June 9, 2016

Corbett Harrison: UW-Stout Online Class: Teaching and Assessing Writing with the 6-Traits

An Online Writing Traits Class We Recommend!

Looking for a summer learning experience that improves your skills as a writing teacher?  I recommend the following online course, which friend of WritingFix and Always Write--Dennis O'Connor--has helped coordinate this class for many years.  You simply can't maintain a functioning workshop environment for writing if students don't own the vocabulary of writing instruction, and the 6 Traits have been the academic language of choice we've used in my classroom for years!
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Enroll Today! http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/traits.cfm
Teaching and Assessing Writing with the 6-Traits
Online Course 3 semester hours graduate credit
Instructor: Renee Williams
June 27 - August 19, 2016 (100% Online)
EDUC 653 Middle School Through Adult 6-Traits Writing Instruction
EDUC 654 PK Through Elementary 6-Traits Writing Instruction
Learn more: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/traits.cfm

8 weeks of professional development that will transform your teaching. In depth discussion of 6-traits, writers workshop, and the practical application ideas you can put to work immediately.

Our Students Say...
  • "This course has reignited the fire for teaching that I once had. "
  • "Renee is so positive; she opens eyes to different schools of thought and doesn't just give you answers but encourages you to discover the answers on your own. Additionally, she provides an abundance of information that helps build you up as a teacher when it pertains to any question or topic posed, again intriguing us to continue our growth. "
  • "This course, while helping me improve my writing instruction, also will help me improve my instruction overall. Moreover, it helped me process issues outside of school and critically solve those."
  • "I have two bachelor degrees under my belt and countless grad classes. This class was the best, most engaging, most educational, most useful, best feedback....just wonderful. The instructor gave feedback that I will take and keep with me for years to come. You simply couldn't have found a better teacher. I feel honored to have taken this class. It was truly amazing."
  • "I think the best thing I could have done for future students was to take this class. Writing traits has helped me refresh my teaching skills."
  • "We had a truly international classroom. Only about half us were teaching in the states. Several were teaching in Department of Defense Schools overseas. We were a good mix of novice and veteran teachers."

June 2, 2016

Online Class: Teaching and Assessing Writing with the 6-Traits

teaching and assessing writing with the 6 traits university of wisconsin stout

Register Now: Online Courses Start:  

Summer: June 27 - August 19, 2016
Fall: September 26 - November 28, 2016

EDUC 653 Middle School through Adult 6-Traits Writing Instruction

EDUC 654 PK Through Elementary 6-Traits Writing Instruction

Do you want to engage your students and build a great writing program before the end of the school year? This class provides a plethora of practical methods and inspirational ideas.  

Renee Williams
Instructor:Renee Williams
Telephone: 971-4504572474
Office appointment calls available via Skype: renwill11 in Dubai, U.A.E.

Course Description

Concepts, instructional methods and assessment strategies for improving writing instruction, middle school through post-secondary. Self-assessment strategies, application of 6-traits, technology and software applications, and writing across the curriculum.

This class will focus on how to apply the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory's 6+1 Traits™ model to the process of teaching and evaluating writing.

The course activities will investigate the vocabulary, concepts, and application of writing traits to classroom instruction and student assessment. Take a few moments to review the class objectives.
Each module is structured around an Introduction, Readings, Lecture, Activities, an Activity Checklist, and Discussion Forum.

You will work individually and as part of a community to practice and refine your assessment skills. You will score a variety of demonstration papers, discuss your rationale with online colleagues, discover a variety of classroom strategies for teaching the traits, and share your own teaching methods.

While online education is highly flexible and designed to meet your schedule, you will need to set and meet deadlines as part of your weekly assignments and collaborative work. Additionally, your colleagues will depend on you for timely feedback as you work together to deepen and clarify essential concepts.

E-Textbook Included

Spandel, Vicki. (2012). Creating Writers: 6 Traits, Process, Workshop, and      Literature (6th Edition). Pearson. ISBN: 978-0132944106

Additional reading materials will be included as e-mail mini lectures or references on the WWW.

When you log in to the course, you will access the e-textbook to read online from your tablet, laptop or desktop. The e-textbook software is compatible with an iPad, Kindle Fire or fully Internet-capable device. It is not compatible with a Kindle Reader.

You can highlight info and organize info in the e-book (i.e. adding a note stating something like "reference in my discussion posting") and print only what you want for use as a study guide. You may share notes and highlighting with peers in the class. Printing of the entire textbook is allowed for your personal professional use.

University Email

Checking your university email daily is recommended.

Mobile Phone Access to Your Email
You may configure your mobile device to receive your university email automatically. Directions are provided at: http://helpdesk.uwstout.edu/kb/resolution.asp?q_id=262

Click on the appropriate link for directions that match your device.
If you need assistance, please call 715-232-5000.


