teacher must
believe, as Coles says, that he/she is making a difference in the education of a few
students.
Conclusion
Having teachers believe that WAC does increase student learning is
fundamental to having a successful Writing Across the Curriculum program in any
school. Being a flexible, innovative, and knowledgeable teacher helps the program
get off to a good start. Writing Across the Curriculum is a movement that is not
going to be phased out. Instead, it is in classrooms everywhere, evolving with
technology and new expectations for the future but with the same founding beliefs
31


guiding it. WAC is a benefit to teachers and students but it also has its own set of
problems with methods to overcome those hardships.
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CHAPTER 3
CLASSROOM ASSIGNMENTS THAT NURTURE
WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Introduction
I believe that it would be ideal if students taking a Consumer and Family
Studies course could gain a writing credit after the completion of the course providing
that the students complete a substantial amount of writing. This chapter includes a
four-week unit of study in Foods and Nutrition for the middle school student, which
does implement a substantial amount of writing into the content area. Regina Chatel
speaks about the students enrolled in the Coventry Science Center who receive an
English credit in a core class. She states, awarding an English credit is the belief
that students engage in many writing activities in their science classes (1). Giving
the students a credit would be quite a motivator. Yet, there are other motivators for
students to write in classes: longer retention of information, higher thinking skills,
and a deeper understanding of the content area. Because of these motivators and
others, I wanted to develop a curriculum guide for vocational instructors that
implemented writing into the content area, specifically the Consumer and Family
Studies Foods and Nutrition unit.
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While many students fear writing, especially vocational students, this
curriculum is designed to be meaningful, yet simple for all students. This curriculum
is based on the following principles: first, writing demonstrates learning and each
written assignment will be evaluated by peers, self, or teacher; second, writing is a
tool for learning content which is informal. Assignments may or may not be formally
evaluated but writing is a way for students within themselves to work out how a
concept may work or not work. I have included the complete lesson plan for each
lesson as a guide for what comes before, during, and after the written assignment,
including other activities that either set up the written assignment or enhance the
written assignment. Each lesson addresses one or more standards so that students
know exactly what the purpose is for each topic. The standards used are not only
those from the Consumer and Family Studies department, but also from English,
social studies, science, and math as an effort to integrate as much of the students
knowledge as possible. In addition, I also included a section on the evaluation of
written and lab assignments so that they are clearly aware of the expectations before
turning their work in for a grade.
While striving to motivate the learners to take risks with their writing content
and use higher level thinking skills, I included general guidelines on the journal entry
rubric on how students can use those skills. The questions all students are required to
answer for their journal entries are questions that require more advanced thinking but
there are also questions that ask for the simple recall of information for the different
34


abilities of learners. While covering multiple topics and objectives under the subject
umbrella of Foods and Nutrition, this chapter strives to incorporate Writing Across
the Curriculum in order to demonstrate learning and to learn content.
Syllabus of Expectations and Lab Rubrics
Any and all classes must have an expectation sheet that informs the learner
exactly what he/she will be learning during the course of the class. The expectation
should include a summary of the content, a time line, and behavior and grading
expectations appropriate for the anticipated grade level. In addition, the syllabus
should introduce students to the writing expectations. Following the syllabi, which
only briefly talks about writing assignments, is a rubric for writing journal entries and
for completing labs that the students will do weekly in the class. By providing this
at the beginning of the class, students know what to expect and are prepared for what
they must do to be successful in the class.
CONSUMER AND FAMILY STUDIES
COURSE SYLLABUS
I. Introduction
This five week Foods and Nutrition course consists of basic food preparation techniques and
knowledge that is essential to any beginning student seeking knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle
and healthy cooking methods. The method used most to enhance student learning is writing, primarily
in journal entries. Each lesson will be aligned to one or more standards from Consumer and Family
Studies, science, math, English, or social studies.
II. Course Content
Kitchen Safety
35


Kitchen Sanitation
Proper Measuring Techniques
Food Guide Pyramid
American Dietary Guidelines
Table Setting
Table Manners
Three Food Labs: cookies, orange julius and cinnamon twists, and pizza
m. Grading
Each student will be graded using a rubric system. Before all graded assignments, the student
will receive a handout describing the standards for the item to be graded. Students will receive a 3, 2,
or 1 for a class grade. The numbers translate as follows on the report card:
3 A (Superior effort)
2 B (Average effort)
*1 C (Below average effort, repeat or redo)
*Anytime a student receives a 1 or Below Standard grade, he/she may redo the assignment for
a higher score.
Students will receive a grade report at the end of every week. Any discrepancies need to be
noted at that time and brought to the teachers attention. At that time, a solution will be discussed.
IV. Classroom Policies
Follow all school rules (see schools student handbook).
Be on time.
Treat yourself and others with respect.
Always walk while in the lab.
Practice all safety rules including washing hands often.
Have hair tied back or clean hats worn during labs.
No late work will be accepted. Turn work in on time for credit.
Rubric for Journal Entries
Standard(s) Achieved: Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive
relationships.
Evaluate and practice effective verbal and written communication skills in a variety of
situations.
3 Above Standard:
1. Student dates journal entry and labels it the correct day in the upper right hand comer.
2. Journal entry is well organized into 3 or more paragraphs: first paragraph is an introduction to
the topic being written about, second paragraph is answering all questions described within
the assignment, and the third paragraph reiterates the topic and how it has changed the
students ideas on the topic.
3. The entry is legible and clearly written easy to read.
4. There is clarity of thought student clearly paid attention to lesson presented and is reflected
in the entry.
