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Collins Writing Program

Overview of the Collins Writing Program

The Collins Writing Program is a district-wide initiative to promote writing across the curriculum using a common format. The widespread use of the Collins Writing Program allows students to write for a variety of purposes with both short and long-term time limits, and gives them a common framework around which to demonstrate their content understanding and improve their communication skills.

The basics of the Collins Writing Program works like this:

There are FIVE types of writing promoted in the Collins Program, and each type has a specific purpose.

TYPE ONE writing is a brief, timed response. It can be used for brainstorming or as a check for understanding. It is either marked as "completed" (with a check) or "not completed" (with a minus). The answer doesn't necessarily have to be correct in a Type One writing activity.

TYPE TWO writing is a check for accurate understanding. It's like a quiz, and the answers will be marked accordingly. You might, for example, use a Type One at the beginning of a lesson to check for background knowledge, but then use a Type Two at the end of a lesson to check to see whether students have learned the appropriate lesson content.

TYPE THREE writing is longer-form writing that will be revised and evaluated according to specified Focus Correction Areas (FCAs). The FCAs allow the student to focus on improving specific writing skills or content knowledge to meet the requirements of the assignment, without worrying as much about other aspects of writing that may be difficult to master. But don't worry, because you can always target those other aspects of writing with another assignment or a revision of this one, to let the student focus on just a few things at a time.

TYPE FOUR writing is at least two drafts of a piece of writing that has been read and critiqued by a peer. Type Four writing is often an edited version of a Type Three draft, possibly with the inclusion of new FCAs as appropriate.

TYPE FIVE writing is publishable quality work, produced via multiple drafts by the writer. With Type Five writing, everything counts! Because the Collins Writing Program emphasizes the process of writing and targeted improvement instead of just worrying about the final product, most teachers will assign only one or two Type Five pieces of writing in an entire year, while the other types will be far more common.

A guideline for effective implementation of the Collins Writing Program: Type Ones and Twos should be used multiple times per week, every week. Type Threes should be used monthly. Type fours would be appropriate once or twice per quarter. And Type Fives once or twice a year.

Contact your principal or instructional leader for more information about building-level expectations and further training opportunities.