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Six Traits of Writing

July 20, 2005

I have tried various ideas for the 6 Traits of Writing using literature. What I do is to have the students keep a writing journal that goes along with the story I have selected. I provide the writing prompts, and the students respond to the prompts in their journals. The first prompt might be, 'I think this story is going to be about ...' First the students must think about the prompt, look through the story, especially if there are pictures that provide clues, read the front and back covers, and through this exploration, write at least two ideas on the top of the first page of their journal. The second step is for them to organize their ideas using a graphic organizer that they feel comfortable using. They draw the organizer below their ideas on the same page. If you have not introduced them to any graphic organizers do this first. The third step is to write their first draft using the organizer. When they have completed this step, I take them through the other steps of the six traits before they begin reading so they are clear about editing, voice, word choice, conventions, and sentence fluency. Then we begin reading the story, and each day for bell work the students write about what they read from the previous day, using a prompt I create. These journal entries are used to compare their predictions with each entry. I have the students use a T chart for this activity. They take their prediction apart and write each line on the left side of the chart. On the right side of the chart, they place the journal entries that are the same or similar to the prediction next to it. Then, they continue breaking apart their journal entries and putting each sentence that is different from their prediction on the right side of the chart (one difference per line). Once this is completed, they use the chart to write a summary of the story, or a comparison paragraph or essay. I have even had my students use it to write a persuasive paper, such as 'I believe that my prediction is better than the real story because...' There are so many ways that you can use this idea in literature and the 6 Traits. Good luck with what you do decide to use.


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