Activities for Improving Students' Writing

Based on Research by Robert J. Marzano, Debra J. Pickering, Jane E. Pollock, Rick Stiggins, Theodore R. Sizer, and Grant Wiggins


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          “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

     This quote has been attributed to Socrates and to Plutarch, but the actual source is unknown. Still it speaks to the question facing educators today. How do we kindle the flame?

     Research shows that the key to improving student achievement is to engage students in real problem-solving activities that they carry out to reach learning goals. They must understand the purpose of what they are learning and why they are learning it. They must work collaboratively and track their own individual progress (Marzano qtd. in Brown 2008). Based on a survey of thousands of comparisons between experimental and control groups across a variety of subject areas, Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock (2001) were able to identify nine categories of instructional strategies proven to improve student achievement. These strategies are powerful motivators for student writers.

Source: Brown, John L. Improving Student Achievement Using
Robert Marzano’s The Art and Science of Teaching (2007),
available at


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