Creating Writers: 6 Traits, Process, Workshop, and Literature / Edition 6

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Creating Writers: 6 Traits, Process, Workshop, and Literature, 6/e, truly puts the six traits of writing in context, showing how they are best taught—within writing workshop and as a way of enriching writing process by combining the elements of traits, literature, workshop, and process. Written by the pioneer of 6-trait writing, this edition organizes all materials by trait, features new one-page writing guides, and offers an increased emphasis on literature, connecting writing to reading as never before. It also provides a clear link between the six traits and the Common Core Standards for Writing and presents new lessons, engaging classroom activities, suggestions for using technology, and an expanded collection of student writing sure to promote lively discussions.

New to the Sixth Edition:

Easy-to-follow organizational design groups all papers, writing guides, literature, and lessons pertaining to a given trait in one chapter.

Expanded discussion of writing workshop and process (Chapter 2) shows how to teach the six writing traits within a meaningful context.

Increased emphasis on literature truly connects reading and writing with more titles, expanded annotations, and a list of exemplary trade books ideal for teaching informational writing.

New one-page writing guides simplify assessment, encourage self-evaluation, and display traits in a flexible yet consistent way across a variety of formats, including Teacher Writing Guides, Informational Writing Guides, Early Guides (for primary writers), and Leap-the-River Writing Guides for Students.

Improved collection of student writing samples includes over 80 exemplary samples that span a variety of grade levels, abilities, and genres (such as narrative, informational, and persuasive).

New lessons that emphasize modeling show teachers how and what to model (including many examples of revision).

Clear links between the six traits and the Common Core Standards for Writing provide teachers assurance that their instruction is in alignment with these standards.

An extensive discussion of technology (Chapter 8) expands our twenty-first century definition of writing to include communication forms like PowerPoint, audio, and video.

Revised chapter on quality assessment (Chapter 12) details ways to make both large-scale and classroom writing assessment more quality-driven, student-centered, and useful.

A closer look at genre (Chapter 9) examines Purpose and Audience, showing how and why genre might be considered an additional trait of successful writing.

Expanded interactive Questions & Activities expand teachers’ skills, stimulate their thinking, and build a strong sense of community when used in a study group or teacher preparation classroom.

New Author's Notes throughout the text speak directly to readers, citing additional resources, and suggesting lesson adaptations, book recommendations, and ways of differentiating instruction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The text itself is well-written, and in my opinion Spandel does not waste words. As I read through the book, I found myself hanging on to her every word.

- Jane Feber, Retired Language Arts Teacher, Jacksonville, FL

Spandel’s style is full of voice and verve. Her style is always clear and engaging. Her organization is superb, leading us through the 6 traits in a logical and thought-provoking fashion. She speaks directly to teachers with expertise we find believable. She gives us confidence to improve our craft.

This book is frequently helpful to me as a classroom teacher. Writing lessons in our classrooms look different every year, every day. Our lessons depend on the needs of our individual students. I am always looking to CW for new ways to help my kiddos become joyful writers. I so appreciate Spandel’s warm and inviting style–she speaks to me.

- Judy Mazur, 5th Grade Teacher, Buena Vista Elementary School, Walnut Creek, CA

Spandel provides more than just theory or just strategies; rather, she combines both theory and practice within a flexible framework that my candidates can use to approach writing instruction in a structured – but not prescribed – manner. Spandel’s approach helps my students see ways to synthesize literature, reading, and writing instruction in a meaningful fashion.

- Kristina J. Doubet, Professor, Department of Middle and Secondary Education, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132944106
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 10/22/2012
  • Series: Creating 6-Trait Revisers and Editors Series
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 211,216
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Vicki Spandel has worked as a language arts teacher, editor, journalist, technical writer, and award winning video producer. Since her work developing the original, internationally recognized 6-Trait Model for writing assessment and instruction, she has served as scoring director for more than 75 state, county, and district writing assessments. Vicki is a frequent visitor in writing classrooms, providing coaching on writing, revision, and editing. Her books include Creating Writers Through 6-Trait Writing and Creating Young Writers (Allyn & Bacon); The 9 Rights of Every Writer (Heinemann); and The Write Traits series (Great Source Education Group).

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with the Six Traits

Enter the traits . . .

Who invented the six traits?

