A school wide focus
“an intense focus, across nearly every academic subject, on teaching the skills that underlie good analytical writing.”
Direct and Explicit Instruction
“The thing is, kids need a formula, at least at first, because what we are asking them to do is very difficult. So God, let’s stop acting like they should just know how to do it. Give them a formula! Later, when they understand the rules of good writing, they can figure out how to break them.”
Standards define expectations. Teachers help students meet expectations.
"traditional instruction delivered by the teachers already in classrooms may turn out to be the most powerful lever we have for improving school performance after all."
The best place to teach literacy skills is in content areas. - Dan Willingham
the emphasis on writing at New Dorp helped in knowledge and vocabulary acquisition by forcing "distributed practice" of subject matter and vocabulary, causing them to be learned more effectively by having to be written out.
Writing improves reading and vice versa. - Steve Graham
the promise of the method lies in its efficiency: killing two birds with one stone, both writing and general knowledge. The efficiency is significant only if it's an effective pedagogical device in support of cumulative knowledge building.
The key is that students can apply what they have learned.
As schools embark on the implementation of the Common Core standards, let us hope that educators keep in mind that they are just standards and that the heavy lifting, as Hirsch suggests, will be that of “defining specifically the knowledge to be learned.”