5. Student takes risks with second paragraph of written entries by comparing everyday
experiences with information from the class forming a correlation between the two. The
36


student may compare/contrast past experience with topic, or student may evaluate past
experiences with new knowledge.
2 Standard:
1. Student dates and labels journal entries correctly.
2. Journal entry is well organized into 3 or more paragraphs as described above.
3. Entry is legible and clearly written.
4. There is clarity of thought and most of the concepts discussed in class are well written.
5. In the second paragraph, student makes effort to incorporate prior experiences with new
knowledge of concept, forming a correlation between the two.
1 - Below Standard:
1. Student is sloppy and unorganized in journal entry.
2. Dates and labels are incorrect.
3. Not much effort is put into entry few concepts are written and teacher directed questions are
not completely answered.
Below are the rubrics used to evaluate labs. Like the Rubric for Journal
Entries, the Lab Rubrics are specific in the expectations. Included in them are the
standards the students will be learning and practicing as well as detailed grading
expectations with each lab requiring the proper use of skills learned up to that point.
Cookie Lab Rubric
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Practice basic safety procedures for self and others
2. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Evaluate and practice effective verbal and written communication skills in a variety of
situations.
Be a contributing member of a group.
3 Above Standard:
1. Cookies are cooked evenly and have a pleasing, golden appearance. They are fluffy, not flat.
2. Cookies taste well made. Not too much baking soda, vanilla etc.
3. Kitchen safety rules were followed. No noticeable errors (cupboard doors left open, spills
cleaned up immediately, hands washed before beginning to cook).
4. Kitchen Sanitation rules were followed (hair tied back off of shoulders, dishes washed
immediately after use).
5. Thorough clean up in kitchen.
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6. Group worked well together and followed directions (left class on time after completing
tasks).
7. Student used proper measuring techniques (no estimating on measuring, always used a flat
edge with measuring spoons, liquid measuring cups placed on counter while student looks at
calibration).
8. Students transferred knowledge from one task to another successfully using the correct foods
and nutrition principle in both situations.
2 - Standard:
1. Cookies are cooked evenly.
2. Cookies taste well made.
3. Kitchen safety rules were followed with few reminders from the teacher.
4. Kitchen sanitation rules were followed.
5. Clean up in kitchen was completed with only 1-2 suggestions from teacher.
6. Group worked together.
7. Students tried to use proper measuring techniques. Teacher gave suggestions.
8. Students used correct knowledge for one familiar task, but not the other similar task.
1 - Below Standard:
1. Cookies were under or over cooked.
2. Cookies taste as though they may have had too much or little of an ingredient.
3. Kitchen safety rules were not followed.
4. Kitchen sanitation rules were not completely followed. Teacher had to remind group many
times.
5. Clean up was not completed.
6. Group was not serious about tasks and may have been reprimanded by teacher.
7. Students did not understand proper measuring techniques.
Orange Julius and Cinnamon Twist Rubric
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Practice basic safety procedures for self and others.
Apply general scientific principles of nutrition to preparation and consumption of foods.
2. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Evaluate and practice effective verbal and written communication skills in a variety of
situations.
Be a contributing member of a group.
3 - Above Standard:
1. Cinnamon Twists are cooked evenly and have a pleasing, golden appearance.
2. Cinnamon Twists are seasoned well. They are evenly coated with the cinnamon sugar not
too much or too little.
3. Orange Julius was creamy without any large chunks of ice.
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4. Kitchen safety rules were followed. No noticeable errors (cupboard doors left open, spills
cleaned up immediately, hands washed before beginning to cook).
5. Kitchen Sanitation rules were followed (hair tied back off of shoulders, dishes washed
immediately after use).
6. Thorough clean up in kitchen.
7. Group worked well together and followed directions (left class on time after completing
tasks).
8. Student used proper measuring techniques (student did not estimate on measuring, always
used a flat edge with measuring spoons, liquid measuring cups placed on counter while
student looks at calibration).
9. Students transferred knowledge from one task to another successfully using the correct foods
and nutrition principle in both situations.
2 - Standard:
1. Cinnamon Twists are cooked evenly.
2. Cinnamon Twists taste well made.
3. Orange Julius was creamy without any large chunks of ice.
4. Kitchen safety rules were followed with few reminders from the teacher.
5. Kitchen sanitation rules were followed.
6. Clean up in kitchen was completed with only 1-2 suggestions from the teacher.
7. Group worked together as a group.
8. Students tried to use proper measuring techniques. Teacher gave suggestions.
9. Students used correct knowledge for one familiar task, but not the other similar task.
1 Below Standard:
1. Cinnamon Twists were under or over cooked.
2. Cinnamon Twists taste as though they may have had too much or little of an ingredient.
3. Orange Julius had too much of one ingredient (orange juice, milk, sugar, or vanilla).
4. Kitchen safety rules were not followed.
5. Kitchen sanitation rules were not completely followed. Teacher had to remind group many
times.
6. Clean up was not completed.
7. Group was not serious about tasks and may have been reprimanded by the teacher.
8. Students did not understand proper measuring techniques.
Pizza Rubric
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Practice basic safety procedures for self and others.
Investigate the factors and consequences of decisions related to personal and social
issues.
Apply general scientific principles of nutrition to preparation and consumption of foods.
39


2. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Evaluate and practice effective verbal and written communication skills in a variety of
situations.
Be a contributing member of a group.
Develop sensitivity to and an understanding of the needs, opinions, and concerns of
people when interacting in all types of situations.
3 - Above Standard:
1. Pizza crust is cooked evenly and has a pleasing, golden appearance.
2. Pizza has toppings that are evenly placed on the crust. Pizza sauce is well seasoned and
evenly spread on the crust.
