Writing

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Kristine Kelly

Literacy Coordinator

In Minnesota ABE programs, writing is taught in many different contexts and for many different purposes. One thing is for certain: Teaching writing is complicated! To assist MN ABE practitioners in providing effective writing instruction, ATLAS provides a variety of professional development (PD) activities, including workshops at various regional and statewide conferences, a growing online Writing resource library, and a new writing study circle that is currently under development.

Language & Literacy Institute

One of our primary activities for improving writing instruction is hosting the Language & Literacy Institute, a two-day, intensive training that takes place in late January each year. The large event brings together reading, writing, and ESL educators in ABE to collaborate with and learn from one another. The Language & Literacy Institute is organized by the Language & Literacy Advisory Team, and we offer an array of  workshops on reading and literacy instruction topics that have emerged as priorities in the state. In addition, we offer the CCR (College & Career Readiness) English Language Arts (ELA) Foundation workshop in conjunction with this event each year.

Writing Standards

Are you looking for more information about the College & Career Readiness (CCR) writing standards?

  • Visit the CCR Standards page to find out about professional development around the CCR Standards
  • Visit the CCR Standards library to find resources for implementing the ELA (English Language Arts) Standards, including writing

Recommendations about Adult Writing from ATLAS and LLATé

Writing is a way to organize thoughts, deepen understanding, slow down speech, and build language skills. Writing (of both print and electronic texts) is critical for adults in order to fully participate in their communities, engage in postsecondary opportunities, and succeed in the workplace. Developing writing skills also improves problem-solving, critical thinking, and retention of content knowledge.

The Minnesota ABE Language & Literacy Advisory Team (LLATé), synthesizing the research in writing instruction, recommends establishing a “writing culture” across all adult education levels and content areas. This means:

  • Students should be composing, editing, and sharing frequently during ABE/ESL instruction.
  • Effective writing instruction should focus on clear communication of ideas, sentence structures, usage, organization, and mechanics.
  • Writing activities (from student practice to publishing) will look different, and the products will vary depending on proficiency levels.
  • Acquiring writing fluency may require extensive teacher modeling, individual or group practice, and teacher or peer feedback.

Study Circles

Writing Study Circle

This 12-hour professional learning activity allows Adult Education teachers to dig deeply into resources related to writing instruction and then implement key strategies with their students. Study circle participants engage in both at-home reading and reflective classroom tasks that inform and deepen discussions and allow for maximum professional growth. The study circle meetings are an opportunity to connect with colleagues in a highly supportive and collaborative space to talk about what is working and what challenges exist around teaching writing to adult learners.

Advisory Teams

Language & Literacy Advisory Team

The Language & Literacy Advisory Team (LLATé) is an ATLAS-sponsored team designed to strengthen language, reading, and writing instruction in Minnesota through relevant, meaningful, and effective professional development for practitioners.

LLATé is responsible for visioning and implementing a long-term strategic plan for language and literacy professional development (PD) in Minnesota, as well as completing specific tasks yearly to support established PD efforts, such as the January Language & Literacy Institute.

New Writing Resources

Rubrics for Providing Writing Feedback

These two rubrics were created by Stephanie Sommers, Writing Curriculum Team Lead with Minneapolis Adult Education. They are examples of single point rubrics, a format with "at target" expectations in a middle column, a blank column to the left for "below target," and another blank column to the right for "above target." This provides students with specific and valuable teacher feedback for improving their performance.

365 Days of Writing Prompts

This collection of writing prompts developed by WordPress (2013) was created to get students to write each and every day. It begins with January 1 and proceeds with daily writing questions or statements for every day of the year through December 31.

Informing Writing: The Benefits of Formative Assessment

This publication focuses on the effectiveness of formative writing (teacher feedback, student assessment, and ongoing monitoring) and offers best practices for assessment (allow paper/pencil or word processing, mask student names when scoring, and use multiple samples). Like "Writing Next" and "Writing to Read" - both available in this resource library - it is a meta-analysis of large-scale research studies.
Writing

Writing Resource Library »

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Latest Writing Articles

A Walk in My Shoes: Videos to Help Everyone Have a Place at the Table

This documentary video series features stories from first-generation college students and aims “to create awareness about the diversity, the challenges, the opportunities and the benefits each student brings to campus.” Watching the videos would be an excellent way to begin a conversation about a number of important topics, such as the barriers that first-generation college students face, the value of persistence, and the importance of “making room at the table” for diverse voices in educational spaces. Read More

Project-Based Learning in Action: How to Be a Successful Online Student – Part 2

Instructor Dan Bruski describes how he led his low-intermediate ESL students through a project-based learning activity around composing a list of rules and expectations for their online class. The culmination of the lesson was the creation of a video on "How to be a successful online student," which has an authentic use for orienting new students. Read More

Upcoming ABE Events

August 17, 2022 9:00 am–4:00 pm
Literacy Action Network
Online

MN ABE Summer Institute 2022

Online

Registration Deadline: FRI. 8/12/22 ABE Summer Institute is Minnesota’s annual statewide Adult Basic Education conference sponsored by Literacy Action Network.  Due to ongoing COVID-19 we have made the decision to hold the conference on a virtual platform.  This year’s conference will include: ABE updates from the ABE State… Learn More

Online
September 7, 2022 6:30 pm–8:30 pm
Literacy Minnesota
Online

Core Training Module 1: Overview of Minnesota Adult Education and Program Accountability

Online

Registration Deadline: WED. 9/7/22 Participants learn about Adult Basic Education programming in Minnesota, demographics of learners, instructional content standards as well as initial and on-going assessment. This session wraps up with learner motivations, barriers and persistence. Learn More

Online
September 13, 2022 9:00 am–3:00 pm
ATLAS
Hamline University – Anderson Center
774 Snelling Ave. N.
Saint Paul, MN 55104 United States

Integrated Education and Training (IET) Academy Kickoff

Hamline University – Anderson Center
774 Snelling Ave. N.
Saint Paul, MN 55104 United States

Cohort Description Are you looking to begin an IET in your program?  Or do you have an IET already, and want to strengthen or expand it?  Consider joining the IET Academy!  This professional development cohort from ATLAS is for IELCE grantees and other programs who are actively pursuing IET work. Learn More

Hamline University – Anderson Center
774 Snelling Ave. N.
Saint Paul, MN 55104 United States