Who Owns the Writing Instruction?

Creating an Informational Tool about Writing Instruction for Content Area Teachers

At the completion of this assignment, you will understand:

1.      All subject areas need to teach writing.

2.      ELA faculty has specific knowledge, skills, and responsibility for composition instruction.

3.      Each discipline has its own writing conventions.

4.      Subject-area teachers have the responsibility to teach the writing conventions of their discipline.

5.      Subject-area teachers can benefit by a) the clarification of their instructional role, b) awareness of their discipline’s writing conventions, c) instructional resources particular to their field.

6.      School Librarians have the skills and resources to raise awareness and provide instructional resources and assistance to help subject-area teachers with effective writing instruction.

7.      Adult learning theory informs effectiveness of professional development.

In this assignment, you will create a reference tool for your subject-area colleagues to help them understand the kind of writing instruction they must offer and the resources to help them carry it out.

Read a few brief articles online about the characteristics of adult learners. You will find they start to repeat themselves; from these characteristics, you’ll get the general idea of how you’ll need to structure your artifact.

Keeping these learning characteristics in mind, create a brochure, web-page, or other accessible informational artifact you could use with colleagues to help them learn why and how to teach writing in their content area. Structure your artifact so faculty can use it independently or with you as a co-teacher. As a co-teacher, your role would be to provide teachers with instructional/referential resources and to coach students as they learn to use the written conventions in the subject-area. Teachers working without your co-teaching need to be able to benefit from the informational artifact independently.

Your informational tool will have the following components:

1.      Rationale for teaching writing in the content areas

2.      Clarification of difference between writing ELA writing curriculum and subject area writing curriculum.

3.      Information clarifying characteristics of various subject-related writing. (Hint, take advantage of the graphics you and your colleagues created. No one said you couldn’t share resources you’ve created. . .)

4.      Lists of recommended resources for information on writing instruction pedagogy for math, social science, history, science, technical and vocational subjects.

5.      Suggestions and examples of instructional activities teachers could use to build student subject-area writing skills.


Your informational tool will have the following characteristics:

1.      Evidence of attention to the characteristics of adult learners

2.      Inviting appearance and tone

3.      Clear, concise writing

4.      High quality, vetted resources

5.      Teacher-friendly resources: practical, quick, easily-applicable, concrete

6.      Error-free presentation – accurate citing, adherence to APA writing conventions and mechanics

7.      Capability of building understanding within ten minutes

8.      Easy for faculty to access

Note: see rubric to understand the quality expected of these components and characteristics.