A Quick Overview

Responding to Student Writing

What Teachers Value in Writing

Warming Up with the One-Pager

10 Tips for Scoring Well

Connecting the 6 Traits to Research-Based Strategies

Connecting the 6 Traits to the Common Core Standards for Writing

Some Closing Thoughts

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 2: Setting the Stage with Writing Process and Writing Workshop

Setting the Stage with Writing Process

Experience: The Well We Draw From

Rehearsing and Prewriting: Giving Shape to the Ideas We’ve Chosen

Drafting: Going from Beginning to End

Sharing with an Audience

Revising: Letting the Traits Shine

Editing: Making the Reader Feel “At Home” in Your Text

Publishing: Honoring and Preserving Writing

Assessing: for Students, the First Step in Revising

What about Genre?

Setting the Stage with Writing Workshop

What happens in writing workshop?

Following a Routine

On Day 1

Are some writers too young?

Ensuring Safety

Allotting Time

Two Myths

In Judy’s Third Grade Writing Workshop

The Atmosphere

Room Arrangement

Workshop Schedule



In Billie’s Seventh Grade Writing Workshop

Trait Aerobics

The Magic of Modeling

Backwards Planning

In Barbara’s Middle School Writing Workshop

Choosing Topics


Assessing Writing as a Class

Pick Your Corner!

Reviewing Individual Students’ Work

In Andrea’s Second-Language Classroom

Key Words

Learning Kinesthetically

Everyone Writes

Using Technology

In Jim’s High School Writing Class

Focus, Direction–and Language

Comparing Responses

Built-in Flexibility

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 3: Making Meaning with IDEAS

How do I begin?

Student Writing Guide for Ideas (Figure 3.2)

Teacher Writing Guide for Ideas (Figure 3.3)

Ideas: Meaning & Message

A Definition

Trait Shortie for Ideas (Figure 3.4)

Warming Up with Literature

Just a Taste (small samples)

Using a Whole Book

Other Books Wonderful for Teaching Ideas

Assessing Writing Samples for Ideas

Paper 1: Making Decisions (Expository, Grade 8)

Paper 2: The Best Gift (Memoir, Grade 6)

Paper 3: The Baseball (Narrative, Grade 5)

Paper 4: Metamorphosis (Narrative, Grade 9)

Paper 5: Going Veggie (Persuasive, Grade 4)

Paper 6: Writing Is Important (Expository, Grade 11)

Paper 7: Harder Than You Think (Expository, Grade 10)

Paper 8: Why Writing Matters (Expository, Grade 6)

Lessons and Strategies for Teaching IDEAS

Some Quick Trait Logistics 52

How long should I spend teaching a single trait?

Is it important to teach the traits in a particular order?

Should I teach every feature of every trait?

What happens once I finish teaching all the traits?

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 4: Showcasing the Message with ORGANIZATION

Organization: Structure and Design

A Definition

Student Writing Guide for Organization (Figure 4.1)

Teacher Writing Guide for Organization (Figure 4.2)

Trait Shortie for Organization (Figure 4.3)

Warming Up with Literature

Just a taste . . .

Using a whole book

Other Books with Interesting Organizational Structure

Assessing Writing Samples for Organization

Paper 1: Some Cartoons Are Violent! (Persuasive, Grade 3)

Paper 2: A Great Book (Literary Analysis, Grade 8)

Paper 3: Movies and Books: A Comparison (Expository, Grade 8)

Paper 4: Are Films Too Violent? (Persuasive, Grade 5)

Paper 5: How to Be a Good Driver (Expository, Grade 12)

Paper 6: Computing Batting Averages (Expository, Grade 6)

Paper 7: Cats or Dogs (Persuasive, Grade 6)

Paper 8: Sand Dollar (Narrative, Grade 8)

Lessons and Strategies for Teaching ORGANIZATION

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 5: Making the Heart Beat with VOICE

Voice: The Heartbeat

A Definition

What Is Voice? (Figure 5.1)

Student Writing Guide for Voice (Figure 5.2)

Teacher Writing Guide for Voice (Figure 5.3)

Trait Shortie for Voice (Figure 5.4)

Warming Up with Literature

Just a taste . . .

Using a whole book

Other Books with Striking (Read-aloud) Voice

Assessing Writing Samples for Voice

Paper 1: Why You Need a Job (Persuasive, Grade 9)

Paper 2: Zeena and the Marshmellows (Persuasive, Grade 5)

Paper 3: A Sunflower Seed (Expository/Reflective, Grade 5)

Paper 4: Fishing (Narrative/Expository, Grade 11)

Paper 5: You Whant to Be My Friend? (Expository, Grade 3)

Paper 6: Unscripted Television: Enjoy It While You Can (Persuasive, Middle School)

Paper 7: The Perfect Tree (Narrative/Memoir, Grade 7)

Lessons and Strategies for Teaching VOICE

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 6: Enhancing Meaning and Voice with WORD CHOICE

Word Choice: Phrasing and Terminology

A Definition

Student Writing Guide for Word Choice (Figure 6.1)

Teacher Writing Guide for Word Choice (Figure 6.2)

Trait Shortie for Word Choice (Figure 6.3)

Warming Up with Literature

Just a taste . . .

