Writing Across the Curriculum - Harlingen CISD / Harlingen

Writing Across the Curriculum
Everybody Writes!
 What types of writing do you do in your class?
 What is the importance of writing in your class?
Writing on the STAAR Test-Reading Test
 Two short answer questions over the readings:
 Example: “How are the themes of “Those Winter
Sundays” and “All My Babies Are Gone Now”
similar? Support your answer with evidence from
both selections.
 What is the importance of citing evidence for all
Writing on the STAAR Test-Sample Question
from Writing Test-Expository Essay
 Read the information below:
 Jane Austen (1775–1817) and Franz Kafka (1883–1924) are
considered great writers. Their books continue to sell, and they are
widely read and studied in schools everywhere. Neither of them,
however, received much recognition while they were alive.
 Should people do things only to be recognized? Think carefully
about this question.
 Write an essay explaining whether a person must always be
acknowledged in order to have accomplished something. Be sure to:
clearly state your thesis
organize and develop your ideas effectively
choose your words carefully
edit your writing for grammar, mechanics, and spelling .
Writing on the STAAR Test-Sample Question
from Writing Test-Persuasive Essay
 Read the following quotation.
 Authentic patriotism is not about you, what you believe or what you think
is right. . . . Authentic patriotism is not an opinion. It is an action.
 —Stephen Kiernan
 Think carefully about the following statement. Some people define
themselves by what they believe, while others allow their actions to speak
for them.
Write an essay stating your position on which is more important: what a
person thinks or what a person does. Be sure to —
state your position clearly
use appropriate organization
provide specific support for your argument
choose your words carefully
edit your writing for grammar, mechanics, and spelling
We encourage our students to use APES:
Open Ended Responses/ Short Answer Essays
A P E S means:
A = Answer the question correctly, carefully, and
 P = Provide textual evidence, preferably a quote or two
embedded in sentences.
 E = Explain/analyze why the evidence proves your
answer is correct.
 S = Summarize your answer and provide some type of
“universal” statement, truth, or lesson.
Writing Process
STEP 1: Brainstorm
STEP 2: Pre-write
STEP 3:– Write Rough draft
STEP 4: Peer Review
STEP 5: Revise Ideas
STEP 6: Edit
STEP 7: Publish
Types of Essays
 Narrative Essays
 In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about a
real-life experience. While telling a story may sound
easy to do, the narrative essay challenges students to
think and write about themselves. When writing a
narrative essay, writers should try to involve the reader
by making the story as vivid as possible. The fact that
narrative essays are usually written in the first person
helps engage the reader. “I” sentences give readers a
feeling of being part of the story. A well-crafted
narrative essay will also build towards drawing a
conclusion or making a personal statement.
Types of Essays
 Descriptive Essays:
 A cousin of the narrative essay, a descriptive essay
paints a picture with words. A writer might describe a
person, place, object, or even memory of special
significance. However, this type of essay is not
description for description’s sake. The descriptive essay
strives to communicate a deeper meaning through the
description. In a descriptive essay, the writer should
show, not tell, through the use of colorful words and
sensory details. The best descriptive essays appeal to the
reader’s emotions, with a result that is highly evocative.
Types of Essays
 Expository Essays: Just the Facts - STAARS:
Will always ask students to “Explain” something
The expository essay is an informative piece of writing
that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. In an
expository essay, the writer explains or defines a topic,
using facts, statistics, and examples. Expository writing
encompasses a wide range of essay variations, such as
the comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect
essay, and the “how to” or process essay. Because
expository essays are based on facts and not personal
feelings, writers don’t reveal their emotions or write in
the first person.
Types of Essays
 Persuasive Essays: Convince Me – STAARS:
Will always state “Persuade/Convince” in
While like an expository essay in its presentation of
facts, the goal of the persuasive essay is to convince
the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or
recommendation. The writer must build a case using
facts and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion,
and sound reasoning. The writer should present all
sides of the argument, but must be able to
communicate clearly and without equivocation why a
certain position is correct.