3. Crust is cooked thoroughly all the way through to the middle.
4. Kitchen safety rules were followed. No noticeable errors (cupboard doors left open, spills
cleaned up immediately, hands washed before beginning to cook).
5. Kitchen Sanitation rules were followed (hair tied back off of shoulders, dishes washed
immediately after use).
6. Thorough clean up in kitchen.
7. Group worked well together and followed directions (left class on time after completing
tasks).
8. Student used proper measuring techniques (student did not estimate on measuring, always
used a flat edge with measuring spoons, liquid measuring cups placed on counter while
student looks at calibration).
9. Students used the correct table setting and proper table manners.
10. Students transferred knowledge from one task to another successfully using the correct foods
and nutrition principle in both situations.
2 Standard:
1. Pizza is cooked evenly and thoroughly
2. Pizza tastes well made.
3. Kitchen safety rules were followed with few reminders from the teacher.
4. Kitchen sanitation rules were followed.
5. Clean up in kitchen was completed with only 1-2 suggestions from the teacher
6. Group worked together.
7. Students tried to use proper measuring techniques. Teacher gave suggestions.
8. Students used proper table manners and correct table setting.
9. Students used correct knowledge for one familiar task, but not the other similar task.
1 Below Standard:
1. Pizza was under or over cooked.
2. Pizza sauce tasted as though it may have had too much or little of an ingredient.
3. Pizza toppings were not carefully placed on the pizza, giving the pizza a pleasing and
balanced appearance; cheese and sauce were not close to the edge.
4. Kitchen safety rules were not followed.
5. Kitchen sanitation rules were not completely followed. Teacher had to remind group many
times.
6. Clean up was not completed
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7. Group was not serious about tasks and may have been reprimanded by the teacher.
8. Students did not understand proper measuring techniques.
9. Students did not follow the correct table setting or used another students dining utensils
while eating.
10. Students did not use proper table manners.
Types of Written Assignments
There are many types of written assignments that may be used in the
classroom. The following lesson plans include a variety of journal entries; admit/exit
slips, learning logs, and other miscellaneous writing tasks. Sharon Andrews states,
Implementing a variety of strategies has made me a more effective role model and
advocate for writing to learn (1). The lessons below integrate writing in the daily
plans, and journals are used as the initial writing assignment.
It is important that the teacher tell the class, as an assistant professor of
English education and humanities at Penn State Harrisburg, Cheri Louise Ross, does,
writing in journals will help the students learn the material, that you are interested in
their questions and commentsnot in their spelling, grammar, and punctuationand
that journals will count as part of the grade (190). If writing instruction is
emphasized, it may detract from the goal to increase learning of the content. Joanne
Kurfiss from the University of Delaware states writing used for learning does not
require explicit teaching of writingonly use of writing as a pedagogical tool (3).
Also, some teachers may argue that to place too much emphasis on writing by
grading down on mechanical errors may inhibit the students thinking process. Toby
Fulwiler speaks on the value of learning logs, journals, daybooks or whatever they
41


may be called, in any particular classroom, and touches on the informality of the
writing so the learner has a safe place to explore his/her thoughts:
We would not disagree about their purpose and value: writing helps
our students learn things better and these notebooks provide a place in which
to write informally yet systematically in order to seek, discover, speculate, and
figure things out (9).
As discussed in the previous chapter, one important step of a successful
writing assignment is the authentic audience. The assignments below use an audience
other than the teacher, although ultimately, the teacher is the grader.
Lesson 1: KITCHEN SAFETY
Purpose: To introduce students to safety methods to use while in the foods lab.
Standard(s) Achieved: Students apply safe work habits when utilizing a variety of technologies.
Select and demonstrate the safe use of appropriate tools, procedures, and/or equipment
needed to complete task.
Understand fire prevention and safety precautions.
Be aware of the potential dangers and proper safety procedures when using household
chemicals.
Follow laboratory and classroom safety rules and procedures.
Objective:
1. To ensure safety for all students while working within the lab.
2. To increase personal awareness of safety practices while in the lab and are able to practice the
same safety methods at home.
Materials Needed:
1. Picture of Unsafe Kitchen Practices
2. Handouts of Kitchen Safety Rules
Introduction:
Find a picture of unsafe practices and have students discuss what they see.
**Have students individually write 5 unsafe methods they view in the picture.
Instructional Input:
Hand out Safety in the Kitchen Rules. With the aid of students, explain the individual rules while
embellishing as much as possible with true personal experience stories of how people who did not use
proper safety techniques were affected.
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Group Practice:
None
Individual Practice:
**After class discussion, have students get out their journal and place the date on top right comer of
first page. Label the entry as Safe Kitchen Practices.
Speculate how it will be when your group does the first lab and fails to follow the safe kitchen
practice procedures. Who will it affect most? What is the worst thing that could happen? Write a
short description of how the kitchen will look at the end of the lab if the proper safety and sanitation
procedures are not followed. While writing this journal entry, follow the format discussed in the rubric
for your journal entries. After you are done, trade journal entries with another member of your lab
group and respond to their writing with what you agree and disagree with in their write-up. Your
audience is your lab partner. Evaluate the entry using the journal rubric.
Closing:
Discuss with students the journal entries and reiterate why it is important to know the kitchen safety
rules.
This next lesson includes a fun skit for the class that discusses food sanitation.
It is a great exercise for literacy. This lesson also includes the use of a newspaper that
requires the student to use their imagination to speculate on a real world situation
tying the students classroom knowledge to their experiences. Diana Mitchell says
how these kinds of activities help them see how class work is connected to the real
world (94).
