In a word . . . everything! People have been asking us via email to compare the first generation kits to the brand new 2010 edition and to do it in a nutshell. So here it is–just 10 quick points–and these changes are BIG–

  1. First, lots MORE lessons. More than 200 per kit. More than you’ll find in virtually any other 6-trait lesson set out there.
  2. Second, purpose and design. This isn’t just a random collection of lessons that have nothing in particular to do with one another. It’s coordinated. It’s a writing program. It’s designed to take students up a scaffold of understanding, with each lesson building on those before and laying groundwork for those to come. The end goal? Students who can prewrite, draft, revise, edit, and coach others independently.
  3. Third, FAR more emphasis on literature. The whole system is designed to link reading and writing in meaningful ways. From our new posters to step by step literature based lessons, we pay homage to the words of Don Graves: “Writing is the making of reading.”
  4. Fourth, remember when Conventions was the shunned cousin? The outcast? The trait nobody really wanted to teach (or hear about in workshops)? The trait everyone complained about but no one got round to? That’s OVER. Conventions & Presentation, the unified trait, is now sexy and alluring. It’s actually fun. It’s connected in meaningful ways to every other trait in the 6-trait galaxy. That means more lessons, but it also means that students can now see how Conventions & Presentation enhance ideas, organization, voice, and all the rest. Conventions do not exist in a vacuum. We USE them to make meaning clear and make voice sing. Students become editors and designers; they have a chance to really shape and reshape writing, not just follow rules.
  5. And fifth, speaking of Presentation, we had some real fun with this visual aspect of conventions. We explored it via everything from menus to dramatic scripts. This is all part of our way of encouraging students to be genre-adventurous: to find their voices through a myriad of writing styles and purposes. In these lessons, students see that the visual presentation of everything from book covers to business cards makes a difference in how the message is received.
  6. Sixth, look for more emphasis on informational writing–and a host of other genres. Life is a story, to be sure–but it’s also a documentary, a memoir, a persuasive argument, an advertisement, a playbill, and oh, so much more! Our new literary samples and student writing reflect this expanded horizon of writing possibilities.
  7. Seventh, ever wonder halfway through a lesson if there were just something MORE or something DIFFERENT you could be doing? How good would it be if you could have a chat with a writing coach? Teachers asked for this–and we built it in. Our new Coach’s Corner feature lets you feel as if you’re having a conversation with someone who has been in a classroom and actually taught these lessons to students.
  8. Eighth, want some creative ways to adapt lessons to meet students’ needs? Our Bringing Everyone Inside feature shows you how–with very simple suggestions.
  9. Ninth, motivation, motivation, motivation. A large part of motivation is about CHOICE. And choice is built right in, big time, to every single lesson. Students will choose topics and genres (with your guidance, of course). You won’t believe the difference this can make in voice. They will also work cooperatively, with partners and in writing circles. This expands discussion, allows for differing viewpoints, and jumpstarts creativity as students learn from and coach one another. Writing is more fun (and far less intimidating) with someone to guide you, coach you–and listen to the poems, songs, ads, scripts, and other pieces you write.
  10. Tenth, YOU play a central role–as big or small as you want. Lessons are designed to be followed or shaped to fit your instructional style. Everything is done for you–if you want. Or, you can choose to add your own literature, model writing for students, write with them, join writing circles, or participate in dozens of other ways we’ll suggest. This is perhaps the most stress-free approach to teaching writing on the planet.

If you want to know more, please check out the Write Traits Classroom Kits; see our website: