Search This Blog

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Entry # 6

6+1 Traits:

Before discussing the concept of 6+1 Traits in class and in Tompkins (2012), I had the opportunity of teaching a writers workshop lesson to the 3rd grade class I'm with, while incorporating the traits. Each trait is important to the writing process, and has different impacts on the writer. The first trait I incorporated was ideas. I shared a story with students about the first time I went Para-sailing in Virginia Beach. I then organized my story so that there was a clear beginning, middle, and end. I wanted to enhance the fear that I was experiencing while Para-sailing  so I used voice inflation. After changing the tone of my voice, I asked reflecting questions like, "Can anyone explain how I may have felt when being lifted into the air off the boat?" Students had some great answers about the emotion I was feeling. Voice inflation is extremely important because the reader becomes engaged. Tompkins (2012) states, "when writers care about their topics, their voices are stronger. That's one reason why it's important for students to have opportunities to choose their own topics and to write about things that are important to them"(62). Writing for passion is strongly emphasized by Tompkins (2012) and is a significant factor when developing a writing piece. I also demonstrated the word choice trait. I asked students for some adjectives to describe the way I was feeling when being lifted 1200 feet into the air. Some students said I may have been, "dizzy, upset, scared, sad, excited, overwhelmed". I was able to paint a visual picture for students to reflect upon, and imagine it within their minds.

The next trait I focused on was sentence fluency. My cooperating teacher has put a lot of importance on the flow of a story. He tells students to stretch their stories by honing in on the flow of language while they are writing. For some students, its been difficult to organize complete sentences, but they have already improved since the first day of school. I made sure when I was telling my story that I used voice inflation and words to demonstrate fluency of my story. Tompkins (2012) suggests using "mentor texts to demonstrate how authors develop sentence fluency" (65). This is a great way for students to visually see an example of an author demonstrating fluency. As part of the 6+1 traits, conventions is also important, but not strongly emphasized right now in my 3rd grade class. There is more focus on the other traits than spelling everything right, and putting in the proper punctuation marks. My cooperating teacher and I have been giving students one teaching point while conferencing, so it doesn't overwhelm the student. I know we touched upon this in our last class session, and discussed that it would be more beneficial to students if we only gave one or two teaching points at a time.

The last component of the 6+1 traits is presentation. I explained to students after I verbally told my story, that the presentation of my written copy needs to convey the same message as my verbal piece. Handwriting is important when focusing on presentation, can makes or breaks a piece. After I was able to really implement these 6+1 traits I answered a lot of my own questions. At first I was unsure if all of the traits could be incorporated into one lesson, or over the course of a week. I was able to do this within one lesson, and also learn that it can be done over the course of a week. Another question I had was, "Can these traits be introduced effectively in a k-2 classroom"? The goal for the 6+1 traits are going to vary between age level, and Tompkins (2012) gives a great overview on page 69 of variation between grade levels. How could we as teachers differentiate the traits for students who are struggling with their grade level goals? For students from K-2nd they are instructed to write in complete sentences, but for many students in 1st grade, that is very difficult. How could sentence fluency be differentiated for students in kindergarten and 1st grade, who can not make a complete sentence? These 6+1 traits are very valuable for all students, and with the appropriate instruction, it can work great! I enjoyed incorporating the 6+1 traits into my own teaching, and look forward to implementing them again in the future. 

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay, this was an interesting reflection on your lesson using the readings to support your decision making process. I am still wondering what questions remain about the readings themselves or what you think is particularly important for you to remember regarding the overview on page 69.