What are the components of a great writing program for students?
A great writing program for students has structure and freedom, allows for choice but also sets parameters, it teaches technique and reliable devices but allows for discovery while building skills and discipline. It needs to use models for writing that stretch the horizons of the students and also has a diverse set of cultural and historical texts to appeal to student interests and contexts. It needs to involve the full cycle of the writing process on more than one occasion and also at different depth levels. It needs to promote analysis and self-metacognition.
Assessment allows for students to repeat a process multiple times to see growth in key areas throughout the semester. Assessment needs to be personalized and measure individual growth over time. It needs to allow for students to develop a portfolio of best work but should emphasize process as much as product.
It should allow for collaborative work manifesting a classroom culture of trust and reliance among students. Peer assessment and feedback that is timely and constructively critical should be the goal. Multiple modes of expression using various levels of technology should be promoted. Above all various community experts and authentic audiences should be employed to heighten the authenticity of the writing program.
These are the goals I aim to hit every day in my writing program. I don’t always hit a a bulls-eye, but my aim is true.