This summer, DK English School Online students are crafting persuasive arguments! Students are writing letters to President Biden about social justice topics that matter to them and other children, including bullying in schools and access to technology.
The writing program was adapted from Dr. Maria Brisk’s systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and genre theory pedagogy and is aligned with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts (see CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3 and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4 for grade three and four writing standards). Students are learning genre language standards and the components of an argument – thesis, reasoning, evidence, and conclusion – by deconstructing mentor texts such as I Wanna Iguana. Students are also learning to use “graphic organizers” to brainstorm and organize their ideas and the flow of their arguments.
Each 55-minute lesson balances rigorous content with creative activities and games to engage students and to make learning enjoyable. Teachers utilize appropriate scaffolding to enhance students’ writing skills and to support students’ confidence in their writing skills.
DK English School teachers received extensive professional development on SFL and genre theory pedagogy from school director and Boston College professor Dr. Deoksoon Kim and Boston College PhD candidate So Lim Kim. Professional development occurs weekly to ensure that teachers have the most highly effective tools and strategies to support students.
DK English School teachers and the leadership team are excited to see students’ writing development during the summer. Pre- and post-test results will be shared with educators at each student’s school and the district office. These results will be used to continuously refine the DK English School writing program to better address students’ emergent needs.
By Katrina Borowiec
August 10, 2021