ExamplesLanguage ArtsThis example of a framed paragraph centers on Holidays and provides additional space for students to re-write the completed paragraph. See example >(99K PDF)* MathThis site includes an example of using a framed paragraph for writing a description about decimals. See example >(110K PDF)* Social StudiesThis example shows how teachers can use a writing frame to develop a "compare" and "contrast" essay. See example >(28K PDF)*
Children's books to use with this strategy
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (Puffin) Language Arts Miss Rumphius leaves the world more beautiful with an unusual legacy. This gentle story can relate to not only the language arts, but to dreams, legacies, and the environment.
Racing Around by Stuart Murphy (HarperCollins) Math Part of the MathStart series, this story centers around a boy's desire to ride in a 15 kilometer bicycle race. Lucid text and clear illustrations are used to explain perimeters and more. The series varies in difficulty.
Benny's Pennies by Pat Brisson (Dragonfly) Math A boy has five pennies and spends them one at a time as he meets people during a walk. Told in rhyme, this cumulative story is appealing and well supported by illustration.
Minty by Alan Schroeder (Puffin) Social Studies This fictionalized picture book biography of young Harriet Tubman is sure to begin discussion on early US history and the woman who became known as the conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Gold Fever by Rosalyn Schanzer (National Geographic) Social Studies A lucid text (with lots of visuals) reveals exciting and sourced stories of the California Gold Rush. Other books by Schanzer may work as well.
Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney (Dragonfly) Social Studies This child-centered look at geography uses clear language and crisp illustrations to introduce the concept of geography, maps and more. Differentiated instructionFor Second Language Learners, students of varying reading skill, and for younger learners
Vary the amount of information you provide in the frame. Some students may require lots of transition words for sentences, others will need very few.
Model the frame paragraph strategy with a text that is familiar to students before asking them to complete it on their own.
Some students may enjoy making their own frame for something they've read. Students could pair up, write their own frames, and then trade texts and frames and complete the new frame.
Standards-Based Writing for ELLsBy: Colorín Colorado (2007)Writing is communication, creativity and collaboration. Writing is a social process for English language learners (ELLs), just as it is for any other writer. Teaching English language learners to be successful writers depends on the quality of the instructional process, practices, and classroom climate for learning. Research suggests two principles of writing instruction for ELLs. First, literacy instruction should center on understanding and on the communication of meaning. The teachers' role is to support students as they carry out meaningful literacy activities involving the full processes of reading and writing. Second, writing instruction should take place in the context of a rich and challenging curriculum. The teachers' role is to provide instructional materials and activities that meet and challenge a student's language production level and provide access to standards-based academic content. Recent research reveals emerging promising practices on how meaningful, standards-based writing instruction can be attained through five key principles:
Writing can be taught earlier than once believed – you don't have to wait until the student has developed high levels of English proficiency.
Writing flourishes in a safe community of learners, where teacher and students are writing and sharing their writings, editing each other's work (students edit teacher's writing also), and where they publish together. ELLs need a sense of community and structure that allows them to take risks on their way to learning in a new language and culture.
Using culturally responsive instruction, teachers explore with their classes the ways in which students and their families use literacy at home and in the community. Teachers then bring these topics, styles, and cultural knowledge into the writing themes.For instance, well-educated Mexican students often start a narrative with long sentences filled with flowery language. To them, it is an insult to start with a succinct topic sentence. The topic is not typically approached until the elaborate introduction is complete. Korean students tend to use more inductive logical structures, putting details first and working up to a conclusion. Their style may appear indirect and unconvincing in their arguments to teachers unfamiliar with such a rhetorical approach. Students who speak Arabic may also love long descriptions, and may be seen as digressing. Vietnamese students may focus more on setting the scene than on developing the plot. These cultural mismatches might raise false impressions about the students' writing abilities. Thus, teachers who are unfamiliar with cultural variations such as these might want to begin with class activities to discover the variations in class by asking students to write about their culture or country of origin.