Lesson 2: KITCHEN SANITATION
Purpose: To help students comprehend the dangers of improper food handling techniques.
Standard(s) Achieved: Students apply safe work habits when utilizing a variety of technologies.
Select and demonstrate the safe use of appropriate tools, procedures, and/or equipment needed
to complete the task.
Objective:
1. The learner will demonstrate proper food handling techniques.
2. The learner will comprehend the dangers of improper food handling techniques by viewing
different statistics of Americans with food bom illnesses.
3. The learner will increase literacy by reading and comprehending the skit.
Materials Needed:
1. Video Food Safety Is No Mystery
2. Skit Who Did It?
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3. Overhead Food Safety and Sanitation
4. Newspaper articles on the sanitation of restaurants
Introduction:
Have four boys and four girls volunteer who like to read in front of the class.
Assign each student a part try to match parts with personality as much as possible.
To increase the attention of the viewers, the teacher may add props such as signs
with the cast member's names, sports gear for the softball player and mallet for the
judge, etc.
Have students read the skit with much bravado then after the skit, ask members of
the jury "Who is responsible?" Include the class in a discussion about problems
about sanitation within the skit.
Instructional Input:
A. Read and explain symptoms of food bom illness.
B. Discuss ways to prevent food contamination.
C. Show Video (optional) When section of reporter's notebook comes onto screen, have
students copy the notes.
Activities:
Have students use newspaper articles discussing the sanitation practices of restaurants. For
day two in journal, have the students answer the following questions:
1. Analyze, the effectiveness of this restaurants food safety procedures? Would you eat in
this place? Why or why not? Compare this restaurant in the newspaper article with a
restaurant at which you have eaten. What are some of the sanitary procedures you saw
employees following while you were there? How would it be similar to the restaurant in
the newspaper?
2. What practices do you believe make food the safest to eat? What food preparation
techniques will you do differently to prevent any type of food poisoning?
*Evaluate yourself using the journal rubric.
This next lesson begins the use of admit/exit slips. These are very useful for
the teacher who wants to find out what the students already know or what they have
learned. Use the admit slips at the beginning of class to stimulate discussion about
the topic. Ask an open-ended question about the issue to be studied or about then-
assignment the night before. This is their ticket to enter class. At the end of class,
ask for an exit slip in which the teacher can ask the students to write one new concept
they learned in class that day, what the student did not understand, or a paragraph
about how the student will use anything from the days lesson or any open ended
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question, again, about the lesson. This is a nice way to bring closure to the days
lesson. Sharon Andrews writes,
Admit/exit slips are among the most versatile writing-to-leam
strategies. Perhaps the most attractive feature of this strategy is its brevity.
This makes it a favorite among my students, and many imagine that they
could and will use admit/exit slips in their future classrooms (1).
Day 3: MEASURING
Purpose: To demonstrate to students the correct way of measuring ingredients for a recipe.
Standard(s) Achieved: Students apply safe work habits when utilizing a variety of technologies.
Select and demonstrate the safe use of appropriate tools, procedures, and/or equipment needed
to complete a task.
Admit slips As soon as they enter the classroom, have students use an index card and write what they
know about measuring. What is important about measuring correctly? Use this to stimulate their
learning for the lesson of the day.
Intro:
Read admit slips and discuss previous experiences of the students.
Instructional Input:
Pass out handout for measuring.
Demonstrate how to make chocolate chip cookies by using correct measuring techniques.
Group work:
Pass out worksheet of measuring. With the class, the teacher should do the first few.
Individual Input:
Have the class finish the worksheet on their own.
Exit slip:
Have students answer this question on another index card before they exit class. What did you learn
today that would help you measure differently in the lab in a couple of days?
The students are expected to have a good knowledge base of kitchen safety
and sanitation and are quizzed. After the quiz the students must do a write-up in their
journals about what they expect from the lab, including how they will be evaluated by
the teacher, and how they will fulfill the expectations of the other group members.
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They are also to verbalize how they will use their new knowledge, giving them the
visualization of the things they will be doing. Then when it comes time for them to
actually do the task, they have already done it in their minds eye. Wassermann talks
about the value of students reflecting on their own ideas of what is to come,
Responses of this kind require students to examine the surface
dimensions of an idea, to replay it in their heads, and to assume ownership of
it. These reflective responses are the core of teaching for thinking interactions
(464).
As a way to reevaluate the lab, the students have to evaluate themselves in the
post-lab journal entry and reflect on how they did and what they would do differently
next time. They also have to write about the knowledge they gained from their
hands-on experience. This is a good way for the student to tie together what they
thought would happen in the lab, and what actually did happen. Students usually feel
safe writing in journals especially if the teacher explains what the purpose of the
journal is: to allow students to write down their thoughts without much concern over
the mechanics of the writing. Journaling is a writing method that is usually a
smoother writing style filled with the writers thoughts instead of stilted and shallow
writing (Fichtner, 33) that frequently consumes research papers.
Lesson 4: PRELAB PLAN and SAFETY QUIZ
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Practice basic safety procedures for self and others.
Apply general scientific principles of nutrition to preparation and consumption of foods.
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2. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Evaluate and practice effective verbal and written communication skills in a variety of
situations.
Be a contributing member of a group.
Quiz students over Safety and Sanitation
Plan for Lab Using a Lab plan sheet,, divide students or have them divide themselves into groups of
four or five. Then, assign students tasks within the group. At the end of group planning, have the
students begin a write-up in the journal for the cookie lab.
Pre-lab journal entry:
Label the entry Cookie Prelab
What is your teacher looking for in this lab? What are you being graded on? What difficulties do you
foresee in your group while working together to have a successful lab experience? What will increase
your chances of meeting or exceeding your teacher's expectations for this lab? How do you expect to
use your new skills of measuring? Give specific examples. Follow the rubric for Journal Entries.
