Module Three Practicum Exemplar

EC-6 Reading Language Arts Course – Practicum Three Exemplar

Module Three Practicum Exemplar

There are many type of writing rubrics. The rubric included in this module is used to assess a student’s paper for each of the traits of writing. By assessing each of the traits of good writing, it is easier to see what the student is doing well in writing and what the student needs next to improve their writing ability. Writing instruction is about changing the writer, not changing the writing. Instruction should always be focused on improving the writer’s ability as a writer not on fixing the one paper they are working on. Below is a 4th grade expository writing example paper. At the right are the scores for each trait that one teacher gave this piece of writing.

Student’s text:

The thing I feel sucecful at is winning first place in my baton twirlin solo. I tried my best wich made me feel great. Even if I got second or third I would feel sucecfull too because I tried. And another thing I feel sucecufl about is winning third in my group twirl. The reason I feel happy is because I tried. If I didn’t try then I wouldnent even get third. After waching all the other teams I got an idea of what to change about so I can do even better next time I go to a competition. And maybe get first or second place. What I learned that day is to keep trying no matter what.

Ideas: Score of 2. The student’s main idea is present; that of being successful at trying and succeeding because the author tried hard. The supporting details are attempted but lack details and specificity. The author “tells” rather than “shows” the reader. The reader is left with unanswered questions.

Organization: Score of 3. Organization is present and moves without too much confusion. The introduction – “The thing I feel successful at is winning first place in my baton twirling solo” is present but fails to grab the reader’s interest. Conclusion is present. Transitions work but are predictable “And another thing I feel successful about…” “After watching…”

Voice: Score of 3. The author attempts to connect with the audience but is impersonal. Commitment to the topic is present and author’s point of view is emerging but obscured behind vague generalities.

Word Choice: Score of 2. Vocabulary is functional and adequate but very basic. For instance, “I tried my best which made me feel great.” “The reason I feel happy is because I tried.”

Sentence Fluency: Score of 3. When you read the piece aloud the writing has an easy flow. The sentence beginnings vary and sentence structure is generally correct. The sentence lengths also vary which makes the reading flow.

Conventions: Score of 3. The writer has reasonable control over standard conventions. Spelling is usually correct with the exception of more difficult words such as “sucecful” for “successful” and “wich” for “which”. Moderate editing including starting the one sentence with the word “And another thing…”

EC-6 Reading Language Arts Course – Practicum Three Exemplar


After assessing the students writing, the student exhibits strengths in the areas of organization and sentence fluency. There is evidence that the student knows how to organize and use transitions and the paper flows. The student shows weakness in the areas of developing ideas and in word choice. The idea of working hard and trying and being successful in getting first place in the baton twirling solo needs to be developed further. The student would benefit from mini-lessons on expanding and extending her idea so that the paper is focused and supported with relevant details that “show” the reader. Another lesson focus for this student would be in the area of word choice. Below is one mini-lesson showing one example of how authors use supporting details to add interest and explanations in their writing.


• The Best Book of Whales and Dolphins by Christiane Gunzi 2. Teacher’s Writer’s Notebook MINI-LESSON (I DO):

1. Introduce the lesson: “When writers write informational books they not only give readers a lot of interesting facts, but they also use other techniques to help show the reader and not just tell them the facts. During this lesson we are going to look at one way that authors show their readers by providing supporting details.”

2. Display and distribute the mentor text example from the Filtering Food and Blowhole sections from the mentor text The Best Book of Whales and Dolphins. Explain, “If the author had just written the first sentence, “Humpback whales catch their food using their baleen.” it would have left the reader with some unanswered questions…”What is a baleen?” The author goes on to explain what baleens are. The explanation of baleens is the supporting details that explain it completely.”

3. Discuss the main idea sentence and the supporting details by color coding the paragraph as follows. o Main idea statement – green o Supporting details – yellow

Humpback whales catch their food using their baleen. Baleens, or whalebone, are the long, hair-lined plates inside a baleen whales mouth. They help the whale catch prey. As the whale swims forward, water filters through its open mouth. When the whale closes its mouth, the water is forced out, and tiny creatures are trapped inside the baleen.

EC-6 Reading Language Arts Course – Practicum Three Exemplar

WE DO: 4. Display the second mentor text example from the book Whales and Dolphins then guide students as

they color code the paragraph in their Writer’s Notebook identifying the main idea statement and the supporting details that explain it further.

5. Have students glue both mentor text examples into their Writer’s Notebook. 6. Display your Writer’s Notebook. Explain, “Now I need to go back to my own writing and see if there

is a place where I just wrote a statement that leaves my reader with some unanswered questions. When you are writing you need to think what questions your reader might have and add in the supporting details to explain.”

o Think aloud as you model identifying a statement then adding supporting details. For instance: “I wrote the statement: My new puppy was very small. Well, this statement needs more supporting details, so I think I’ll add: He only weighed one and a half pounds and fit into my dad’s shirt pocket. When we took him outside you couldn’t see him in the grass. He looked more like a hamster than a puppy.”

7. Review, “We have now looked at one way that writers add to their content and help a reader understand what they are writing. You have the mentor text examples in your Writer’s Notebook that you can go back to when you want to try out this technique.” Have students take out their writing folder with their draft.


8. “Now go back to your draft and look for a place where you just wrote a statement that might leave your reader with some questions. Add in the supporting details that makes your writing more interesting and “shows” your reader rather than telling them.

9. Conference with students as they work on their independent writing.

A whale or dolphin breathes through a blowhole on top of its head. A baleen whale has two blowholes, and a toothed whale has one. The blowholes can open when the whale swims to the surface for air and then close again when it goes back underwater. Some sperm whales can hold their breath underwater for two hours or more.