Sunday, December 30, 2018

But Do You Ever Give Them a Chance to Write!?

The junior high I used to teach at was working to become an AVID National Demonstration school while I was there. That school, and really our entire Boise District, loves AVID. As a result, I was privileged enough to attend many AVID trainings and even went down to San Diego one year to attend the National AVID Conference. There are countless things I admire about the AVID program, and really love that the high school I am at now also has a strong AVID program. One of the biggest reasons I love AVID is the WICOR teaching method & strategies. 

"AVID’s proven learning support structure, known as WICOR , incorporates teaching/learning methodologies in the critical areas of Writing to Learn, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading to Learn. WICOR provides a learning model that educators can use to guide students in comprehending concepts and articulating ideas at increasingly complex levels (scaffolding) within developmental, general education, and discipline-based curricula. Furthermore, the WICOR model reflects and promotes the expertise and attitudes that will serve students well in their academic lives and careers."

I had a huge "ah ha" moment while at the AVID National Conference when a trainer asked me to share (in front of everyone at the training) how I incorporate the "Writing to Learn" component in my classroom. I was only in my second year of teaching when she asked me that and I immediately froze, realizing that my students NEVER write in my class. They write numbers, and solve problems, and we do a lot of discussing (which is great) but when do I ever give them a chance to write? Shoot. Slap my wrist. I didn't. 

It totally changed the focus of my instruction to always find a way to get them writing in full, complete, beautiful sentences as much as possible. We write when we practice, we write when we assess, and we find ways to articulate our thinking by writing on a regular basis. The result is beautiful. Check out a few of these answers from one of our chapter assessments this past semester: 

Guess what? One of these students is on an IEP and one of these students is on an LEP. Bet you can't tell which one, and that makes me insanely proud! 

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