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A: Writing to Win routines are designed for grades K?12. While some client schools use Writing to Win routines only in the elementary grades or secondary grades, our longest-standing clients use the routines in all grades.

The main features of a Writing to Win implementation are relevant for all levels of development and subject areas.

A: Writing to Win routines provide a consistent approach to writing instruction for use throughout a school or district. Our simple models of instruction and learning are friendly to all teachers and students at all grade levels and subjects. They can provide a full-spectrum approach to core writing standards when no other writing models or tools are in place.

Many of our client schools with writing initiatives already in place use our routines to increase the impact of their current practices. Our clients depend on Writing to Win to increase the retention of new knowledge in non-language arts classes.

In numerous schools we serve, Writing to Win co-exists with most every other writing initiative available. It helps both teachers and students use their time more efficiently.

A: It is best to implement one routine at a time. We recommend that in the course of three years, you:

Year 1: Begin with UNDERSTANDINGS, our interactive journal routine that develops fluency in writing to learn core standards in any subject area.

Year 2: Move to STRUCTURES, our simple scaffold of tools and strategies that teaches students the classic structures such as compare-contrast or character analysis to develop their mastery of extended writing tasks in all core genres.

Year 3: Complete the implementation with PATTERNS, our research-based approach to teaching grammar through writing.

We see our three routines as spinning three plates in a balancing act. Get one routine spinning continuously. Then start the second routine and then the third until all three routines continue to spin, their focus and power on improved critical thinking through writing.

A: Over the last 30+ years, we have seen highly effective implementations of our routines in grades K-12 simultaneously. Other equally effective implementations begin with grades K-2, 6-8 or 9-12 and expand to other grades. Where you implement our routines first does not seem to determine its potential success. The key to all successful implementations has been a school or district commitment to follow-through and sup?port the teachers charged with putting our routines into practice.

Writing to Win routines have a strong track record of changing a school or district’s writing culture. Permanent change happens when

  • Two or more building leaders attend our Model Classroom workshops.
  • A Writing to Win trainer partners with building leaders onsite for several professional learning events.

Changing a school’s writing culture requires a thoughtful, ongoing plan for supporting teachers. Ideal implementation for each of our routines includes the following 10 essential PL events.

Best completed by a Writing to Win trainer

  1. Orienting all teachers to materials and routines
  2. Demonstrating Writing to Win routines in classrooms while teachers observe
  3. Conducting micro-teaching modules that fine-tune teachers’ writing routines
  4. Training all teachers to score student writing in a reliable scoring session
  5. Analyzing student performances on state tests to plan a scope and sequence for writing for the following year.

Best completed by building leaders

  1. Coaching teachers as they demonstrate their writing routines
  2. Administrating mock writing tests in preparation for state testing
  3. Posting student exemplars and publishing final drafts
  4. Recording teachers’ use of the five key practices of writing-based learning
  5. Helping teachers create effective writing prompts for unit and lesson plans

A: Writing to Win publishes teacher materials, student materials, wall charts for each routine. Equally important is our training that helps leaders and teachers use our routines effectively. A Writing to Win associate can help you design a plan that fits your needs and budget.

The basic costs of any implementation?plan can be customized to your needs and resources. We work with small and large school districts to insure full orientation and on-going support for all teachers. Teacher ($15 to $129) and student materials ($2.50 to $9.50) are reasonably priced and friendly for home school use. Elements of any plan need to include:

  • Onsite Professional Learning (PL) training events
  • Coaches Model Classroom workshops for district and building leaders
  • Teacher manuals and instructional tools for each routine
  • Professional learning texts by Dr. Combs
  • Student materials in hard copies or interactive software applications
  • Banks of writing prompts related to Common Core State Standards for ELA, math, science and social studies, K-12.

A: Most schools follow a three-year implementation plan that includes onsite training and support for teachers. They purchase materials at the launch of each new routine. In subsequent years, they provide additional materials for new teachers and students. Student licenses for our electronic learning products are available in one to five-year increments.

A: Writing to Win?is proud of the wide range of schools that have succeeded with one or more of our three instructional routines.

  • Public schools
  • Urban, rural and suburban schools
  • Home-school associations
  • Parochial schools
  • Islamic day schools
  • Montessori schools
  • Seventh-Day Adventist schools
  • Other private schools and academies
  • Charter schools
  • Career and technical schools
  • Centers for adult education

The schools we serve have a single trait in common: a strong, intentional commitment to systematic writing that prepares students for life-long learning. None of them approach?WtW?routines with a one-time embrace and then move onto other demanding concerns. Instead, WtW?routines become integral to learning in all classrooms. They commit to our routines for the long-term; we’ve seen hundreds of WtW?kindergartners graduate high school as confident, independent, college and career-bound writers.

A: Contact us and arrange a phone conference with one of our Writing to Win trainers. Our trainer will review your school’s needs and help you determine which of our routines best suits your current needs and resources. They can help you decide whether one of our semi-annual workshops works best for training your local leaders or if your group of leaders is large enough for us to bring the workshop to your area.

A: We have three standalone instructional routines (short writing to learn, extended writing and grammar instruction). Other programs focus only on extended writing. Our materials and strategies empower students to think critically and work independently throughout entire work sessions. Other programs rely on teachers to motivate their students to write.

We train teachers to:

  • Quantify what they expect of students before they write.
  • Model what they expect of students by writing with them.
  • Guide student choices by using specific strategies and advance organizers.

We guide students to:

  • Respond to the quality of each other’s writing by using one of 11 PALS (peer-assisted learning system) strategies every time they write.
  • Self-assess the degree to which their writing meets their teachers? expectations using a simple rubric.

Few other programs spell out these five key practices this intentionally.

Unlike other writing programs, Writing to Win takes Donald Graves admonition to “Take Energy from Assessment” seriously in developing our model for writing-based learning. Each of our instructional tools, strategies and routines are specifically designed to empower student writers and their designated PALS to demonstrate mastery of core standards and to use writing to document their progress through monthly and quarterly projects. As students direct and assess their own learning, they prepare themselves to do their best on all tests of knowledge and written expression. Too often, other writing programs condition teachers to:

  • Teach to the tests and employ formulaic models for writing
  • Treat tests as “necessary evils” and promote models that show little measurable impact on student performance on tests of knowledge and written expression.

Our classroom action research shows how it is possible to prepare students for battery of annual tests and to insure students later success in college and careers.