Norris Elementary teacher Bollinger co-authors national publication on effective writing instruction

Norris Elementary teacher Bollinger co-authors national publication on effective writing instruction

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Norris has amassed a steady history of outstanding academic achievement that is a reflection of focused instructional expertise and dedicated student learners.  Writing is one area where the Norris schools have sustained tremendous results, and one of the lead teachers in providing outstanding writing instruction recently served on a national panel to provide expert input for schools across the country looking to improve student writing.  Congratulations to Alisha Bollinger on her achievement and participation on this esteemed panel of experts.

The Spring, 2012 Nebraska State Accountability test in Writing identified a whopping 96% of Norris fourth graders as meeting or exceeding the state standard and only 4% as falling below.  The statewide averages, by comparison, saw twice the percentage of students (8%) fall below the acceptable threshold for “meeting” the state standard.   Fourth grade teacher Mrs. Bollinger and her colleagues are primary reasons for this successful standing achieved by our Norris students.

Norris Elementary teacher Alisha Bollinger earned national recognition recently as one of the authors of a new federal Department of Education – sponsored “What Works” clearinghouse publication on student writing.  Bollinger was one of a prestigious panel of seven practitioners and researchers who have expertise in writing instruction and were selected to lead the project.  Other project participants included Steve Graham, Ph.D., a Professor at Arizona State University; Carol Booth Olson, Ph.D., is an associate professor director of the UCI site of the National Writing Project; Catherine D’Aoust is the coordinator of English language arts, K–12, in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District in Mission Viejo, California; Charles MacArthur, Ph.D.,is a professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware; Deborah McCutchen, Ph.D.,is a professor of education at the University of Washington; Natalie Olinghouse, Ph.D.,is a research scientist in the Center for Behavioral Education and Research at the University of Connecticut.

The recommendations from Bollinger and her colleagues’ “What Works” in teaching elementary school students to be better writers guide?  [Helpful hint: parents can put most of these in play at home as well!]

  • Provide daily time for students to write. 
  • Teach students to use the writing process for a variety of purposes. 
  • Teach students to become fluent with handwriting, spelling, sentence construction, typing, and word processing. 
  • Create an engaged community of writers. 

The guide’s recommendations are anchored in the educational research surrounding student writing instruction and include steps for schools to take in order to accomplish these important building blocks for successful student writing as well as advice on overcoming obstacles to deploying these strategies to develop young writers. The guide will be available internationally to educators later this month both online and in print editions.

Bollinger said she drew upon her practical pedagogical experience at Norris and elsewhere in providing the recommendations which came to fruition in this best-practices guide.