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The Formative Feedback Project is a collaborative curation of best practices in educational strategies, ideas, resources. Specializing in student ownership, engagement, feedback loops and collaborative, effective feedback.

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Writing Continuums: Creation and Application

Taylor Meredith

After we set the stage for the writing continuum and analyzed exemplars of work we began to create and apply this to our practice. The writing continuum itself is a visual and interactive tool that students can visit and reference throughout the writing process to reflect on and revise their work.

One of my favorite things about my new role as instructional coach is that I have the unique opportunity to work in multiple classrooms. This project was just that. I worked with four different teachers and each teacher had a slightly different vision for their writing continuum, based on the needs of their students. Here are photos of some of the current products:

I say current products because they will evolve as the class grows in their writing. Each continuum lists attributes or expectations for each level of work. Attached are the student-analyzed exemplars so that students have constant access to mentor texts. More exemplars will be added to these rings as students produce and analyze more writing pieces. 

On to the next, most difficult step - application. It is great to have the continuum visible in the room but if students don't use the resource it is simply decoration. When we set the stage for the continuum we modeled and thought aloud as we worked through our writing. Consistency is key with the application. Use of the continuum can be highlighted during the share portion of the workshop, as well as allowing students who have used the continuum to revise to lead others. This tool is one way to embed authentic revision strategies into the process (reflecting and revising as we go) rather than the method of dedicating one day to revision.

As I worked in one class, a student observed that each level on the continuum was a step that you could take. If you began at a level one, the continuum gave you ideas for your next steps, towards a two or three or four. The students then discussed how we might rest in between steps or make moves that weren't included on our continuum but could be added in the future. A writing continuum is a student owned process. Created by the students, revised by the students, used by the students, owned by the students.  Can't wait to see how this elevates student writing!

Have you used a writing continuum? Successes? Challenges?

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