The goal of a recursive writing process is to get ELLs to write often and to use their peers in the classroom as their audience. You can use cooperative learning during the planning, revising, and editing of their writing, so that students give feedback to one another as well as use feedback that has been given. ELLs learn a great deal just from examining each other's writing. Through this process, ELLs have many opportunities to write, learn new text structures and words, and become familiar with the mechanics of writing in English. It is also important, however, to teach students specific strategies and skills to help them improve their writing techniques and their English simultaneously. Below you will find ideas for mini-lessons on conventions for writing that you can provide on a systematic basis.
Conventions for writing in English or SpanishConventions of writing
Write the title, author's name, date, and page numbers
Use appropriate punctuation, including sentence markers such as question marks and periods
Use and choose genre, such as fiction or nonfiction
Develop plot and setting
Use a variety of author devices (irony, flashback, foreshadowing, etc.)
Use active versus passive voice
Conventions of English
Capitalization, punctuation, margins, and hyphens
Beginning and ending sentences
Root words, prefixes, and suffixes
Other ideasOne way to help students reflect on their own writing is to model how to ask clarifying questions. The following questions can also be given to students to keep in their folders for their own reading reflections or to help their peers. This is an attempt to show how writers actively interact with ideas in the course of drafting. Use your own writing examples and think alouds to illuminate the author's craft. Teach students to re-read long or awkward descriptions and contradictions when they don't make sense. Then explain, model, or discuss what students might do to fix sentences like these. Types of questions for reflection, feedback, and discussion
What is the author trying to tell us here?
What is another way the author can say this?
What else could the author tell us about this character?
Can the author tell us more about the setting?
Does this make sense with what the author told us before?
Does the author tell us why?
Why do you think the author tells us this now?
How do things look for this character now?
Does the author provide us with an exciting ending?
THE DOS AND DON'TS OF INSTRUCTION: What It Means To Teach Gifted Learners Well by Carol Ann Tomlinson, Ed.D, The University of Virginia Some people suggest that gifted education is just sort of "fluffy" or enriching-gravy on the potatoes, perhaps, but not anything especially substantial or critical in the way of mental fare. Others propose that all gifted education is what's good for all students. Unfortunately, those two criticisms sometimes stem from observing classrooms where gifted learners are taught inappropriately. So what does it mean to teach a highly able student well? Of course it will vary some with the age of the child, the subject, the learning style of the student-and possibly even the child's gender or culture. Certainly appropriate instruction for such learners varies for a child who comes to school rich with experiences vs. a child who is equally able but lacks richness of experience. And it will vary with a child who has immense potential vs. a peer with somewhat less capacity. Nonetheless, there are general indicators of appropriate curriculum and instruction for highly able students (in their areas of strength)-and general indicators of inappropriate curriculum and instruction for such learners. Good Instruction For Gifted Learners 1) Good curriculum and instruction for gifted learners begins with good curriculum and instruction. It's difficult, if not impossible, to develop the talent of a highly able student with insipid curriculum and instruction. Like all students, gifted learners need learning experiences that are rich. That is, they need learning experiences that are organized by key concepts and principles of a discipline rather than by facts. They need content that is relevant to their lives, activities that cause them to process important ideas at a high level, and products that cause them to grapple with meaningful problems and pose defensible solutions. They need classrooms that are respectful to them, provide both structure and choice, and help them achieve more than they thought they could. These are needs shared by all learners, not just those who are gifted. But good instruction for gifted learners must begin there. 2) Good teaching for gifted learners is paced in response to the student's individual needs. Often, highly able students learn more quickly than others their age. As a result, they typically need a more rapid instructional pace than do many of their peers. Educators sometimes call that "acceleration," which makes the pace sound risky. For many gifted learners, however, it's the comfortable pace-like walking "quickly" suits someone with very long legs. It's only "fast" for someone with shorter legs. On the other hand, it's often the case that advanced learners need a slower pace of instruction than many other students their age, so they can achieve a depth or breadth of understanding needed to satisfy a big appetite for knowing. 3) Good teaching for gifted learners happens at a higher "degree of difficulty" than for many students their age. In the Olympics, the most accomplished divers perform dives that have a higher "degree of difficulty" than those performed by divers whose talents are not as advanced. A greater degree of difficulty calls on more skills-more refined skills-applied at a higher plane of sophistication. A high "degree of difficulty" for gifted learners in their talent areas implies that their content, processes and products should be more complex, more abstract, more open-ended, more multifaceted than would be appropriate for many peers. They should work with fuzzier problems, will often need less teacher-imposed structure, and (in comparison to the norm) should have to make greater leaps of insight and transfer than would be appropriate for many their age. Gifted learners may also (but not always) be able to function with a greater degree of independence than their peers. 4) Good teaching for gifted learners requires an understanding of "supported risk."Highly able learners often make very good grades with relative ease for along time in school. They see themselves (and often rightly so) as expected to make "As," get right answers, and lead the way. In other words, they succeed without "normal" encounters with failure. Then, when a teacher presents a high-challenge task, the student feels threatened. Not only has he or she likely not learned to study hard, take risks and strive, but the student's image is threatened as well. A good teacher of gifted students understands that dynamic, and thus invites, cajoles and insists on risk-but in a way that supports success. When a good gymnastics coach asks a talented young gymnast to learn a risky new move, the coach ensures that the young person has the requisite skills, then practices the move in harness for a time. Then the coach "spots" for the young athlete. Effective teachers of gifted learners do likewise.
