chat center

Latest Posts Full Chatboard Submit Post

Current Issue » Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 2 Number 8

Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "Establishing clear and precise classroom procedures and practicing, practicing, practicing them is the same in concept as to why sport teams drill and choirs rehearse." This month the Wongs offer more examples of successful classroom management....
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
From Here to There by Ginny Hoover
Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators)
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
The Do's and Don'ts of Read-Aloud
Teaching Gayle to Read
Thoughts About Giving
Matthew's Sunshine
Reflections following September 11, 2001
Teachers Are 100% Full Time Workers and Even More
Funding the Season
Forms of Expression, Interview with an Artist
Humor from the Classroom
Handy Recipes
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Letters to the Editor
Call For Participation
New Sagan Center
The League Gives Poetic License to Canada's Young Writers
Creativity Workshop: Writing, Drawing, Storytelling, and Personal Memoir
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Ginny Hoover...
Ginny Hoover took an early retirement after 31 years of teaching in Kansas public schools. Her experience spans the 5th through 8th grades, although she does admit to teaching 2nd grade once for summer school. During the last ten years she has functioned as a trainer of teachers in a variety of areas in her district, surrounding districts, professional organizations, and teacher service centers. At the state level Ginny is a state trainer and a writing assessment grader for the KS State Writing Assessment (based on the Six Traits Writing Model), a member of the Kansas Social Studies Committee for writing the social studies standards, benchmarks, and indicators, and the lead trainer for the state in government and civics.

Recently, Teacher TimeSavers has published a variety teaching units and tutoring hookups that Ginny wrote and designed. These include a literary unit for Taming the Star Runner, Hookups for Language Arts, Transcripts of Trials for Goldilocks, The Wolf, and Mr. Dad, and Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Patterns.

The Gifts of Children by Hoover and Carroll Killingsworth, a book about recognizing, acknowledging, and refining the gifts of children, is scheduled to be published some time this year. Visit Teachers Helping Children--The Gifts Project for additional information.

Ginny was selected by personnel to develop their middle school site for teachers who wish to be published. On this site, teachers can publish articles expressing their ideas and opinions on education. In addition, is a print on demand site that will publish books for teachers.

Ginny's Eclectic Middle School pages

Best Sellers

The Gifts of All Children
by Carroll Killingsworth and Ginny Hoover

More information


From Here to There
by Ginny Hoover

Writing in the Primary Grades

When preparing to teach writing in the primary grades, consider these . . .

  1. Six Traits--the traits that are present in quality writing,
  2. Writing Process--the steps from brainstorming to publishing
  3. Strategies of Approach--shared, interactive, independent, and guided

Six Traits Writing Model/The Writing Process

The Six Traits Writing Model and the Writing Process should be taught together. To teach each separately and not teach how they are related causes a breakdown in achieving quality writing. The Six Traits are Ideas and Content, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions.

Ideas and Content and Organization fit well with brainstorming and preparations for creating a rough draft. After brainstorming, quality ideas are selected--this is when to stress Ideas and Content. Interestingly enough, organization is part of both the writing process and the writing model! They are a natural fit. I use the same graphic organizer format for teaching writing. Then, no matter what aspect of writing I am teaching, the instruction time isn't lessened by needless questions on what goes where on some cute, but confusing graphic organizer. Figure 1 is a good paragraph organizer for narrative and expository. Figure 2 is a graphic organizer for compare/contrast. Notice the similarities. Basic knowledge of the organizer is easily transferred.

figure 1 (click image for printable pdf copy)

figure 2 (click image for printable pdf copy)

The remaining traits plug in well in the revision/editing steps of the Writing Process. When lessons are taught regarding these qualities of writing, revision is a natural place to consider them. For instance, in revision, the writer may discover that Sentence Fluency is weak. Then he/she can insert transitions and/or improve previously selected transitions. Also the writer should check for Convention errors and awkward phrasing that detract from fluency. One way I have my students find Sentence Fluency errors is to speed read, and while doing so, highlight any section that doesn't read easily--then once rough areas are located and the trouble identified, corrections can be made. My best recommendation for improving Word Choice is learning to use a simple first thesaurus divided by parts of speech (nouns are in one place, a section for verbs, etc.). Voice and Word Choice are closely related. The strongest Voice is expressed with carefully selected words…work first on verbs, next describing words, and then nouns. Conventions have been part of the writing program for years, and there is an abundance of material. The key to success with lessons on Conventions is immediate application. Teach application during the editing process.

Strategies of Approach

There are several good teaching strategies, and a combination of the four to be discussed is desirable. Each strategy has a different level of dependence/independence.

Shared writing places the teacher in maximum control. During shared writing, the teacher acts as a scribe and decides what to record. The students share suggestions. This strategy is particularly successful when student writing skills are undeveloped, and when the goal is to have students focus on ideas, not how to record them.

Interactive writing is a step up from shared writing. The teacher still has control over what is written. However in this strategy, the teacher shares the writing tool or keyboard at times with the students. The students have some responsibility for recording information, but focus is still mainly on the students' ideas.

Independent writing allows the students to exhibit personal writing skills. With this strategy, students record their ideas by themselves. It is the strategy used for the assessment of writing.

Guided writing/Writer's Workshop is the strategy involving interaction between a student or a small group of students and the teacher. Guided writing includes mini lessons that address writing needs. Also, it includes individual conferencing providing an opportunity for the teacher to assist the student in recognizing strengths and weaknesses of a writing piece. In addition, a plan for correcting errors can be made.

Putting it All Together

The Writing Process provides the framework to produce the writing. The Six Traits Writing Model helps students recognize the qualities of good writing. The strategies provide opportunities for practicing writing with different levels of guidance. Together, they can be the core of a good writing program.

Visit Ginny's Educational WebPages!