D: Welcome to Language and the Arts power-hour Conversations. Your hosts today are myself, Dusty Lankford, and I teach 7th-12th grade history/social studies.
G: I’m Gabby Nunez and I teach career tech…?.
R: Hi! I’m Rachel Fulks. I offer services for emergent bilingual students and support their content-area standards.
D: Today we will talk about a couple of things: personal writing, ELA- writing and its benefits, the healthy factors of writing, what new book series has readers up all night, and much more.
G: First, let’s start off talking about how writing benefits us, personal writing. I want to invite all of you to engage with me on this critical topic that many individuals do not talk about. So… let’s talk about writing, I don’t know about you, but I love doing it. I didn’t really think of the benefit, but I started writing down and expressing my thoughts more in writing and it has helped me a lot.
R: I guess you can say it’s oddly satisfying.
D: So, personal writing is like diary writing?
R: I guess you can say that Personal reflective writing means writing about your reaction to something that has happened to you. It is usually about one single idea or experience and will always include reflection about what has happened and your feelings about it.
G: According to Allen (2020), there is a tremendous level of personal satisfaction that comes with fulfilling your creative desires and making your voice of reason heard. I agree with these sentiments because when I am having a hard time or a rough day, I write down what I am feeling, and it helps me feel more self-control.
G: What other benefits do you think writing down your thoughts also does?
R: Well, I know writing helps you think. Linguist Walter Ong (1982) observed that writing is necessary to help the human mind achieve its full potential. Writing, for example, allows the writer to concretize abstract ideas and to “connect the dots in their knowledge,” according to the National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges (2003, p. 3). Particular kinds of writing tasks may, indeed, be beneficial to intellectual vitality, creativity, and thinking abilities.
D: I recently read about a study that found, for example, that when adults write about significant life events their memory for such events is improved (Klein and Boals, 2001). As a social studies teacher, I can say these memories not only serve the author but are vital for the education of generations to come.
G: Writing might be beneficial to cognitive skills because it requires focusing of attention, planning and forethought, organization of one’s thinking, and reflective thought, among other abilities – thereby sharpening these skills through practice and reinforcement.
D: I can relate to why as teachers we emphasize for students to engage in writing, there are tremendous benefits, just as the AIW framework, there is much more critical thinking and engagement.
R: For our multilingual students, personal reflective writing allows them the freedom for “translanguaging.” This is when a student can go back-and-forth between languages, selecting the words that best capture the current thought they want to express.
G: In ELA, through creative writing, students are encouraged to “think outside the box” as they develop new characters, settings, problems, and solutions. Thinking creatively through writing allows students to practice key skills that will benefit them outside of the ELA classroom. Students learn to push creative boundaries, look at issues from different angles, and brainstorm alternative solutions.
D: In what ways can writing support reading instruction in the classroom?
R: Writing directly benefits students’ reading skills. For example, if you have students write about what they’ve read or learned (for nearly any content or age), you’ll dramatically improve reading comprehension. Additionally, writing fluency corresponds to increased oral reading fluency.
G: In our school, we’ve emphasized writing about what we read. It took about two years for most teachers, and students, to really embrace the concept. It was about that time that our end-of-year reading scores had a huge jump.
D: Teaching students to be effective writers is important in itself. However, writing also provides big gains in reading comprehension and reading fluency.
R: In my personal experience, writing increases my mood, helps me put things together and create a framework of my surroundings.
R: Oddly satisfying.
G: Sure is.
D: Great conversation on the benefits of writing. Thanks for tuning in today! We will be back in the next language of the arts power-hour conversation, our next topic: What new book series has readers binge-reading?
Cohen, D. J. White, S., & Cohen, S. B. (2011). A time use diary study of adult everyday writing behavior. Written Communication, 28(1), 3-33.
Donald, M. (1991). Origins of the modern mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Klein, K., & Boals, A (2001). Expressive writing can increase working memory capacity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130(3), 520-533.
Menary, R. (2007). Writing as thinking. Language Sciences, 29, 621-632.
McArthur, C., Graham, S., & Fitzgerald, J. (2006). The handbook of writing research (pp. 171-183). New York: Guilford Press.
National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools & Colleges (2003). The neglected “R”: The need for a writing revolution. New York, NY: The College Board.
Oklahoma Standards- 8th grade ELA
Standard 3: Critical Reading and Writing Students will apply critical thinking skills to reading and writing.
Writing Students will thoughtfully and intentionally write, addressing a range of modes, purposes, and audiences.
8.3.W.1 Students will compose narratives reflecting real or imagined experiences that:
● include plots involving complex characters resolving conflicts
● unfold in chronological or surprising sequence (e.g., flashback and foreshadowing)
● include a narrator, precise language, sensory details, and dialogue to enhance the narrative
● use sentence variety to create clarity
● emulate literary elements and/or literary devices from mentor texts
8.3.W.2 Students will compose informative essays or reports that:
● objectively introduce and develop topics
● incorporate evidence (e.g., specific facts, details, charts and graphs, data)
● maintain an organized structure
● use sentence variety and word choice to create clarity
● establish and maintain a formal style
● emulate literary devices from mentor texts
OKDE. (2021, May 20). Oklahoma Academic Standards English Language Arts. Retrieved from Oklahoma State Department of Education: sde.ok.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/2021%20Oklahoma%20Academic%20Standards%20for%20English%20Language%20Arts.pdf
Written Reflection Content: Each member of your group will create an individual reflection document. Your individual written reflection (450 – 500 words) should address the following:
1. Which ISTE Standards were addressed in this assignment? What skills did you develop or use to create the sound file product? Look at both the Student and Educator Standards. How are they met? What is your evidence?
2. Which content Standards were addressed in your podcast? How are they met?
3. Reflect upon your experience using a podcasting tool to collaborate with colleague(s) to create a digital product. Discuss benefits and challenges to using the tool. What concerns might you have about using a tool like this with students? Is it appropriate for all grade levels? content areas? Why or why not?