Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler, coauthors of The Writing Revolution, have joined together to provide educators with an evidence-based roadmap for teaching writing to all K-12 students. Popularly known as ‘The Hochman Method,’ which begins with teaching the basic building blocks for writing a sentence and progressively teaching students the framework for designing outlines, paragraphs, and compositions. This teaching structure is so empowering to students; if you can write a sentence, you can write anything. This method is transformative in teaching students to write, as students are introduced to each strategy utilizing the ‘I do, we do, you do’ gradual release model for direct explicit instruction. The strategies for this method of writing remain the same for all grades and content areas, as it is the content that drives the rigor of each strategy. This method is designed to equip students with the skills to become better readers, more effective when communicating in both writing and speaking, and to elevate student thinking.
Each strategy in the book begins with ‘the why’ as well as an overview of the benefits of teaching the strategy to students. When introducing the strategy for teaching basic conjunctions (because, but, & so) common language is established so students know what each conjunction word is telling the writer to do (because- explains/tells why something is true, but- shows change of direction, & so- tells us what happens as a result of something/ indicates cause and effect). Students complete each sentence using each conjunction in turn. Rather than regurgitating facts about a topic, students use the sentence stem to think deeply about the content being covered. It is the format that really matters in this method and strategy.
Let’s look at the ‘because, but, & so’ strategy in action. Often, we question students about a topic as follows: Why was Andrew Jackson a popular president? The Writing Revolution flips this question using the ‘because, but, so’ strategy in order to assess what students already know about Andrew Jackson. Using the gradual release model, the teacher would provide students with the sentence stem: ‘Andrew Jackson was a popular president____________.’ Students would see the sentence stem repeated three times using ‘because, but, so’ and using the gradual release model, would write three separate sentences.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president because _________________________________.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president, but _____________________________________.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president, so ______________________________________.
In teaching this strategy it would be made clear to students that they are creating three separate sentences as the conjunction dictates the end of their response. The sentence stem is repeated three times because we are looking for students to provide three separate sentences about Andrew Jackson. The possibilities for this strategy are endless as they can be easily translated into any content area and/or grade level.
It’s not too late to join us to revolutionize your writing activities! The Writing Revolution CLC Grades 2-8 met once this summer, however we have three more sessions throughout the school year. We will be gathering again via zoom from 3-4:30pm on the following dates: 10/13/22, 12/13/22, and 2/07/23. Please consider joining Sarah Cartmill, Tessa Levitt, and Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith by contacting your district professional development representative to register for our remaining sessions. We can’t wait to connect with you!
By: Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
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