Types of Essays
 Analytical Essays – Tear it apart
 An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an
idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or
idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to
the audience
Thesis statements
 Thesis: Topic + Argument/opinion that you are going to prove
OR main idea you will present in your paper
 What Is a Thesis Statement?
 A “mini argument”
 A sentence or two that briefly describes the main idea of your paper and the
main argument that you are trying to make
Offers your readers a quick preview of what your paper is going to be about
Makes an argumentative assertion
Focuses your paper on a very specific, debatable point
Gives your audience guidance about the conclusions you draw in the paper
In some kinds of writing, such as narratives or descriptions, a thesis
statement is less important, but you may still want to provide some kind of
statement that helps to guide your reader through your paper
Thesis statements
A thesis is an assertion, not a fact or observation. Facts
are used within the paper to support your thesis.
 A thesis takes a stand, meaning it announces your
position towards a particular topic.
 A thesis presents the main idea and explains what you
intend to discuss.
 A thesis answers a specific question and explains how you
plan to support your argument.
 A thesis is debatable. Someone should be able to argue an
alternate position, or conversely, support your claims.
Thesis: Topic/Bad/ Better
 Topic: body piercing
 Bad: Body piercing is popular among kids nowadays.
 Better: Body piercing among contemporary youth
represents the latest form of rebelling against
authority that previous generations manifested in
smoking, getting tattoos, and wearing mini-skirts.
Thesis: Topic/Bad/ Better
 TOPIC: news coverage of military action
 Bad: News coverage of military actions undermines
their seriousness.
 Better: By featuring highlights of air strikes and
peace-keeping missions on the news, television
producers reduce them to the status of popular
entertainment and undermine the audiences
appreciation of the seriousness of military actions.
Research Formats
 Research Guides: Which one is used in your
 Chicago
Writing Resources
 Harlingen High School Information Literary
Center (ILC): http://www.hcisd.org/domain/517
Secondary Research Process
Destiny/ Library Catalog
The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
Everything you want to know about writing!!!
Source Validity
 Valid and Reliable Sources:
 Library Databases – Harlingen High School ILC
 Textbooks and other Library Books
 Major News Websites/Professional Magazines or Newspapers
 Definition of PLAGIARISM
 : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another)
as one's own : use (another's production) without
crediting the source
 : to commit literary theft : present as new and
original an idea or product derived from an existing
 — pla·gia·riz·er noun
 Consequences of Plagiarizing:
 High School – Receive a ZERO on assignment
 College – Automatically fail class and/or expulsion
 Work Place – Fines and/or jail
Misconceptions about plagiarism:
 Letting someone copy your work is a form of
plagiarism and is just as much a violation.
 Copying and pasting-even if you cite sources- is still
 Even if you cite sources, using the author’s exact
words, without quotation marks or some other form
of identifying your quotes, is still plagiarism.
5 Reasons Why Writing Should Be Used
Across the Curriculum
 1. Written output is a great way to access student
 2. Writing is an essential skill students will use need
as they enter adult life.
 3. Helping students learn to express themselves with
confidence in all subject areas can contribute to
improvements in behavior and self-esteem.
5 Reasons Why Writing Should Be Used
Across the Curriculum
 4. Students who write clearly, think clearly. And
students who think clearly have a better chance of
navigating through the obstacles of adolescence.
 5. Writing is power!
5 Tips for Using the Writing Process
 1. When assigning formal pieces of writing like
reports, base the students’ work schedule on the
seven stages of writing process.
2. Model Writing Process activites for your students
at the appropriate stages.
3. After drafts have been completed, allow time for
4. During the review process, make the classroom the
audience for student work.
5. Make a big deal of the publishing stage. (Peha)
Writing and the STAAR test
 Teacher’s can use writing as a way to prepare
students for the STAAR test. A short written answer
to a STAAR style question reveals a great deal more
than a lucky guess on a multiple choice question.
