Course Syllabus for Graduate Credit
[Download as pdf: WS Syllabus11 ]
Writer’s Stylus: Transforming Substance into Significance
Three graduate credits granted through Northwest Missouri State University; 35+ hours (5 full days) of formal, in-person instruction plus a major curricular project, additional reading, and one of two possible written responses with follow-up via email. Individuals pursuing graduate credit MUST be active participants in every session.
[Download pdf: NWMSU Student Info]
The Writer’s Stylus Basic Course is a highly interactive, five-day professional development event for school leaders and K-12 teachers of all academic disciplines. Participants undergo a transformation, both personally and professionally, as they experience the teaching methods they will use with students. Graduate credit through a fully accredited institution is available for all interested participants. Topics covered during this five-day instructional writing course include:
What Are We Teaching and Why? Participants explore differences between what is often assumed to constitute writing instruction and what knowledge, understandings, and abilities that actually contribute to writing success.
A Revised Writing Process Drafting Less, Editing More
Revising Writing Making Waves of Improvement
Coaching Optimizing Student Writing Achievement
Instruction Teaching the Right Skills the Right Way
Instructional Design Developing a Holistic Program
Participants experience the instruction their students will experience:
Acquaintance and Analysis | Participants begin each day with Acquaintance and Analysis, a time where they are exposed to exemplary writing and challenged to identify what authors do to communicate effectively and powerfully.
Writing on Demand | Early in the event, all participants are given a writing assignment, because the only way to learn how to write well, is to write.
Direct Instruction | At various points throughout the course, participants receive direct instruction that explains and demonstrates practices that can improve their writing. This component includes a focused look at revision skill checklists with an explanation of how mechanics instruction provides students with the grammatical knowledge required to master revision skills.
Coaching | Soon, participants experience a Coaching segment where interaction is personalized and each blossoming writer becomes empowered to achieve at the highest levels.
Presentation | And finally, in one of the most moving experiences of the week, participants celebrate their learning; without exception, several writers volunteer to read their crafted compositions to the group. These improved essays reveal stunning growth, and teachers recognize how effective the instruction can be in developing young writers.
About two-thirds of America’s eighth grade students and about three-fourths of high school seniors failed to reach proficient writing levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a 2006 survey of college professors suggests a large majority of college students possess “limited writing skills,” and a 2003 study found American companies are spending billions of dollars on remedial training for employees—some “new hires straight out of college” (Dillon, 2008). The need for writing capacity has increased as electronic communication has soared. However, test results and observations by business leaders and college professors indicate that our current instructional efforts fail to equip students with proficient writing ability. This course takes a twofold approach in addressing this need: 1) it equips teachers with increased knowledge, understanding, and utilization of sound writing practices, and 2) it equips teachers to convert this knowledge into improved writing instruction for students.
Educators at all levels who are responsible for designing effective writing instruction and for assessing student writing, both within language arts and other content area classrooms.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
Writer’s Stylus users will develop competencies in:
1. refining writing through multiple revisions, knowing what to analyze, how to recognize needed revisions, and make improvements
2. using the writing process to produce writing of publishable quality
3. thinking and communication, using critical thinking as a precursor to and purpose for writing
4. teaching students use of the writing process and methods of success for each step (e.g., successful revision)
5. coaching peers, students, and self throughout the writing process to reach optimal achievement
6. using instructional methods to develop student drafting capacities for increased writing assessment results
7. designing instruction that fosters student writing development—i.e., engages students in the full process of producing writing worthy of publication consideration
The course is taught by Kevin D. Washburn, Ed.D., on five consecutive, full days of instruction. Each day of instruction appropriately models the instruction intended for classroom implementation. Sessions are intense and require high levels of participation and critical thinking.
REQUIRED TEXTS & MATERIALS
The Writer’s Stylus Basic Course Book
The Architecture of Learning: Designing Instruction for the Learning Brain (9780984345908)
ASSIGNMENTS & GRADING
All assignments given for completion during the class sessions should be completed as directed. Most of these will not be collected by the instructor but will form the basis for in-class activity. All post-class work must be submitted via email attachment (see Instructor Contact information below). Attachments may be Microsoft Word documents, Apple’s iWork Pages documents, or Adobe pdf documents. Documents submitted in other forms will not be accepted. No documents sent by US Mail or fax will be accepted. Grades awarded will be A, B, C, I, or F. It is expected that ALL student work will reflect high standards and a high degree of effort on the part of the learner. Grading will be based on the following:
1. Class attendance and participation (33%)
2. Instructional unit development: Participants pursuing graduate credit must complete the development of a writing unit that includes:
An outline of the unit (may be presented on an Architecture of Learning planning grid—see examples on pages 34, 40, and 46 of the Architecture of Learning Basic Training Course Book)
Detailed plans for each activity in the unit. These should be written with the detail of a teacher’s edition, as if the author were developing the unit so that someone who has never seen it before would know exactly what to do. (Again, see examples in Architecture of Learning Basic Training Course Book)
Appropriate assessment instruments, including rubrics, that have obvious connections to the unit’s content.
Submitted results count for 34% of the final grade.
Reading one of two possible resources and submission of the associated materials (33%):
A Writer’s Coach by Jack Hart (9781400078691) OR Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark (9780316014991): select one of these resources if you desire to increase your understanding of writing to improve your own writing capacity and your knowledge of writing for use in teaching but not necessarily pursue publication of materials. After carefully reading A Writer’s Coach or Writing Tools, write a BRIEF (e.g., three-sentence) summary of each chapter. Then explore, in writing, what new ideas/understandings you gained from the book and how these will influence your teaching of writing. There is no required length. The submitted results will be evaluated for writing (application of the new knowledge gained from the class sessions) and comprehension and response to the book.
Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction—and Get It Published (9780393324617): select this resource if you are interested in pursuing publication. After carefully reading Thinking Like Your Editor, develop and submit a potential “Submission Package” for a work you’d like to develop. Follow Rabiner and Fortunato’s suggestions for the content and style of your submission package. The results will be evaluated for writing (application of the new knowledge gained from the class sessions) and comprehension of the book as evidenced in the “submission package.” All of the above must be original work, created and completed by the individual requesting credit. All work will be evaluated using a rubric, which will be distributed during the course. All materials must be submitted within six weeks of the final class session.