A Class Act – Fifth Grade Writers Collaborating with a Nonfiction Author

School: Steeple Run Elementary School
Number of Students: 120
Amount: 2500

An integrative writing experience utilizing videoconferencing with a nonfiction author collaborating with teachers and students to develop a sense of excitement, joy and confidence in writing. This involvement can lead students to be self-directed, lifelong writers and readers of nonfiction text.

  • Grant Info

    Grant Title: A Class Act - Fifth Grade Writers Collaborating with a Nonfiction Author
    Submitted By: Pam Cerchio
    Co-Writers: Madelynn Roy
    School Name: Steeple Run Elementary School
    School Address: 6S151 Steeple Run Drive
    Principal Name: Josh Louis
    Other Grants Awarded: 1) “Listen up! Tune in to Listening” -Steeple Run MP3 grant 2008-2009 2) June 2012 Literacy Symposium 3) Coaching to Connect Children and Complex Texts with Common Core Curriculum (2012)
    Other Grants Applied For This Year: none
    Number of Students: 120
    Grade Level: 5th
    Dollar Amount Requested: 2500
  • Score

    Applicants Beliefs About Literacy: Program name: Class ACTS - Authors Collaborating with Teachers and Students According to the website nonfictionminute.org, it states “...by working with authors, you and your students begin to practice the process.” A book that fits into our curricular needs is When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Together, with Hinshaw Patent, we will create learning intentions using the book as a mentor text. According to the website, “The writer's goals with the book include presenting an excellent example of ‘everything is connected.’ It also shows how important a top predator is to the ecosystem, illustrating what happens over time when humans interfere with a natural system. I.e., if a key species is removed, there's a domino effect that changes the relationships of animals and plants in the ecosystem. If the species is returned, the system can heal itself over time.” Another goal is to present wolves as wild creatures with an important role in the ecosystem. Wolves are not good or evil, just a species with a place in the scheme of things. In that process, the author is careful to use words that are not laden with subtext, just words describing appearance and behavior. Furthermore, we will explicitly plan how to use the text with our students based on our specific needs. “The book becomes a mentor text, an inspiration for classroom projects, and a shared experience in learning something new about the real world,” according to the website’s program description. Our students will meet the author through videoconferencing to ask questions and to share their own work inspired by Hinshaw Patent. The Class ACTS program will be tailored to our curriculum and our students’ needs as the lesson planning sessions will be driven by our district’s writing standards and determined in conjunction with the author and ourselves. Standards that can be addressed specifically in this grant are: W.5.4 Produces clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. W.5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. W.5.9 Draws evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research. L.5.2 Demonstrates command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. RI.5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text. RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. Finally, the website boasts, “Class ACTS are unique programs that provide highly individualized professional development for teachers and motivation and inspiration for students...”
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  • How does this grant promote the development of literacy for learners?0
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  • Does this grant provide professional development opportunities for educators (resources for programs and staff development)?
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  • Please clarify your personal belief system about literacy and learning that is reflected in your practice?Our evaluation of this collaboration, will include student written pre-assessment research based argument pieces. After collaborating with the author, we will use the students’ final written products as a post-assessment. Furthermore, we will gather information by using a pre- and post- Google Forms survey focusing on student reflections of the writing process, on their work and about their attitudes about writing. This data will give us valuable insight as to the impact of this project.
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  • Does this grant develop a deeper understanding of the reading and/or writing processes?
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  • How does this grant lay the foundation for creating life-long readers, writers, and learners?
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  • Does this grant provide opportunities that link literacy at home and school?
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  • Assessment PlanThe price of the Class ACTS program is $2500 which includes two classroom sets of books, two to three hours of face-to-face video time with an author over a predetermined period of time. Also included at this price is written interaction between the author and teachers and students.
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  • Itemized & Detailed BudgetIt is our obligation as literacy teachers to instruct reading and writing so that all students become more independent. Our values and beliefs about literacy are aligned with John Hattie’s Visible Learning philosophy and research. According to Hattie, “Visible Learning means an enhanced role for teachers as they become evaluators of their own teaching. Visible Teaching and Learning occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.” Hattie’s research stems from a meta-analyses of 80,000 studies into what works best in education. He compiled a list of 250+ influences on student achievement. Our grant proposal integrates several of the identified influences: Interactive Video Methods (.54 effect size); Goals - emphasizing learning intentions (.68 effect size). (An effect size of .40 or greater is considered to have the potential to accelerate student achievement.) Collective Teacher Efficacy, Hattie’s number one influence on student achievement is “the collective belief of teachers in their ability to positively affect students. With an effect size of d=1.57 Collective Teacher Efficacy is strongly correlated with student achievement.” Collaborating with an author will help us, as professionals, to hone our personal skill set as we learn about nonfiction writing alongside our students. We believe all children have a right to be literate. We believe in demonstrating, coaching and scaffolding learning to help students become self-directed, confident, joyful writers and readers of nonfiction text.
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