Trade completed journal entries with a lab partner. Evaluate each other using the journal rubric.
LAB
Post-lab journal entry:
Label the entry Cookie Postlab
After your group has evaluated itself and had a chance for self-reflection, in this journal, evaluate
yourself as a participating group member. How did you follow all safety and sanitation procedures?
How did you use or see your group members use proper measuring techniques? What would you do
differently in the next lab? What were your weaknesses and strengths as a group and as an individual?
Trade your completed journal entry with the same lab partner who read your pre-lab journal entry.
Evaluate each others entry, then turn in your journal to the teacher.
Once again, the writing assignment in this next lesson targets the audience, the
USD A. The letter from the student makes the information personal, yet makes the
audience, the USDA who developed the Food Guide Pyramid, a very realistic one.
One of the ways to validate this writing exercise even more is to have envelopes
ready with the address of USDA on the front along with a stamp! The USDA'has an
education specialist and this would be our source.
Lesson 5 Food Guide Pyramid
Purpose: To introduce students to the concept of the Food Guide Pyramid.
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Standard(s) Achieved: Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing arid maintaining
personal and family health/wellness.
Analyze eating and exercise habits as related to body fitness.
Objectives:
1. The learner will identify the Food Guide Pyramid.
2. The learner will classify individual food groups into the appropriate food group.
3. The learner will understand the importance of using the Food Guide Pyramid as a life tool and
how it can improve the quality of life.
Materials Needed:
1. Picture of the Food Guide Pyramid.
2. Handout of Food Guide Pyramid pattern.
3. Color pencils and markers.
Introduction:
Have a discussion asking students where they have seen a picture of the Food Guide Pyramid and why
those particular places have displayed it.
Instructional Input:
Using the Food Guide Pyramid visual, go over each group of the Food Guide Pyramid, including
recommended number of servings and serving sizes. Also, review the six essential nutrients and their
roles in the food guide pyramid.
**Have the students take notes on the lesson.
Group Demonstration:
With the class helping, review the menu a student ate in the last 24 hours and categorize the foods into
the best group of the food guide pyramid. Then, determine if the student ate the recommended number
of servings USDA suggests.
Individual Work:
Have the students write a letter to the USDA describing why the Food Guide Pyramid was a good
change in the nutritional guidelines of the American diets. Have the students discuss how the Food
Guide Pyramid has changed or will change their eating habits. Turn the letter into the teacher when
done.
The activity below is less of a structured, journalistic entry. Instead, it is a
crossword that is fun, yet reinforces the concept the students just learned. A
crossword requires the students to continually review the information provided them
in order to find a perfect fit within the puzzle they are designing.
Lesson 6
Purpose: To identify the seven American Dietary Guidelines by the USDA.
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Standard(s) Achieved: Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining
personal and family health/wellness.
Analyze eating and exercise habits as related to body fitness.
Objective:
1. The learner will recall the American Dietary Guidelines.
2. The learner will apply the American Dietary Guidelines to their eating regimen.
Materials Needed:
Overhead transparency of American Dietary Guidelines.
Introduction:
As the students enter the classroom, give each student a slip of paper with one of the American Dietary
Guidelines written on it. (This will be used later in the lesson.)
Begin class with a review of the Food Guide Pyramid, calling on different students to answer the
questions. After the teacher is done reviewing, have the students write down any problems they may
foresee in following the Pyramid. The teacher may give hints because the teacher is looking for the
areas the American Dietary Guidelines cover. Discuss. Have students take notes.
Instructional Input:
As a way to include the students more in the lecture, ask for the student who has the slip of paper with
the number one marked on it. Begin with the student reading the American Dietary Guideline number
one. Then, discuss. Repeat this procedure with the rest of the Guidelines until through.
Group Discussion:
None
Individual Work:
For the students writing assignment, have the students make their own crossword with the American
Dietary Guidelines including the clues to the answers. Have the students use key words out of every
guideline, as each guideline must be included in the crossword. The students must include an answer
sheet. Trade crosswords with another student in the class and do it. When a student is done with the
crossword, give it back to the creator of the puzzle to see if the answers are correct.
Conclusion:
As a wrap-up, have students review the Dietary Guidelines again. If time permits, ask for student
volunteers who can say all seven Dietary Guidelines. Give prizes (pencils, erasers, small candy) for
those who succeed.
Lesson seven focuses on the day before the lab, informing the students of the
methodologies they are to follow the next day. This lesson is excellent for the visual
learners because of the demonstration, yet this lesson also includes the prelab write-
up forcing the learner to think and visualize what will happen the next day during the
49


lab. The day after the lab, students complete their post lab write-up analyzing how
the lab progressed and identifying Food and Nutrition concepts used within the lab.
Lesson 7 Prelab day
Purpose: To demonstrate the foods the students will be preparing in the lab the next day and review all
cooking principles that have been covered so far.
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Practice basic safety procedures for self and others
Apply general scientific principles of nutrition to preparation and consumption of foods.
2. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Evaluate and practice effective verbal and written communication skills in a variety of
situations.
Be a contributing member of a group.
Objective:
1. The student will visually see how the Orange Julius and Cinnamon Twists are prepared, will
know how they taste, and understand how to prepare the food themselves.
2. The student will combine all knowledge of the class to date and demonstrate that knowledge
successfully while preparing food.
3. The learner will categorize the foods being prepared into the various food groups of the
Pyramid and apply the Guidelines to the same foods.