Inappropriate Instruction For Gifted Learners 1) Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do things they already know how to do, and then to wait for others to learn how. Many advanced learners regularly complete assignments calling on materials, ideas and skills they have already mastered. Then they wait for peers to catch up, rather than being pre-assessed and assigned more advanced materials, ideas and skills when they demonstrate competency. 2) Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do "more of the same stuff faster." Reading more books that are too easy and doing more math problems that have ceased being a challenge are killers of motivation and interest. 3) Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it cuts them loose from peers and the teacher for long periods of time. Asking a highly able student to sit at a desk in the back of the room and move through the math book alone ignores a child's need for affiliation, and overlooks the fact that a teacher should be a crucial factor in all children's learning. It also violates the importance of meaningful peer interaction in the learning process, as well as in the process of social and emotional development. 4) Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is structured around "filling time." Highly able students are often asked to go write a play, complete a puzzle, or do classroom chores because they have completed required tasks that take others longer. It would be difficult to defend such practices as a high-quality use of educational time. 5) Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when they spend substantial time in the role of tutor or "junior teacher." All students need to be colleagues for one another, giving a hand or clarifying procedures when needed. That's quite different from when advanced learners spend chunks of time on a regular basis teaching what they already know to students who are having difficulty. Some educators suggest that doesn't harm highly able learners because their test scores remain high. That begs the question of the extended learning these students might have garnered had the same amount of time been spent in pursuit of well-planned new ideas and skills. 6) Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is rooted in novel, "enriching" or piecemeal learning experiences. If a child were a very talented pianist, we would question the quality of her music teacher if the child regularly made toy pianos, read stories about peculiar happenings in the music world, and did word-search puzzles on the names of musicians. Rather, we would expect the student to work directly with the theory and performance of music in a variety of forms and at consistently escalating levels of complexity. We would expect the young pianist to be learning how a musician thinks and works, and to be developing a clear sense of her own movement toward expert-level performance in piano. Completing word-search puzzles, building musical instruments and reading about oddities in the lives of composers may be novel, may be "enriching,"(and certainly seems lacking in coherent scope and sequence, and therefore sounds piecemeal). But those things will not foster high-level talent development in music. The same hold true for math, history, science, and so on. It's Actually Simple-In Theory What it takes to teach gifted learners well is actually a little common sense. It begins with the premise that each child should come to school to stretch and grow daily. It includes the expectation that the measure of progress and growth is competition with oneself rather than competition against others. It resides in the notion that educators understand key concepts, principles and skills of subject domains, and present those in ways that cause highly able students to wonder and grasp, and extend their reach. And it envisions schooling as an escalator on which students continually progress, rather than a series of stairs, with landings on which advanced learners consistently wait. It's not so hard to articulate. It's fiendishly difficult to achieve in schools where standardization is the norm, and where teachers are supported in being recipe followers, rather than flexible and reflective artisans. In schools where responsive instruction is a carefully supported indicator of professional growth, the capacity to extend even the most capable mind is a benchmark of success.