Designed by teachers and educators at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, the 6+1 Trait® Writing Model of Instruction & Assessment organizes writing skills into seven “traits” that provide a common language for writing instruction.
The traits are:
- Word Choice
- Sentence Fluency
Using these traits can help students see techniques of great writing, as well as take action to build specific skills that improve their writing.
Here are ways you can use Wixie to help students practice and support skills building for each of the traits.
The Ideas trait refers to a combination of a strong main message with supporting details that are interesting, important, and informative. Strong use of ideas in writing means students are able to “show” and not just “tell” their readers.
Wixie includes a folder of graphic organizer templates that can help students both identify the main idea they are trying to convey as well as brainstorm details that support this main idea and bring it to life. Graphic organizers like clusters, burger writing, and the 5 W's can help students brainstorm details and see how they connect to and support their main idea.
Wixie makes it easy to assign specific graphic organizer templates so students can immediately begin working on developing their ideas. As they grow in their pre-writing skills, be sure to empower students to open and create their own graphic organizers from the Templates folder at their Wixie home page.
Organization refers to the structure of writing. Use graphic organizer templates, such as a plot diagram or sequence, to help students develop writing where events proceed logically, information is given to keep reader interest, and the conclusion has a resolution to the problem.
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 being conveyed in the writing. 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, the reader can obviously hear 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 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.
Word choice refers to the vocabulary a writer uses to convey specific meaning and emotion. Students need to learn to use precise vocabulary and colorful and vivid descriptions to help readers understand their intention.
Wixie includes Frayer-model vocabulary templates and even a Wanted poster template you can use for explicit vocabulary instruction. Students can combine text, images and voice narration in Wixie to define terms, visually demonstrate meaning, identify synonyms and antonyms, and more.
If your students get overwhelmed by the quantity of new words they encounter, ask each student to use Wixie to create a vocabulary trading card for a single term. After students complete a template you have assigned, they can print their work as trading cards, cut them out, and trade them with classmates for a complete set of new vocabulary.
Fluency refers to the rhythm and flow of the writing. Students can use Wixie's recording feature to read their writing and hear the resulting rhythm and cadence. In addition to developing better oral fluency, having students record and listen to their own writing tends to help them identify problems with their punctuation, vocabulary and word order.
Conventions refers to how mechanically correct the spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar/usage, and paragraphing are in a writing passage. Students can use the spell check feature in Wixie to check their writing on a page or in a project. You can also turn on an inline spell check in your teacher settings so that students in your class will see misspelled words as they are writing.
Presentation refers to how writing looks on the page. Is there enough white space? Is the text large enough to read? Do illustrations support the content?
Writing in our digital age is no longer text only and can involve 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.