Materials Needed:
1. Orange Julius and Cinnamon Twist recipes.
2. Ingredients for Orange Julius and Cinnamon Twists.
Introduction:
Review briefly the safety and sanitary guidelines, measuring techniques, Food Guide Pyramid and
American Dietary Guidelines. Have students help with this.
Instructional Input:
Prepare the Cinnamon Twist and Orange Julius foods. During preparation, remind students of all the
safety and sanitary guidelines, measuring techniques, Food Guide Pyramid, and American Dietary
Guidelines being followed. Ask students to write down any methods they see during the
demonstration, which is to be turned in at the end of class as an exit slip. This will also be a-part of the
evaluation.
Small Group Discussion:
Have students get into their cooking groups and plan their lab designating the jobs each student must
do to have a successful lab experience.
Individual Work:
When students are done planning for the lab with their groups, have them start their prelab write-up in
their journals. Include answers to these questions:
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Label entry Orange Julius and Cinnamon Twist Prelab
What is your group being graded for in this lab? What are you, as an individual, being graded
for in this lab? What difficulties do you foresee for your group in this lab? If you could name one
thing that your group should work on for this lab, what would it be? What role are you going to play
to make your group succeed? Write a short paragraph about how your group is going to implement all
the skills you have learned in Consumer and Family Studies. Use specific examples.
Trade your completed journal entries with a lab partner. Evaluate each other using the journal rubric.
Closing:
Have students turn in exit slips and review the expectations for the lab day.
LAB:
Watch students prepare foods and require them to follow all safety and sanitary techniques, as well as
proper measuring procedures. Review the standards from the previous lessons that students will be
demonstrating.
Post Lab write-up:
Label the entry Orange Julius Postlab
After your group has evaluated itself and had a chance for self-reflection, in your journal,
evaluate yourself as a participating group member. Did you follow all safety and sanitation
procedures? Did you use or see your group members use proper measuring techniques? How does the
Orange Julius fit into the Food Guide Pyramid and American Dietary Guidelines? What would you do
differently in the next lab? What were your weaknesses and strengths as a group and as an individual?
Trade your completed journal entry with the same lab partner who read your pre-lab journal entry.
Evaluate each others entry, than turn your journal in to the teacher.
The next two lessons, lessons eight and nine, are a two-day unit on etiquette.
They are to be used together in order to complete each other. Lesson eight has a
writing assignment that helps the student think about consequences to every action,
forcing the student to think beyond the classroom. The writing activity for lesson
nine gives the students a chance to explore their creative side adding a little bit of fun
while still writing on the topic.
Lesson 8 Table Manners
Purpose: To teach students common table manners
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Develop sensitivity to and an understanding of the needs, opinions, and concerns of
people when interacting in all types of situations.
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2. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Investigate the factors and consequences of decisions related to personal and social
issues.
Objectives:
1. The learner will demonstrate proper table manner techniques in the lab and at home.
2. The learner will describe why people should use proper table manners.
Materials Needed:
1. Movie clip
2. True/false quiz
Introduction:
Show a clip of a movie or a television show where the character does not use good table manners.
Have students pay close attention to which table manners the character destroys and how the rest of the
characters on the show react.
Ex. Big Daddy
Instructional Input:
Administer the true/false quiz that will not be evaluated but will be used as a guide for the discussion
that follows. As the teacher reveals the answers, students will check their papers and then discuss the
intricacies of that particular table manner. Continue in this manner until the questions on the quiz have
all been corrected.
Group Work:
None
Individual Work:
Label entry the Table Manners.
Have students write in their journals about a time when they did not use proper table manners and had
consequences to their actions. Also, have students include five table manners they learned during the
days lesson and how they will use them at the evening meal.
Students are to evaluate themselves using the journal rubric.
Closing:
Remind students about their homework, using five new table manners at home that night, because they
will be asked about it the next day.
Lesson 9 Table Setting
Purpose: To clarify the correct way to set a cover.
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Develop sensitivity to and an understanding of the needs, opinions, and concerns of
people when interacting in all types of situations.
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2. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Investigate the factors and consequences of decisions related to personal and social
issues.
Objectives:
The learner will demonstrate the proper table setting in a variety of situations.
Materials Needed:
Stemware and dinnerware for a complete cover.
Introduction:
Admit slip Review what the expectation was for their homework the night before. Have the students
write down which table manners they chose and how it turned out. Discuss.
Introduce the concept of table setting by giving students examples of occasions when it is important to
know the correct table setting.
Instructional Input:
Demonstrate a correct table setting. Have students take notes on the different ways a table may be set
depending on the situation.
Individual Work-
Have the students write a letter advising the character, in the movie clip they saw the previous day,
how to set a correct table. The letter must include a detailed report of where to place the essential
dinnerware and silverware pieces. Also, the letter must include advice on what to do in uncertain
situations such as being unsure what utensil to begin eating with, or when to begin eating, or what to
do if a piece of food or utensil is dropped on the floor.
Turn your letter into the teacher for evaluation.
Lesson 10 Prelab day
Purpose: To demonstrate the foods the students will be preparing in the lab the next day and review all
cooking principles that have been covered so far.
Standard(s) Achieved:
1. Students evaluate lifestyle choices relative to developing and maintaining personal and family
health/wellness.
Practice basic safety procedures for self and others.
Investigate the factors and consequences of decisions related to personal and social
issues.
Apply general scientific principles of nutrition to preparation and consumption of foods.
2. Students demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships.
Evaluate and practice effective verbal and written communication skills in a variety of
situations.
Be a contributing member of a group.
Develop sensitivity to and an understanding of the needs, opinions, and concerns of
people when interacting in all types of situations.
