Ohio Resource Center
Day 2 Writing to Learn

The Ins, Outs, and In-Betweens of Multigenre Writing (ORC#: 5212)
In this article Nancy Mack provides a persuasive argument for the use of multigenre writing projects at the secondary and postsecondary levels. She has received student projects that have moved her as meaningful works of art rather than artificial, formatted research papers. Strong motivation for her argument is that this type of writing is challenging and requires use of academic skills. Multigenre assignments often pull on the knowledge gained from other courses. Within the article Mack includes specific information and details about a multigenre project she assigns at the college level. Included in this description are minilesson topics and examples of student work. The author also addresses the process of documentation with the use of primary and secondary sources, fact and fiction, authorial intent, and oral interviews. These projects work well because students are able to use this assignment to write artfully and skillfully about things that matter in their lives. (author/aec)

Muddying Boundaries: Mixing Genres with Five Paragraphs (ORC#: 5214)
This article informs secondary teachers and teacher educators about the value of teaching students to mix genres while writing the five-paragraph essay. The five-paragraph essay has a place in writing instruction because of the expectations of teachers in other content areas and its presence on statewide assessments. Deborah Dean discusses ways for students to use a variety of genres to see beyond the limitations of the form to what else can be accomplished -- to stretch the boundaries of what is expected. When students are familiar with the five-paragraph essay, they will be able to take risks with their writing, experimenting with mixing genres to create deeper understanding and insight. (author/aec)

Picture Books as Framing Texts: Research Paper Strategies for Struggling Writers (ORC#: 3813)
In this lesson, picture books are used to provide a writing frame for structuring research projects. Using picture books as models, students are able to think more about what to say and less about how to say it, which leads to better learning experiences and better writing. When matched to the research students are doing, these picture-book frames encourage writers to shape their content in ways that facilitate meaningful learning. Teachers should be sure to provide a range of picture books, varying in levels of complexity, to support struggling writers and provide approapriate challenges for more capable writers. (author/ncl)

Teaching Middle School Students to Be Active Researchers [excerpt]: Chapter 1, "Defining Active Research" (ORC#: 5209)
In this first chapter of Teaching Middle School Students to Be Active Researchers, the authors give a detailed description of active research and explain how it can be implemented in middle school. The authors present several scenarios to illustrate the different facets of active research. They also provide evidence about the developmental appropriateness of this inquiry process for middle school learners. Active research involves cooperation among a team of teachers to develop interdisciplinary topics. A model constructed of four instructional phases is provided to help guide the team planning and to help teachers promote successful active research by supporting students with five principles of design. These principles include setting and articulating clear goals, using developmentally appropriate practices, incorporating brain-based instructional strategies, using varied materials and resources, and engaging in ongoing assessment. (authors/aec)

Telling Your Story (ORC#: 97)
Created and reviewed by teams of educators, this writing activity describes a lesson in which students use historical information from a museum exhibit to write a fictional story from the point of view of someone who lived in the past. Drawn from the curriculum guide, Collecting Their Thoughts: Using Museums as Resources for Student Writing, which was developed by the Smithsonian Institute, this resource encourages the use of museum artwork, exhibits, and artifacts as a basis for student writing. Information for obtaining a copy of this publication is offered at the website. Links to online exhibits, such as online versions of the National Museum of American Art exhibitions, allow this activity to be completed as part of a virtual field trip. (author/ncl)

Writing To Learn, Learning To Write: Revisiting Writing Across the Curriculum in Northwest Secondary Schools (ORC#: 5167)
This booklet is part of a series published by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory on "hot topics" in the field of education. The topic is Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC). There is growing concern about the writing curriculum and instruction among educators, researchers, and policymakers, especially at the middle and high school levels. These concerns result from poor performance by many students on statewide writing assessments. As teachers are faced with limited time, they are looking for ways to incorporate writing into the content areas. Many are finding this practice to be not only a valuable way to save teaching time, but also an important tool for reflection and making connections with material in the content areas. This piece provides a brief overview of theories and research, explains common strategies for WAC, and describes ways to implement WAC into the middle and high school levels. (authors/aec)

Writing to Think Critically: The Seeds of Social Action (ORC#: 5207)
This article provides teachers with a plan to teach students how to use writing as a tool for critical thinking about the world around them. The goal is to enable students to feel empowered in their writing to speak for social change. Three modes of instruction are important to guide students in this process. One mode is demonstration, requiring teachers to provide ideas from their own writing notebooks, conduct minilessons, and model the type of writing being requested. The second is assisted performance, in which the teacher provides opportunities to try out new strategies as students work on changing habits of how they think and write about social concerns. The final mode of instruction is reflective conversation, in which the teacher conferences with the students and helps expand on developing ideas. As students' writing collections reach ten or more, they begin to reread and look for a common theme. By retracing the journey of their own thoughts, students see a topic emerge, indicating similarities of their concerns and pointing out the issues that continue to come into their thinking process. (author/aec)