Using a whole book

Other Books Filled with Words and Expressions You’ll Remember

Assessing Writing Samples for Word Choice

Paper 1: Chad (Descriptive, Grade 3)

Paper 2: Pets Are Forever: An Investigative Report (Expository, Grade 8)

Paper 3: Fishing Lessons (Memoir, Grade 7)

Paper 4: Elephants (Expository, Grade 5)

Paper 5: A Strange Visitor (Narrative/Imaginative, Grade 5)

Paper 6: The Pirate Ship (Descriptive, Grade 5)

Paper 7: Kill Measure 34–Now! (Persuasive, Grade 8)

Lessons and Strategies for Teaching Word Choice

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 7: Enhancing Meaning and Voice with SENTENCE FLUENCY

Sentence Fluency: Rhythm & Readability

A Definition

Student Writing Guide for Sentence Fluency (Figure 7.1)

Teacher Writing Guide for Sentence Fluency (Figure 7.2)

Trait Shortie for Sentence Fluency (Figure 7.3)

Warming Up with Literature

Just a taste . . .

Using a whole book

Other Books Filled with Collectible Sentences

Assessing Writing Samples for Sentence Fluency

Paper 1: The Closet Monster (Imaginative Fantasy, Grade 3)

Paper 2: The Big Road (Narrative, Grade 7)

Paper 3: Xeriscaping (Persuasive, Grade 5)

Paper 4: The Ritual of Rocks and Sticks (Imaginative/Narrative, Grade 6)

Paper 5: Why I Write (Expository, Grade 7)

Paper 6: A Rescue (Narrative, Grade 4)

Paper 7: Marco Polo (Imaginative Journal (Grade 4)

Paper 8: Call Me When You Get There (Expository, Grade 8)

Lessons and Strategies for Teaching Sentence Fluency

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 8: Preparing to Publish with CONVENTIONS & PRESENTATION

Step 1: Editing (Textual Conventions)

Conventions? Isn’t that the easiest trait to assess?

Step 2: Packaging (Visual Conventions/Presentation)

How important is presentation in the overall score?

Going Beyond Print

Conventions & Presentation: Readiness for Publication

A Definition

Student Writing Guide for Conventions & Presentation (Figure 8.2)

Teacher Writing Guide for Conventions & Presentation (Figure 8.3)

Trait Shortie for Conventions & Presentation (Figure 8.4)

Warming Up with Literature

Books with Clever Conventions

Books with Arresting Presentation

Resource Books for You, Your Students or Both

Assessing Writing Samples for Conventions

6 Keys to Scoring Conventions Well

Paper 1: Haircut from Hell (Narrative/Imaginative, Grade 7)

Paper 2: Japan (Expository, Grade 3)

Paper 3: The Joke (Memoir, Grade 7)

Paper 4: Computer Blues (Narrative, Grade 12)

Considering Presentation

Poetry: “Rain and Ivy”

A Published Piece: Coco Writes

Original Art: Thandi

An Original Picture Book: A Great Journey

A Collage of Covers: Creating Writers

Lessons and Strategies for Teaching Conventions

A Message for Parents and Guardians

Strategies for Introducing and Teaching Presentation

Expanding Presentation through Technology

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 9: Going INFORMATIONAL

Trait by Trait: A Quick Review

Informational Writing

A Definition

One-Pager Informational Writing Guide for Teachers (9.1)

Informational Writing Guides for Students (9.2 through 9.7)

Assessing Informational Writing

Paper 1: Black Widows (Informational, Grade 3)

Paper 2: Gorillas (Informational (Grade 4)

Paper 3: Our History: Strange But True (Informational, Grade 5)

Paper 4: Mini Vampires (Informational, Grade 5)

Paper 5: Stars (Informational, Grade 5)

Paper 6: The Middle Ages (Informational, Grade 7)

Paper 7: Life in the Middle Ages (Informational, Grade 7)

Paper 8: Humboldt Penguins (Informational, Grade 9)

Paper 9: Method Acting (Informational, Grade 12)

9 Strategies for Helping Students Create Powerful Informational Writing

Informational Favorites (A Booklist)

Persuasive Writing and Thoughts About “Trait Eight”

4 Simple Steps to Your Own Persuasive Checklist

Paper 11: Driving Tests Should Be Harder (Persuasive, Grade 7)

Paper 12: Smoking Stinks! (Persuasive, Grade 5)

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 10: Exploring the World of BEGINNING WRITERS