  1. Articulate the 6-Traits theory of writing and its relevance with the components of writing workshop, writing process, and authentic literature in the PK-4 classroom.
  2. Analyze the relationship between reading and writing and how each can be enhanced using the 6 traits.
  3. Apply a variety of prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing techniques used in the writing process.
  4. Apply the 6-traits rubrics to analytically score writing samples and describe reasoning behind scoring decisions based on the point scale rubrics of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) and the Oregon Public Education Network (O.P.E.N.).
  5. Score online demonstration papers to practice analytical scoring for each of the 6 traits.
  6. Differentiate 6-traits instruction based on a wide range of academic diversity including English language learners and special needs students.
  7. Redesign current language arts lessons and integrate the 6-traits approach with developmentally appropriate learning activities.
  8. Integrate use of technology, easy access to online research resources, and digital writing and editing tools.
  9. Design an action plan to increase the frequency of opportunities for students to write in response to math, science, and social studies.
  10. Write reflectively about the themes, topics, and issues involved in teaching with the 6 traits.
By the end of the course participants will be able to efficiently assess student writing using the 6+1 Traits™ model. Participants will have shared effective methods for teaching each trait. Finally, participants will publish an original student sample, complete with 6-traits scores and rationales.

Instructor-Student Communication

The primary methods for communicating with students with be via...
  • Course News Updates, instructions, advice and tips will be posted in the Course News. Remember to check it each time you login to your course. Please log in at least four times a week.
  • Discussion Check the Discussion Board posts and responses regularly and remember that your level of Discussion Board participation and your discussion summary will be factored into your grade.
  • Your UW-Stout Email Account
    Check the university email at least every other day. Daily is better. No course communication will be sent to your home/work personal email accounts.
As we complete each activity, you are encouraged to share your discoveries and successes with other participants and collaborate during team problem-solving. Participants may share drafts of works-in-progress for peer feedback and discuss ideas and suggestions before submitting the final project.

Each participant brings unique needs and resources to the group. Our sharing will provide a broader base of experience as we discover the solutions to each others design needs and challenges.
Since our diverse groups are usually in many different time zones feel free to use the following aids to determine what time it is in your classmates' countries and/or cities. This will help when setting up real-time chats with your learning partner during collaborative projects.
The World Clock - Time Zones


Your final grade will be based on:
40% - Satisfactory completion of module activities
20% - Final Project
20% - Online Discussion (postings to Discussion Forum)
20% - Self-reflection
Your projects will be evaluated using standards listed on the module rubrics or checklists.
A -- Exceeds the standard
B -- Proficient demonstration of the standard
I -- Incomplete demonstration of the standard (Work must be resubmitted.)
Discussion Board Etiquette (Please Read!)
Evaluation of your Discussion Forum participation is cumulative and subjective based on notes that the facilitator records each week. Always feel free to e-mail your facilitator for help in upgrading your participation in the Discussion Forum.
Exemplary indicates you participated above the minimum level in both quantity and clarity of communication in your Discussion Forum postings.
Proficient indicates you met the minimum requirement. Discussion postings are timely, relevant and include some feedback about the readings and responds to others' comments in the discussions
Partially Proficient Discussion postings are too few in number, or too trivial to fully meet the requirement. For example, most of the postings are "I think so too" or "I disagree", but lack any argument that adds to the discussion or includes excessive quoting from the material without any real supporting evidence of how the topic might integrate with their classroom teaching.
Incomplete indicates you consistently contributed below the minimum two messages per week or contributions were merely perfunctory ("I agree with so and so.") or unclear.
Discussion Rubric

Reflections will be evaluated for clarity and your understanding of the readings and activities.
Any time that you want to ask about your progress, send an email directly to your facilitator.


Grading Scale








F73 or below
To maintain Full Academic Standing, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduate students.

Course Outline

  1. Getting Started With Traits Introductions, Community, The 6-Traits Theory, Historical Foundations, The Writing Process, Coaching Students Trait by Trait
  2. Trait: Voice
    Finding the Courage to Speak from the Heart, Teaching students to be assessors, Composing and revision in the writing process, Teaching strategies, Voice and informational writing, Books for teaching Voice, Six point writing guide
  3. Trait: Ideas and Content
    Generating Great Ideas, Ideas defined, Lessons and strategies for Ideas, Practice papers for Ideas, Ideas sample rubrics, Three level writing guide, Timeline/revision checklist for Ideas, Ideas and informational writing, Prewriting activities, Ideas as a foundation for meaning, Books for teaching Ideas
  4. Trait: Organization
    Techniques and Tips for Structuring Student Writing, Organization defined, Timeline/checklist for Organization, Teaching of Organization, Books for teaching Organization, Practice papers for Organization, Focused lessons for Organization, Three level writing guide, Six point writing guide
  5. Trait: Word Choice
    Developing Descriptive Vocabulary to 'Show' What You Know, Word choice defined, Timeline/checklist for Word Choice, Teaching Word Choice, Books for Teaching Word Choice, Six point writing guide, Practice papers for Word Choice, Focused lessons for Word Choice, Informational writing guide
  6. Trait: Sentence Fluency
    Developing Rhythm, Sentence Fluency defined, Teaching strategies, Teaching Sentence Fluency, Books for Teaching Sentence Fluency, Practice papers for Sentence Fluency, Focused lessons for Sentence Fluency
  7. Trait: Conventions
    Conventions - Editing, Not Correcting / Assessments & Grading, Conventions defined, Timeline/checklist for Conventions, Books for teaching Conventions, Teaching Conventions, Scoring for Conventions, Practice papers for Conventions, Focused lessons for Conventions, Six-trait rubric
  8. Practical Applications of the 6-Traits in Writing Across the Curriculum
    Use of technology for collaborative writing and editing in the classroom, Writers workshops in the disciplines and across the curriculum, Writing and the discipline areas, Understanding the role of audience, Modes of writing and the content areas
  9. The Assessment Roundtable  Bringing It All Together
    Assessing middle school, high school and community college writers, Communicating with students, Expanding the vision of 6-traits and the writing process in the classroom

