HARMONY: New writing program implemented at school
October 25, 2013 11:00 AM
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WESTOVER — This school year, Harmony High School has adopted many new ideas and programs. There is a new program teachers are implementing in their classrooms, and the idea for a new room that will better the community.

The “Traits Writing” program is a writing instruction program based on the four key qualities of writing. Each trait is broken down into four key qualities that allow teachers to focus on their instruction precisely. The seven qualities — ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation — are the structural system of the program and give teachers concrete concepts to teach.

Crystal Graffius, the high school English teacher, has already applied the Traits Writing program to five of her seven classes.

“We are slowly working through each trait by defining them and looking at examples,” she said. “Then students are given assignments and have to focus on a few of those traits at a time. Anytime I give a writing assignment in these classes we will use the Traits Writing program.”

Chelsey Daisley, the seventh-grade teacher, uses the Traits Writing program in her language arts class.

“The students will be able to write at least nine papers throughout the year — three expository, three persuasive and three narratives. While writing these papers, they will be able to focus on one trait at a time — before submitting the completed composition with all traits in tact—so that they can become “experts” on each trait,” she stated.

Dr. Jill Dillon, the district superintendent said, “With the implementation of Traits Writing Curriculum, we will see horizontal and vertical consistency across the grade levels. Students will become effective writers and more confident writers.”

LITERACY ROOM UNDER CONSTRUCTION

This year, everyone has been hard at work getting the new literacy room ready for use.

“The literacy room is going to be amazing!” Daisley, the librarian said. “We are going to have new computers, a renewal of the Follett system so the kids can check out books again, new furniture and new programs for adults and kids.”

The new literacy room will have an area for younger students, older students, a computer area and a classroom area.

“The school is the hub of the community activities: therefore promoting literacy needs to be done from inside the school.” Dr. Dillon said. “Literacy partnerships will be formed by inviting families and organizations into the school to utilize the resources located in the Literacy room, which will include books, computer resources, technology, learning programs, and an informational center. Parent trainings will be offered to promote literacy and strengthen family/school partnerships.”

When the new room is finally ready, there will be evenings when the room will be open to the community to offer story hours and read alouds. The district is looking forward to the completion of literacy room.

PHOTO: The new Literacy Room at Harmony High School will be a place for the teachers, students and parents to unite and share in literary learning. (Nicole Elli/Harmony High School)

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