© Copyright 2017 Randi Whitney Consulting
Reaching students one teacher at a time!

The Writing Academy

Developed and written by Randi Whitney

The Writing Academy (TWA) is a comprehensive, brain- compatible writing process that serves kindergarten through the junior college level.  The Writing Academy was developed by a classroom teacher, Randi Whitney, to meet the needs of her students.  It addresses: Organization Lexicon (good word choice) Idea Development Voice Expected Conventions, and Sustained Focus. Randi Whitney continually updates The Writing Academy. It covers the four styles of writing (Narrative, How-to, Classificatory, and Persuasive), the research paper, the novel, and all of the technical components to make students’ writing successful (grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling).  At this time vertically-aligned comprehensive Curriculum Guides, which include lesson plans, are available for K - 8 grades. Through brain compatible exercises students learn to write interesting, organized, focused papers with well-developed ideas where their voice comes through to the reader.  An incredible emphasis is placed on making sure that the students feel the confidence to express their personalities in everything they write.  This process encourages individuality and creativity and enables your student writers to connect emotionally with their readers.  TWA offers a tremendous amount of activities that promote VOICE! The basis of The Writing Academy is one that is based on many years of brain research.  These concepts are implemented through the use of colors, small chunking, and graphic organizers.  In addition to the student graphic organizers, we have a day-by-day outline of what teachers can do to introduce and implement The Writing Academy.  Please visit our link "The 4-D Writer" to learn more about the effective use of graphic organizers. To further enhance the key concepts of writing (the writing process, distinguishing between various prompts, spelling, and composition organization) there are several games for students to play.  They can serve as re-teaching or enrichment exercises. To encourage students to be more discriminatory writers and readers, TWA also has a Student Editor Module.  In this module, there are actual student samples with accompanying activities. This program eliminates the guesswork, which commonly comes along with teaching and learning how to write.  It also lends itself to developing a solid and positive relationship between students and teachers.  Students are consistently getting feedback, and teachers are always able to be in tune with where students are in the writing process. The method of assessment is primarily via a rubric system.  Several styles of rubrics that are both analytical and holistic are available.  Each rubric is grade and age appropriate and is sent home to parents prior to the students doing any writing. Along with a copy of the grading rubrics, parents are provided with a letter of explanation for that particular style of writing.  Those parent letters are included in The Writing Academy grade level curriculum guides. 
There is also a module that explores “Everyday Writing.”  This module explains and then gives examples of how to be a successful writer in everyday life.  For example, students are provided with the knowledge about official letter writing, telephone message taking, check writing, and note taking, etc.  This module was designed to increase students’ confidence by making them aware of the appropriate writing techniques that are naturally required in all of our everyday lives. Throughout the entire Writing Academy experience, students’ self-esteems will flourish.  This will bring out the natural writing talents that all students possess in some form.  By providing a vertically aligned process where each grade builds on the one before, The Writing Academy is empowering teachers to change the way students view writing.  In fact, this process makes it possible for all students to thrive in the workplace because of their writing skills. The Writing Academy has the potential to create an entire writing curriculum for any school.  As a stair-step system, this curriculum could be implemented all the way from kindergarten to the junior college level.   At this time there are vertically aligned comprehensive curriculum guides, which includes lesson plans,  for K - 8 grades. After students have been exposed to the guideline sheets for an ample amount of time, they will be “weaned” away from the graphic organizers one at a time.  This is to ensure that they have had plenty of time to grow accustomed to the expectations at each grade level.  The students will have a firm foundation for any paper.  Students will virtually be able to “reproduce” the graphic organizers  in their heads, thus allowing them to always go through the correct writing process (brainstorming, prewriting, rough draft, revising, and final draft) as they create compositions.  This visual image that they gain from The Writing Academy will forever be a part of their memory.  It will help to organize everything they write for the rest of their lives. This is, after all, the main reason that we send our children to school.  We want them to grow up to be successful and happy adults.  One way to do this is to teach them applicable, real-life skills that they will need throughout their lives.  Writing is certainly one of those skills. Please take the time to read through The Writing Academy website.  I am sure that you will discover that The Writing Academy is a process that will take teaching and learning how to write to new, exciting, and attainable heights.