#writing #Wednesdays: back to basics

Recently I asked the sophomores about what they’d like to see for fourth-quarter instruction, and overwhelmingly they requested more writing instruction.

Allow me a moment to replace “pictures and words” with “SBA” and “test scores.” I grew concerned years ago when the writing test changed or essentially disappeared. The SBA test does test writing, but to me, in an odd, clunky way. And I know amazing people who worked on this test. I’ve worked on instructional models for this test.

But students don’t just automatically “write.” None of us do.

So, my goal is to bring back solid writing instruction, which is nonexistent in the current scope and sequence curriculum. And no, having students write a formulaic Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning paragraph is not writing instruction.

But what is writing instruction?

How much time do you have?

To avoid hypocrisy, I confess I haven’t been writing as much as I would/should/could. I have time, space, and oh-so-many words swirling around my noggin, but I feel incredibly rusty and dusty. For the past three years working in an alternative high school, the sparseness of instruction and consistency that is in the comprehensive high school has become exponentially worse. As I try to gather and regroup my strengths as a teacher of writing and a writer myself, it’s time to return to some of the fundamentals.

Remember the Six +1 Traits? Resource Link

Writing Resources/pingback

A few book recommendations

and and and and


write when they’re writing

I think I know why this works: have you heard of the term body doubling?

Body doubling is a tool some adults use to help them start and complete projects. Sometimes referred to as an accountability partner, it is a technique for better productivity. A body double is a friend or partner who works simultaneously, either in the same room or virtually through videochat platforms. Having another person in the same physical or virtual room can help you with productivity because you have someone present to check in with and keep you accountable. Body doubling is a support activity for ADHD that can be easy to do and cost-free.


I do my best to remind students that in almost everything piece of media they consume, someone wrote it first. The challenge of having students create versus consume is real and sometimes feels defeating.

Some music for writing: