Designed by teachers and educators at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, the The 6+1 Trait® Writing Model of Instruction & Assessment organizes writing skills into 7 “traits” that provide a common language for writing instruction.
The traits are:
- Word Choice
- Sentence Fluency
Discussing writing in terms of these traits helps student see what 'good' writing looks like, as well as focus on specific actions they can take to improve their writing. Here are some ideas for using Wixie to support student writing with each of the 6+1 Trait® skills.
Ideas refers to the main message of a body of writing. Ideas are supported by details that are interesting, important, and informative. Strong use of ideas in writing means students “show” not “tell” their readers.
Wixie includes a folder of graphic organizing templates that can help students identify details their main ideas and determine the message they are trying to convey in their writing as well as brainstorm details that support their ideas and bring them to life. Graphic organizers like burger writing, main idea umbrellas, idea clusters, and 5W's can help them brainstorm these details and identify main idea.
You can use Wixie to assign specific organizers to your students to support their work with ideas during the writing process. As they grow in this skill, be sure to teach them how to open their own graphic organizer templates in Wixie from the Templates tab at the student Projects view. You can also empower them to develop their own idea organizers using the mapping images in Wixie's Library.
Organization refers to the structure of the writing where events proceed logically, information is given to keep reader interest, and the conclusion has a resolution to the problem. Again, you can assign or students can open graphic organizer templates, like sequences and plot diagrams, to organize their writing.
As students are developing their writing in Wixie, they can use the storyboard view to get an overview of how their story or information is organized, as well as rearrange the order of the pages.
Voice refers to the sense that a real person is talking to us and cares about the message. This is not about sharing the author’s personality, but imparting a tone and flavor in our writing that is directed at a specific audience for a specific purpose.
You might begin by having students first find and use their own voice through opinion, persuasive, or argument writing. For example, in this public service announcement it is obvious how the narrator feels and wants the audience to feel about protecting and saving the Florida panther.
When focusing on narrative writing, build this skill in Wixie through writing projects that ask students to take a first person perspective for their main character, whether they are writing original stories, personifications, or even retelling fables.
Interviews are a powerful, and fun, way to build voice into informational writing and helps students see how voice can make their writing more interesting. For example, students can use Wixie to create an interview with an animal or historic artifact.
Word choice refers to the vocabulary a writer uses to convey specific meaning and emotion. Precise vocabulary helps a reader better understand a writer’s intention. Colorful words and creative descriptions can also engage a reader.
Help students build their vocabulary through a range of texts, whether you are reading aloud to the class or they are reading independenly. This provides context for the use of the new terms and helps students make stronger connections to the meaning of these new words. Wixie projects that connect to these texts also give them an opportunity to use these new words in an authentic context.
You should also explicitly teach unfamiliar vocabulary that your students will encounter in their coursework. Wixie also includes Frayer Model vocabulary templates and even a Wanted poster template for vocabulary.
You can also ask individual students to create vocabulary trading cards in Wixie. Then, use Wixie's printing features to print multiple copies of each students trading card to a single sheet of paper. Then, cut them out and distribute, so that you end up with an entire class set of new vocabulary terms.
Human beings go from images to words, and students can also improve their word choices and vocabulary using visual learning strategies. Ask students to add words and labels to images you assign in Wixie or they find in the library. Having students look at an image and describe what they see will give them additional ideas for words that paint a picture in the mind of the reader.
Fluency refers to the rhythm and flow of the writing. Students can use Wixie's recording feature to read their text for an oral evaluation of its rhythm and cadence. While recording helps students build oral fluency, when they both record and listen to their reading, they can often more easily find problems with the flow of their writing and identify passages where they need to adjust punctuation, vocabulary, or word order.
Conventions refers to how mechanically correct the writing is. Conventions are divided into spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar/usage, and paragraphing. Wixie includes a spell check students can use to check the correctness of a text object or selection. You can also turn on inline spell check so that students can see misspelled words as they are writing.
Presentation refers to how the writing looks on the page. Is there enough white space? Is the text large enough to read? Do illustrations support the content?
Digital age writing is more than just a 5-paragraph essay. Writing in the real world today involves digital storytelling, infographics, comics, and much more. These products provide an opportunity to engage students in a range of authentic writing activities that require them to think about how their writing will be "read" and interpreted.
Using Wixie as a student writing tool helps you support students as they develop 6+1 traits in their writing and engages students in the writing process as they develop powerful digital age communication skills.