Maine educators convene to learn effective writing practices

Effective writing requires not only knowledge of writing modes and mechanics, but also strong understanding of content. Last month, 175 educators from across the state assembled at Thomas College to learn about the Vermont Writing Collaborative’s method of building deep content understanding through effective writing practices.

Educators were taught the importance of teaching structures for inquiry and developing consistent habits from experienced teachers Joey Hawkins and Jane Miller. Hawkins and Miller are founding members of the Vermont Writing Collaborative, publishers of the book Writing for Understanding: Using Backward Design to Help All Students Write Effectively.  Each attendee received a copy of the book and used materials from the companion project In Common: Effective Writing for All Students. In Common provides annotated exemplars of student writing which demonstrate grade level writing of argument/opinion writing, informative/explanatory writing and narrative writing and can be found at

To learn more about the Writing for Understanding approach, see the August 2014 edition of Literacy Links on the Department’s English Language Arts web page or contact Maine DOE Literacy Specialist Lee Anne Larsen at or 624-6628.

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