 Released test question from the 2011 test:
 Genetic variation can aid in the survival of a
species when the environment changes. Which of the
following is the best example of an organism with a
genetic variation that could improve survival
chances over time?
 How could this be made into a writing prompt?
 Released question from the 2011 test:
 Using a diffraction grating, a student looks at an
incandescent lightbulb and a hydrogen-gasdischarge tube. Why does the student see fewer
colors from the hydrogen-gas discharge tube than
from the incandescent lightbulb?
 How could this be made into a writing prompt?
 Released question from the 2011 test:
 A gas was held at a constant temperature in a
closed system. The initial pressure of the gas was
1.50 L. What was the final pressure of the gas to the
nearest hundredth of an atmosphere?
 How could this be made into a writing prompt?
U.S. History
 Released question from the 2011 test:
 After the attacks on September 11, 2001, how did
U.S. foreign policy change?
 How can this be made into a writing prompt?
World Geography
 Released question from the 2011 test:
 Which of these has been a major development in
global trade since the 1990s?
 How can this be made into a writing prompt?
World History
 Released question from the 2011 test:
 Independent Arab and Jewish States and the
Special International Regime for the City of
Jerusalem…shall come into existence….not later
than 1 October 1948. - United Nations Resolution
181, 1947.
 Which of the following occurred in reaction to the
resolution excerpted above?
 How could this be made into a writing prompt?
What about P.E. and sports?
 Possible areas:
 Exercise journals
 Explanations of drills and exercise routines/effect of
Problem solving
Game analysis
Personal goals
What about music?
 Examples of possible prompts:
 What parts of this composition echoes sounds made
in nature?
Why do you think the audience liked our third
performance piece best?
Music makes a difference in my life because?
How is marching band music different from
symphonic band?
Why is music education important?
What about Art?
 Personal response writing to pieces of art.
 Comparison/contrast writing about two distinct
styles of art.
Explaining an artistic process(personal)
Explaining an artistic process (technical)
Discussing historical period of art
“How to” writing
What about CATE?
 Sample Response Sheet for Business Assignment:
Accurately states the issue
Signals clear direction and communicates the topic
Business Process
Uses graphs (charts, formulas, etc.) when needed
to assist the reader’s understanding
Demonstrates understanding of the issue(s)
Employs insightful and efficient (creative, complex,
etc.) ideas
Suggests a process by giving specific detail
What about CATE?
 Advanced Level: Proposes multiple ways to solve
 the problem(s)
 Advanced Level: Recognizes relevant patterns and
 generalizes to other problems
 Documentation
 Specified format style (e.g., MLA, APA) is used
 correctly
 Information is used ethically
 Ideas, graphics, and other sources are credited
What about CATE?
Business Discourse
Business discourse is comprehensive
All terminology is used accurately
Language is clear
Organization guides the reader’s understanding
Transitional words (e.g., first, second, next, a final
step) guide the reader’s understanding
Paragraphing assists reader’s understanding of the
content and organization
Uses standard grammar and spelling
Eliminates punctuation errors.
(Fernsten and Fernsen)
What about CATE?
 Resumes!
 Explaining technical processes.
 Writing cover letters for jobs.
 Scripts /interview questions/and proposals for
Media Tech.
 And many more!
More Resources
 Click on Michael Gerleman in the Harlingen High
School Staff directory and then on Helpful resources
for articles and resources.
Works Cited
 Fernsten, Dr. Linda, and Dr. Linda Fernsten.
"Writing and Learning in the Business Classroom: The
Workshop Approach." Journal of Applied Research for
Business Instruction. 6.3 (2008): n. page. Web. 6 Aug.
 Peha, Steve. ""You Want Me to Teaching Writing,
Too?"." Teaching That Makes Sense. ttms.org,
n.d. Web. 6 Aug 2013.

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