This afternoon my co-worker and I traveled to Memphis, TN to attend a workshop on the McGraw Hill Writing Roadmap program. During the meeting I was very apprehensive about it. Our District is making every school do this program, so I really don’t have a say in the matter. I do, however, have an opinion. The whole time in the meeting I was thinking My students write. They write everyday. It didn’t occur to me until an hour and a half into the presentation why we had to do this. No one at all mentioned why we had to implement the program until I asked how we were supposed to use this in our classrooms. We were told that each school would have to implement the program August 1, 2011 and that we all will use the assessment twice a year. Those two assessments would then be placed in the students’ portfolios. That doesn’t mean we only use the program twice a year because that would be a waste of money. The program is meant to guide students to practice writing. The sales lady kept saying that it was a tool to practice writing. She also kept saying that the students are writing with this program.I also kept thinking to myself my students write.
I can see why we HAVE to do this. Please note the next statement is my opinion. We have to do this because we have very few teachers in the district that actually use a writing workshop or writing project model in their classrooms. I just wished I was on that writing committee so I could have voiced my opinion. I feel that we need more teachers going to writing projects to learn best practices. We need more teachers that actually write with their students. We need more teachers who have a passion for writing – not those who despise it. We need more teachers who don’t just assign writing, but who put meaning into the writing lessons they teach.
The NWP website states:
Writing is essential to communication, learning, and citizenship. It is the currency of the new workplace and global economy. Writing helps us convey ideas, solve problems, and understand our changing world. Writing is a bridge to the future. (NWP.org)
Writing can and should be taught, not just assigned, at every grade level.
This statement hits home to me. I feel that this roadmap program will be a crutch for some teachers. They won’t actually teach writing. They will just assign the writing. It saddens me that this will happen, but I can do my part in my little classroom and teach writing. I will teaching writing to better my students and myself. I will use the program because I will have to, but I will find a way to implement it to the best of my advantage and my students’ advantages. I just hate how things have become in the education world.
Don’t get me wrong, the program does have it’s positives. To name a few:
- program uses AI to score papers on a rubric of a 4,5, or 6
- program has a tool that helps them place their essay parts correctly
- program has word processing tools to help students – this option can be taken off
- program can assign according to level of student
- program can be used at home – I wasn’t too keen on this idea
- students can edit and revise their paper multiple times before sending it to be scored
- program automatically gives feedback to students
- program allows teachers to come up with their own writing prompts
I will just have to see if this program is truly beneficial next year. At this time I am still apprehensive.