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Objective:
1. The students will visually see how the pizza is prepared, will know how it tastes, and will
understand how to prepare the food.
2. The students will combine all knowledge of class to date and demonstrate knowledge
successfully while preparing food.
3. The learners will categorize the foods being prepared into the various food groups of the
Pyramid and apply the Guidelines to the same foods.
Materials Needed:
1. Pizza recipes.
2. Ingredients for pizza.
Introduction:
Review briefly the safety and sanitary guidelines, measuring techniques, Food Guide Pyramid,
American Dietary Guidelines, table manners, and table settings. Have the students help with this.
Instructional Input:
Prepare the pizza. During demonstration, remind students of all the safety and sanitary guidelines,
measuring techniques, Food Guide Pyramid and American Dietary Guidelines content being followed.
Ask students to write down any methods that they see during the demonstration.
Small Group Discussion:
Have the students get into their cooking groups and plan their lab, designating the jobs each student
must do to have a successful lab experience.
Individual Work:
When students are done planning for the lab with their groups, have them start their prelab write-up in
their journal. Include answers to these questions:
Label the entry Pizza Prelab.
What is your group being graded on in this lab? What are you, as an individual, being graded
on in this lab? What difficulties do you foresee for your group in this lab? If you could name one thing
that your group should work on in this lab, what is it? What role are you going to play to make your
group succeed? Write a short paragraph about how your group is going to implement all the skills you
have learned in Consumer and Family Studies. Use specific examples.
Trade your completed journal entry with a lab partner. Evaluate each other using the journal rubric.
Closing:
Have the students draw a picture of the table setting they will use for the lab.
LAB:
Watch students prepare foods and require them to follow all safety and sanitary techniques, as well as
proper measuring procedures. Review the standards from the previous lessons that students will be
demonstrating.
Post Lab write-up:
Label the entry Pizza Postlab
After your group has evaluated itself and had a chance for self-reflection, in the journals,
evaluate yourself as a participating group member. Did you follow all safety and sanitation
54


procedures? Did you use or see your group members use proper measuring techniques? How does the
pizza fit into the Food Guide Pyramid and American Dietary Guidelines? In your group, what table
manners did you see others follow? What table mariners did you see that were not polite? What would
you do differently in the next lab? What were your weaknesses and strengths as a group and as an
individual?
Evaluation/Assessment
Part of incorporating writing in the classroom is having an understanding of
how to grade the writing assignments. Knowledge of the many techniques of
evaluation could help a teacher decide on the assignment style and what assessment
complements those assignments to encourage the most effective student effort. As
mentioned earlier in this chapter by Sharon Andrews, a teacher should use a variety
of writing activities in the classroom. The same is true with evaluations! Use a
variety of evaluative techniques including various forms of self-evaluation, peer-
evaluation, and teacher-evaluation. Keep the students interested in performing well
for the different evaluators while distributing a clear standard of grading.
As part of my lessons, I included the standards, benchmarks, rubrics, and
objectives for each one. By doing this, a teacher helps the students succeed because
they know before they begin the assignment what they have to do to earn a successful
grade, and they also know why they are doing the assignment it is not just busy
work. Anita Graham speaks about rubrics and standards saying, these guides took
the mystery out of both my expectations and their ultimate grade... I can
communicate standards of excellence clearly and specifically (9). McFarland
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agrees, Grading criterion given in advance, complete with objectives and models,
appears to help many students with written assignments (7).
By introducing the standards and rubrics on the first day of class, it aids
teachers in identifying exactly what they expect from the students in the assignment -
it provides a focus. Graham says, to focus on what I really wanted in a particular
assignment(9). The teacher will be more consistent with the grading and will
provide more meaningful and constructive comments upon return of the assignments
(Graham, 9). Although feedback from the teacher is meant to be constructive, the
students often perceive feedback as criticism rather than constructive suggestions
(Boughey, 131). With the implementation of the standards and rubrics as the grading
system in the writing classroom, a teacher can grade to the expectations handout and
the students may perceive the comments less negatively and more constructively with
prior knowledge of expectations.
But all of this centers on the teacher as the evaluator. What about using the
students for peer and self-evaluations? Lytton, Marshall-Baker, Benson, and
Blieszner are instructors at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
They all utilize writing assignments in their classes and speak on the merits of peer
reviews:
Crafting a message for a particular audience.. .requires.. .an increased
awareness of the social context of writing and the importance of writing to
communicate a message. The use of peer review builds on this awareness by
encouraging students to become collaborative learners as they give and
receive feedback.. .not competitive learning (41).
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With the standards and rubrics established and dispersed to the students, they
can grade themselves or others against the scoring guides. The guides are very
thorough and complete, making the criteria clear. As the students have more
exposure to the assignments and the grading sheets, they will become more capable of
evaluating each others assignments as well as their own.
.. .Scoring guides allow students to become editor-partners and
ultimately self-editors.. .[they] began evaluating each others work against the
guides. The next step was to have each editor read over his or her partners
work to make corrections.... By now, students were well on their way to
being real editors (Graham, 9).
What about the time commitment? This issue must be addressed because
many teachers shy away from writing because they do not feel they have the time it
takes to commit to read and grade all writing assignments. Cheri Louise Ross
suggests that teachers .. .collect the journals frequently, say every other week (190),
not weekly. Or randomly collect and grade a few students writing assignments at a
time. Keep the students guessing but still productive. Dr. VandeWeghe at University
of Colorado of Denver uses that method in his Teaching Writing classes, and I, as one
of his students, made sure my work was done since I never knew if my turn was up.
