They studied the needs of students in the school district, the state GLEs, testing data, and scope and sequences of various Missouri schools. All of this information was used in adopting a curriculum arts scope and sequence for the district's students.
The teachers then began researching innovative lesson plans, activities and assessments to better meet the needs of the students. "It was a very intensive time," said teacher Trudy Britton, "but so rewarding and exciting at the same time."
Three new ideas came about from the collaborative efforts of the K-12 communication arts teachers. The first was the addition of a one-semester academic writing course to be added to the curriculum for all 11th graders prior to spring MAP testing.
The second idea the teachers adopted was a writing portfolio. This is to be a collection of each student's writing from kindergarten through their senior year. This will not be a collection of just their final papers but a collection of all working papers they had throughout the writing process.
These papers will be housed in hard-backed binders with grade divisions and their papers. Each new student to the Thayer district will be given a portfolio that will follow them throughout their Thayer writing experience. Upon graduating, each student will be presented with their writing portfolio with all their writing papers, K-12.
The writing portfolio idea was presented to the school last spring where the board voted unanimously to fund it. Wal-Mart also contributed $500 to help get this program off the ground.
"It is wonderful to teach in a district which actually listens to their teachers' ideas and then supports them wholeheartedly," said Karen Cotham, Thayer curriculum coordinator. "We also appreciate the strong support from Wal-Mart for educational endeavors in our community."
The third idea that was adopted was a new scope and sequence for communication arts writing, grades K-12. A scope and sequence lays out in writing the expectations for students throughout the school district in the various subject areas. The communications arts scope and sequence is as follows:
Thayer K-12 scope and sequence for writing
For every grade level in the Thayer R-II School District, students will publish at least one piece of writing per quarter (four papers in each school year).
The Thayer district will use the following definitions:
* Personal narrative relates a story or a personal essay (anecdote, autobiography, memoir)
* Expository writing presents facts, opinions, definitions s of terms and examples to inform the reader about a specific topic.
* Persuasive writing seeks to influence readers or listeners to agree with a perspective or perform an action, (editorials, advertisements, persuasive essays and letters, public service announcements, positions, reflections).
* Process writing is a division of expository writing. Also known as the "how to" paper.
* Research writing refers to researching, note taking, summarizing, quotations, compiling a bibliography, cover page, foot noting and use of MLA guidelines.
* Media refers to newspaper/magazine article, editorial, advertisement, political cartoon or news programming.