Participation and Collaboration

Participants will:
  • Exchange posts with their colleagues and participate in discussions using a Discussion Forum
  • Review and discuss online and text based reading materials
  • Use online examples to practice score each trait
  • Score demonstration papers using the rubric and discuss assessment rationale
  • Develop and score an original student sample for all traits.
You will be able to customize activities to your specific teaching responsibilities and needs.

No more that 10% of a discussion posting or paper may be directly quoted.
Tips for documenting direct quotes in a discussion posting or paper: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

See: "short quotations" and "long quotations" and "summary or paraphrase."

Late Work

Regular, timely feedback to classmates via the Discussion Board makes this class vital, and prompt submission of assignments for assessment allows the instructor to give you the guidance you deserve to receive. Due dates for each module are published on the course calendar at the start of the class. Work turned in by midnight on the due date will be considered on time and will receive full credit.

Life can bring emergencies which may prevent timely submission of assignments. If you have an emergency which interferes with your coursework contact the instructor as soon as possible. Emergencies are defined as serious events which are not planned. Emergencies cannot be written on the calendar in advance. Examples of emergencies are heart attacks, car accidents, serious health crises of the student or in the student's immediate family. Examples of non-emergencies are family weddings, vacations, or any other event which can be planned around. If the family calendar looks busy at a particular time, plan to work ahead on your coursework.

Excused Makeup Work - If the late submission has been requested and approved in advance of the due date, there will be no deduction of points from the grade. An email to the instructor requesting an extension of the due date must be sent. The instructor will inform you if late submission will be allowed.

Unless previously excused by the instructor, work that is submitted after the close of a module will be penalized 10%. In other words, you need to be on time to earn 100%. You will only one week to make up late work. Late work will not be accepted after one week unless previously approved by the instructor.

Please contact the instructor if you have any questions about the late policy.


If you believe the course requirements create a conflict with your observance of religious holidays, please notify the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester so that appropriate alternative options can be arranged.


UW-Stout strives for an inclusive learning environment. If you anticipate or experience any barriers related to the format or requirements of this course please contact the instructor to discuss ways to ensure full access. If you determine that additional disability-related accommodations are necessary please contact the Disability Services office for assistance 715-232-2995 or contact the staff via email at this website: http://www.uwstout.edu/services/disability/contact.cfm

Academic Dishonesty

"Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, for the appropriate citation of sources, and for respect of others' academic endeavors. Students who violate these standards must be confronted and must accept the consequences of their actions."
Definitions of academic dishonesty as provided by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators include:
  • Cheating — The use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
  • Plagiarism — The use of others' ideas and words without a clear acknowledgement of the source.
  • Fabrication — The intentional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in any academic exercise.
  • Assisting — The facilitation or assistance in academic dishonesty.
UW-Stout also considers academic dishonesty to include forgery of academic documents, or intentionally impeding or damaging the academic work of others.

Academic misconduct in the University of Wisconsin System is defined by UWS Chapter 14. "Student Academic Misconduct / Disciplinary Procedures - UWS," Ch. 14.Â

Technology Requirements and Assistance

Complete the system checkup on this website  –https://uwstout.courses.wisconsin.edu/ – by clicking on the link that says:Check your system.

For help with your university email account, password, and login process: http://helpdesk.uwstout.edu

Madison Help Desk If you have any questions about these preferences, please call the Madison Help Desk at one of the numbers listed below and indicate that you are a UW-Stout student needing help with Learn@UW-Stout. Help is available 7 days a week.
  • 1-888-435-7589 select option 3

  • 1-608-264-4357 select option 3

Problems with Email

Ask5000 Help Desk
Call 715-232-5000 for technical assistance such as forgotten passwords, email, storage, and problems logging in to Access Stout to view tuition billing or final grades.

Library Services

To access UW - Stout's Library Services visit http://www.uwstout.edu/lib/. In addition to traditional and online services, the library maintains many helpful videos on searching and use of the online research tools.

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