Janell Baker and I have chosen this project because our school has identified a need to improve student writing, and we have had conversations with teachers of various subjects about the need for continuity regarding what is expected for student writing. We are hoping that by making a discussion guide available to our staff, we will be able to provide a beginning for meaningful conversation in support of teaching writing across the curriculum. *See http://thirdcoastwritingproject.wordpress.com/big-questions/writing-acro... to find out more information and to find the discussion guide Word document.
In our Spanish department, we are unified in our belief that more project based learning and less of our rigorous textbook focused lessons will improve students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. With this project focus, a lot of writing will be needed and we will still be responsible for teaching the grammatical structures that our standards require and the students need to complete the tasks. Therefore, we hope to propose a book study to help our department learn to teach grammar in creative and engaging ways within the context of writing that students are excited about and see as useful. We think it would be a great inspiration as we revise our curriculum and work in more of the writing process as well.
How it Demonstrates/Integrates Best Practices:
One important aspect of best practice is the presence of collaboration across the content areas. The discussion guide we have compiled provides a forum for generating conversations to create a unified approach to teaching writing across the content areas.
We plan to meet with the department head of Language Arts in August to share this resource with her. We will get her input, and possibly the input of the entire ELA department, before proposing this idea to our school administrators. If the proposal is adopted, we hope to begin discussion on how to bring the idea to our entire staff in an attainable way that helps teachers to see the need for minor, not major, revisions to our already existing curriculum.
In addition, we are hoping to propose the book study to our school via email before the school year starts. If they are interested, we would need to determine when and how long to meet and what attainable goals we could set. We would then need to talk to our principal about the possibility of getting PD hours for our meetings, especially if they happen outside of contract time. Finally, we would begin meeting as soon as we set our schedule together.