Focusing on Strengths

Bat and Spider (Age 4)

Mike’s Note (Age 5)

Taking a Close Look at Primary Writing

What to Look for in Primary Writing (Figure 10.1)

Early Guides to Traits (Figure 10.2)

Sample Papers

“Clouds” by Nicole (Grade 1)

“Sam Is My Friend” by Kean (Grade 1)

“My Favorite Brother Is Nick” by Lincoln (Grade 1)

“I Like My Library” by Nicholas (Grade 1)

“CatDog Shopping” by Jocelyn (Grade 1)

Mason’s First Book (K)

“Old” by Megan (Grade 3)

“Dear Tooth Fairy” by Leah (Grade 2)

“Jamey the Cat” by Veronica (Grade 2)

“Pyramid” by Brad (Grade 2)

Three Short Pieces by Andrew (K)

“Love” by Kaden (Grade 1)

“My Friend” by Jane (Grade 1)

“Spiderman” by Wyatt (Grade 1)

“My Winter Vacation” by Connor (Grade 2)

“Guess Why I Like School” by Hollie (Grade 1)

Using the 6 Traits to Teach Primary Writing

Primary Books for Teaching Ideas

Primary Books for Teaching Organization

Primary Books for Teaching Voice

Primary Books for Teaching Word Choice

Primary Books for Teaching Sentence Fluency

Primary Books for Teaching Conventions & Presentation

Assessing Young Writers

Assessment Step 1: Looking Carefully at Student Writing

Assessment Step 2: Observing Young Writers Carefully

Assessment Step 3: Asking Children to Talk about Their Process

Assessment Step 4: Keeping Portfolios

Assessment Step 5: Using Age-Appropriate Tools for Assessment

Avoid Scales Intended for Older Writers

Early Guides to Traits (Assessing Examples)

Primary Continuums (Figure 10.17)

Closing Thoughts

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 11: COMMUNICATING about Students’ Writing

But . . . we meant well!

Encouraging Comments + Modeling = Path to Success

Offer Suggestions through Modeling

Comments plus Rubrics

Quick Practice

“Waters of Death” (Figure 11.2)

“The Bathroom” (Figure 11.3)


A good conference begins with listening

. . . is also short

. . . puts the writer in control

. . . is flexible

Sharing: Connecting with an Audience

10 Things You Can Do

1. Help students develop good listening skills

2. Think about logistics.

3. Define roles clearly

4. Model what not to do.

5. Write notes.

6. Encourage responders to “begin with I.”

7. Participate.

8. Don’t apologize–and don’t over-react.

9. Make it real–by sharing what you picture, how you feel.

10. Keep it snappy.


Communicating with Parents or Guardians

Comments on Student Writing

“Waters of Death” (Figure 11.2)

“The Bathroom” (Figure 11.3)

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Chapter 12: ASSESSING Our Students Well

Making Large-Scale Writing Assessment All It Can Be

Step 1: Have a clear purpose.

Step 2: Design an Assessment to match our vision of success.

Step 3: Match the assessment approach to the task.

Step 4: Design rubrics or writing guides with care.

Step 5: Be thoughtful about prompts.

Step 6: Abolish forever the dreaded “off-topic” label.

Step 7: Become truly skilled assessors.

Step 8: Teach on-demand writing as a genre unto itself.

Step 9: Minimize bias.

Step 10: Consider multiple samples.

Step 11: Ensure that assessments are reliable and valid.

Step 12: Make writing a priority.

Making Classroom Writing Assessment All It Can Be

Step 1: Define our personal vision of success.

Step 2: Let the writing tell its own story.

Step 3: Think process–not just product.

Step 4: Assess some pieces deeply–to see what students can do.

Step 5: Provide both formative and summative assessment.

Step 6: Assess what matters–not what’s obvious.

Step 7: Teach students to evaluate their own work.

Step 8: Make personal comments a major part of any feedback.

Step 9: Be flexible about genre and format.

Step 10: Encourage students to develop “habits of mind” essential for success.


What Grades Mean to Students

How and What to Grade

Grading as a Control Issue

Translating Analytical Scores into Grades

Final Thoughts

Study Group: Interactive Questions and Activities

Looking Forward: Expanding the Vision


Appendix 1 Brief History of the Traits

Appendix 2 Teacher Three-Level Writing Guide (Adaptable to 5- or 6-Point)

Appendix 3 Student Three-Level Writing Guide (Adaptable to 5- or 6-Point)

Appendix 4 Student “Leap the River” Writing Guide in Spanish

Appendix 5 Student Checklist in Spanish

Appendix 6 Requirements by Genre: Common Core Standards for Writing

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