System 44
Midyear: A Fabulous Time to Get into the Writing Strand
Remember the beginning of the year when you taught students how to use the System 44 instructional software? Well, it's midyear and a great time to review a few of the strands; especially the Writing Strand. You most likely recently completed reviewing your Phonics InventoryPI, Summary Reports and System 44 Reading Progress Report. Who are the students that have moved into Series 12 or are very close. Up to this point, Whole- and Small-Group Instruction has been where students have been developing their writing skills, but now, they will have this opportunity to practice independently in the Writing Strand


To Understand the Writing Zone, Go Back and Get to Know the Success Strand
The Success Strand prepares the students for this writing activity by providing them with an extensive review and practice of the text which includes viewing a video, listening to a modeled, fluent read, time to practice their reading and recording the passage. However, are students taking the opportunity to listen to the recording, comparing to the passage, and re-recording if needed? Talk to students. Watch them using the software the next time they are actively working in this strand. Because the steps above will provide them the time to get to know the purpose of these tasks and how that will support them when they work in the Writing Strand. The last reading task that students complete in Success is to complete a Cloze activity to demonstrate comprehension of the passage, which is followed by answering multiple choice questions. 
Midyear Refresher
Writing Strand: In the Writing Strand, students are prompted to write short, text-based summaries that are connected to the Success passage in the Success Strand. After you analyze your System 44 Reports and review any previously scored Writing Responses, you may find it beneficial to ask students that are already working in the strand to share what they like, what is challenging, and what they may need to approach this strand differently. Use writing completed in the 44Book to guide the conversation as well. For additional tips for a refresher on how to explain and prepare students, return to the Getting Started notes and Teacher Implementation Guide and Your First Three Weeks.

After reviewing this zone, you will find that students are given a writing prompt based on the Success passage. This text-based prompt is supported with Writing Frames and a three-step rubric to assist them in writing their first draft. After students write their responses and check it using  the provided rubric in the sidebar, they then create a title for their revised draft, record themselves reading their writing, and then send it to the teacher to Publish. As with the Success recording, ask any students already working in the Writing Strand if they have used the opportunity to revise one more time after listening to the recording. You may find that their responses lead you to another refresher moment.

From my day to day experiences, I have learned that although the writing prompt is structured and embedded with scaffolding supports, I found that my students experienced more ease, progress, and success when I implemented the following tips.


1) Print a handout of the Success Passage for the students to use when answering the prompt. You can print this from the Resources. Students can access and view the passage; however, they find it helpful to have the printed version in hand to reference.

2) Review the three-step rubric with the students. Guide students to understand text evidence, punctuation, and spelling.

3) Let the students use a dictionary or mobile device for the final edit of the spelling check.

4) While they are still working on the draft and revising with the rubric, encourage them to read their responses aloud, which will help them catch errors. Remind students to ask themselves if they think  the prompt is being answered and if there is anything else that they can add to their response.

5) Hold individual conferences with the students after they publish their work. Highlight their strengths and areas that need more attention.

The Writing Strand provides an incredible opportunity for students to develop their writing skills as they become more proficient with decoding and understanding words.  With our support and feedback, students successfully develop their writing skills as they engage in this strand.

System 44 Educator
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