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Writing Instruction for English Learners: From Planning and Implementation to Student Achievement.
Unformatted Document Text:  the literacy coaches at Court Elementary lead to the decision of beginning the study with the fifth grade teachers. After meeting with the fifth grade teachers at a grade-level meeting, a decision was made to focus professional development on writing instruction. The teachers were struggling with how to teach children writing as was apparent in the low scores of students on the OCR Unit Writing Assessments (average student score on a rubric scale of 1-4 was a 1). Once the decision was made that writing would be the focus the professional development model was organized in the following way: The literacy coaches at Court Elementary collaborated with the bilingual coordinator to plan and present professional development on writing and English Language Development. Following the training, teachers were afforded an opportunity to sign-up for a demonstration lesson from one of the literacy coaches. After a series of demonstration lessons and observations by the literacy coaches of all teachers’ writing instruction, the grade-level met to begin initial planning. The literacy coaches then paired up teachers based on their observations. Partnerships then engage in a cognitive coaching cycle. The cycle requires an initial planning meeting, a demonstration by partner A (partner B watches), a debriefing about how the lesson went, a second planning session with improvements, a demonstration by partner B (A watches), and a final debriefing. At follow-up grade-level meetings teachers have an opportunity to share out their lessons, challenges, successes, and next steps. It is at this meeting where student work is analyzed and decisions for upcoming writing lessons are determined. Data Source: The data collected from the study includes a variety of qualitative data sources. Observation scripts and notes of teachers conducting writing lessons (both pre and post professional development) are presented which demonstrate a significant change in pedagogy. Student work samples were collected as a pre and post test, demonstrating students’ achievements in writing persuasive essays. The initial writing sample was collected and scored prior to the implementation of the professional development model and lesson planning guide. The post-test samples were collected and scored after teachers completed their professional development cycle. All writing samples were scored using a four point rubric (standards-based) developed by Court Elementary’s local school district. The rubric includes three scores Writing Strategies, Writing Applications and Writing Conventions, all of which are scored on a scale of 1-4. Finally, planning sheets by the grade level team and partnerships were collected, analyzed and shared with all teachers involved in the study. These planning sheets served as additional resources for teachers for future planning. Results: As a result of the implementation of the new staff development and lesson planning design, the quality of student writing has improved significantly. The average rubric score for all 5 th grade students at Court Elementary rose from a 1 to a 3 on a 4 point rubric. Persuasive Writing Scores (230 total students) Rubric Score 1 Rubric score 2 Rubric score 3 Rubric Score 4 Initial Writing Sample 52% 39% 6% 3% Post Writing Sample 0% 30% 61% 9%

Authors: Mora-Flores, Eugenia.
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the literacy coaches at Court Elementary lead to the decision of beginning the study with
the fifth grade teachers. After meeting with the fifth grade teachers at a grade-level
meeting, a decision was made to focus professional development on writing instruction.
The teachers were struggling with how to teach children writing as was apparent in the
low scores of students on the OCR Unit Writing Assessments (average student score on a
rubric scale of 1-4 was a 1). Once the decision was made that writing would be the focus
the professional development model was organized in the following way: The literacy
coaches at Court Elementary collaborated with the bilingual coordinator to plan and
present professional development on writing and English Language Development.
Following the training, teachers were afforded an opportunity to sign-up for a
demonstration lesson from one of the literacy coaches. After a series of demonstration
lessons and observations by the literacy coaches of all teachers’ writing instruction, the
grade-level met to begin initial planning. The literacy coaches then paired up teachers
based on their observations. Partnerships then engage in a cognitive coaching cycle. The
cycle requires an initial planning meeting, a demonstration by partner A (partner B
watches), a debriefing about how the lesson went, a second planning session with
improvements, a demonstration by partner B (A watches), and a final debriefing. At
follow-up grade-level meetings teachers have an opportunity to share out their lessons,
challenges, successes, and next steps. It is at this meeting where student work is analyzed
and decisions for upcoming writing lessons are determined.
Data Source: The data collected from the study includes a variety of qualitative data
sources. Observation scripts and notes of teachers conducting writing lessons (both pre
and post professional development) are presented which demonstrate a significant change
in pedagogy. Student work samples were collected as a pre and post test, demonstrating
students’ achievements in writing persuasive essays. The initial writing sample was
collected and scored prior to the implementation of the professional development model
and lesson planning guide. The post-test samples were collected and scored after teachers
completed their professional development cycle. All writing samples were scored using a
four point rubric (standards-based) developed by Court Elementary’s local school district.
The rubric includes three scores Writing Strategies, Writing Applications and Writing
Conventions, all of which are scored on a scale of 1-4. Finally, planning sheets by the
grade level team and partnerships were collected, analyzed and shared with all teachers
involved in the study. These planning sheets served as additional resources for teachers
for future planning.
Results: As a result of the implementation of the new staff development and lesson
planning design, the quality of student writing has improved significantly. The average
rubric score for all 5
th
grade students at Court Elementary rose from a 1 to a 3 on a 4 point
rubric.
Persuasive Writing Scores (230 total students)
Rubric Score 1
Rubric score 2
Rubric score 3
Rubric Score 4
Initial Writing
Sample
52%
39%
6%
3%
Post Writing
Sample
0%
30%
61%
9%


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