Common Core State Standards-friendly Workshops: Building Critical Thinkers with Trait Language.
I spend the first twelve weeks of my school year teaching students to apply the language of the six writing traits to everything we read and everything we write. I do this diligently, as though the success of the entire school year depends upon it. Why? This establishes a vocabulary for writing, and I am a true believer that you can't teach writing well if you don't have a vocabulary to discuss it with your students. Giving my students--early on--better ownership of trait-inspired language becomes the single best investment of time that I make while building my community of readers and writers.