Or have the students grade themselves after the teacher is sure the students
completely understand the expectations. Spiller and Fraser state, Peer-assisted
learning with the writing process enables the students to give and seek feedback from
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each other, to collaborate on and contest ideas, and to develop their writing as reader,
rather than writer centered (143).
Conclusion
Understanding the purpose of writing assignments and the method of
evaluation is essential to maintaining an effective Writing Across the Curriculum
classroom. Through a variety of writing assignments that can fit into any classroom
and the use of standards and rubrics for evaluation, writing can achieve that higher
standard of learning. Art Young describes his feelings about reading writing
assignments when students are set up to succeed as eager to read the writing of my
students this semester (70). Imagine classrooms across America with teachers who
feel like that!
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CHAPTER 4
A SCOPE AND SEQUENCE FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
After months and even years of reading about Writing Across the Curriculum,
I have come to the conclusion that if teachers do not utilize writing in the classroom
then writing is a missing piece in their students education. Most teachers are
constantly looking for ways to improve their teaching. The use of writing will do
that. James Britton states,
There is a whole world of experience to be interpreted, and writing is a
major means of interpreting it. Why therefore as teachers do we go around
looking for practice jobs, dummy runs, rigged or stage-managed situations,
when in fact the whole of what requires to be worked upon is there waiting to
be worked upon (29).
The more teachers know about writing in the classroom, the more they will use it, and
the more students will learn. The pieces that I believe need further review in WAC
are the following; one, the further study of teacher resistance, development, and
support through a writing center for each school and two, the further study of the
integration of standards into secondary WAC programs.
Teacher Resistance. Development, and Writing Centers
The existing WAC programs across the country have undergone solid
introductory workshops an effective way to motivate teachers to begin using WAC.
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But what happens after the first few years when implementing WAC is no longer
new, when the honeymoon is over and the glow has died down? Teacher
participation seems to fizzle out. They get tired of the work involved in WAC
amongst other reasons. New teachers, who know little or nothing about WAC, come
in to replace the retired teachers, and administration isnt ready to invest funds into a
whole new training session to remotivate and retrain only a few years after the initial
training. Soon the teachers on the WAC committee are the only participants of WAC
in the entire school.
Current inservice trainings seem to be structured correctly, according to Joyce
and Flowers, who have completed studies on student achievement. They begin with
presenting theory and information, followed by demonstrations and models, then
practice, obtaining feedback, and finally coaching for application. After all the
training is done, then what? Teachers are trained with this information, but many,
after trying some of the techniques a few times, shove the WAC handouts in their
desk drawer. Other teachers give WAC an honest effort, only to be discouraged by
the time and commitment that writing takes.
A piece of the WAC inservice training that seems to be lacking in secondary
schools is the final link, the coach that will be there years after the inservice to help
teachers continue on with lesson plans that include WAC assignments.
Many higher educations establishments have writing centers along with a
coach. Most high schools and middle schools do not. Pamela Childers is the director
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of the Caldwell Writing Center and WAC program at McCallie School, one of the
few secondary schools who do have a writing program as well as a director. She
works closely with other instructors who bring WAC into their classrooms. She
speaks on the merits of a writing center saying, .. .where there are 'writing centers,
these facilities tend to function as the nucleus of the WAC program..(1).
In order for WAC to be a thriving movement in secondary schools, perhaps
research should look into writing centers at the very least, and also adding
directors/coaches to the mix. How would this affect writing programs in middle
schools as well as high schools? How would the influence of writing centers and
directors in every building help the teachers develop lesson plans to include writing
assignments? Could writing center directors help lighten the time of lesson
preparation for the teachers, while increasing the learning of all students after the
assignments are in place? Would students not feel so helpless when it comes time to
start a writing assignment for science, knowing that the writing center is always a
personal resource for them? Writing centers are successful in universities, but how
would they affect the morale of middle school and high school teachers and how
would they help WAC stay in the schools and not fizzle out?
Writing and State Standards
Because of recent public demands for schools to go back to the basics and
increase literacy, statewide standards and assessments have been developed for the
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public schools. This is a major concern for many writing teachers because writing
evaluation is quite subjective. As Rose Witucki says,
Writing involves the manipulation of language, the transferring of the
symbols of thought into the symbols of print, and then the arranging of those
symbols according to a complex system of organization, spelling, punctuation,
capitalization, and grammar. Add to that the above teachers list of concerns,
and writing instruction becomes a veritable maze (4).
Standards and assessments are used to make the learning of all students more
objective and concrete.
With the recent introduction of assessments and standards comes a whole new
realm of research in regards to WAC. How do standards relate to WAC? How can
standards be utilized to their best potential in a writing classroom? How do standards
and WAC work together to increase student learning? Do more rigorous standards
actually decrease student graduation and increase dropout rates?
Implications for Pedagogy
With the conclusion of this thesis, I hope to persuade any teacher, who may not be a
writing teacher, to incorporate writing assignments into his/her classroom. Begin
with a few writing assignments in one unit. See how writing works with the
classroom full of learners. Compare unit test scores of previous semesters with those
in the present semester that were preceded by the writing assignments. At the same
time, be aware that all students may not meet the writing standard, but they are still
capable of progress.
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Student teachers ready to begin their careers in the education community
should be prepared to teach writing in all classes as was expected from them in their
university courses. These students should be aware of the limitations and
repercussions of WAC and be more prepared of how to deal both the positive and
negative aspects of them. If student teachers are more aware of what is to come, they
will be able to figure out ways to bypass or enhance them. They also should be aware
of their support system and resources which is available to help them with using
writing in the classroom.
As for society and their perceptions of public education, let them see us work
harder to achieve the measure of learning that teachers, students, and parents alike
want. We will be accountable for student learning and we will succeed.
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