National Institute for Urban School Improvement
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Writing Improvement

  • "The Place I Will Always Remember": Drawing on Experiences through the Quilt Project
    Discusses a quilt project in which ninth-grade English-as-a-Second-Language students wrote, drew, and talked about what they knew, remembered, and felt on the topic "Where I Came From," creating an anthology and a quilt. Describes how students' speaking practice, written language abilities, and self-confidence improved.
  • Billy's Story: Grammar in Context (Rainbow Teachers/Rainbow Students)
    Shows how teaching grammar through writing can be a successful strategy. Points out the steps one teacher used in teaching a writing and grammar process with her sixth graders and illustrates its effectiveness, both with one high-risk student and also through a school disruption caused by fire.
  • Separating Siamese Twins: Can We Extricate WAC from Writing Centers?
    This paper addresses the culture of writing in higher education from a multicultural perspective of those within the "monolith." The paper first notes that writing programs, more specifically writing across the curriculum (WAC), and writing centers work in similar ways by benefiting each other and sharing the broad mission of improving students' writing. It then points out the differences programs manifest in many ways, and each program has a more specific mission, explicitly stated or not.
  • Social Constructivism and the School Literacy Learning of Students of Diverse Backgrounds
    Suggests social constructivism offers implications for reshaping schooling to correct the gap between the literacy achievement of students of diverse backgrounds and that of mainstream students. Proposes a conceptual framework.
  • The Family Tree: Nurturing Language Growth through "All the Parts of Me."
    Describes a month-long project in an eighth-grade English classroom in which students (from many countries, many of them immigrants) read an array of bicultural literature, and each researched, wrote, and compiled a many-faceted Family Tree notebook. Shows how students can achieve both their own cultural authenticity and English language competence without loss of personal voice.