These teaching strategies support improved student writing in the context of the Science key learning area.
Welcome to Stage 6 Literacy in context – Writing. If you have come directly to this page please take the time to watch our introductory video.
These Stage 6 resources have been created to enable teachers to use the content they are working with in class, to improve their students' writing. The activities sequentially build students’ writing skills and are aligned with Stage 6 syllabus outcomes (PDF 91 KB).
Biology has been used to provide examples of the completed activities. Science teachers should model from these examples and create examples for their subject and their students to work with.
Teachers can use the Know your students (DOCX 76 KB) document to understand their students’ strengths and areas for growth in writing. Teachers can populate this document individually, or as a faculty, or as a Year or Stage group.
Teachers could register the use of these resources as teacher identified professional development (TIPD).
Further information on Literacy in Science can be found in General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum: Science (PDF 483 KB).
Ideas for further professional learning in literacy and numeracy can be found on the Literacy and Numeracy Professional Learning page.
Opportunities to write
The video below describes ways to include regular writing opportunities for your students.
Writing is an essential skill for success in school and life. Students benefit from having many opportunities to write.
According to Hochman and Wexler in 2017 “No matter what path students choose in life, the ability to communicate their thoughts in writing in a way that others can easily understand is crucial”.
Effective communication lies at the heart of Stage 6 and the Higher School Certificate. As educators we know that writing is an essential component of communication.
In order to maximise student outcomes in Stage 6 and in the Higher School Certificate students need to be able to write clearly and with purpose in order to effectively express their understanding of the curriculum.
Effective writing doesn’t just happen it needs to be explicitly taught by capable and confident teachers. In addition to this, effective writing requires deliberate practise. Planning, drafting, revising, editing, publishing are all crucial steps in writing.
In your classroom you could consider the following when you provide opportunities to write:
- provide regular opportunities for students to write
- allow students to choose what to write about
- provide opportunities for students to write for real people and for relevant or real-life purposes
- regularly model the writing process and explicitly teach writing
- provide students with opportunities to build content knowledge before writing
- analyse exemplar texts with the students
- provide opportunities for students to learn new vocabulary each week
- provide scaffolds for planning to write, for example, graphic organisers
- and provide timely, specific and meaningful feedback.
The Stage 6 Literacy in context, writing resources explicitly teach skills for writing in the context of your subject and provide opportunities for students to engage with writing in a regular, sustained and explicit manner.
Download the Science activities
The following activities appear as a sequence with one set of activities informing the next. To support students in effectively using the specific terminology for their subject the activities begin with vocabulary teaching and learning. Next, the planning for writing section supports students to engage in analysing exemplars and practising their own writing. In this section they also 'build the field' and prepare for a writing task. Once students have practised the vocabulary, have analysed exemplars, and have built their knowledge they move to the third set of activities and engage with writing a response. Teachers and students then provide feedback to inform where to next for their literacy teaching and learning.
Planning for writing
Student writing and feedback
Where to next?
Please complete the feedback survey at the bottom of the Stage 6 Literacy in context – Writing page.
For further support:
- Literacy and numeracy professional learning
- talk to colleagues about the ideas presented in this resource
- form a network of subject teachers or head teachers with nearby schools
- contact a Literacy and Numeracy Strategy Advisor (LaNSA) for support
- complete further reading using the references provided below
- Research underpinning Stage 6 Literacy in context – Writing resources (PDF 157 KB) reflects the research that was used to inform the selection of literacy activities and the overall sequencing of the resources.
- Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). Writing Next. Effective Strategies to improve writing of adolescents in middle and high schools. A Report To Carnegie Corporation Of New York.
- Hochman, J., & MacDermott-Duffy, B. (2015). Effective Writing Instruction; Time for a Revolution. Perspectives On Language And Literacy, 41(2).
- Hochman, J., & Wexler, N. (2017). One sentence at a time. The need for explicit instruction in teaching students to write well. American Educator, Summer, 30-43.
- Hochman, J., & Wexler, N. (2017). The Writing Revolution. Jossey-Bass.
- Quigley, A. (2018). A teacher's hunt for evidence on closing the vocabulary gap. The Times Educational Supplement.
- Sharratt, L. (2018). CLARITY. Published: 14th December 2018 ISBN: 9781506358727 CORWIN Press INC.
- Improving adult literacy instruction. Developing reading and writing. (2012). National Academies Press.