Front Row's writing practice gives teachers another way to differentiate work in English language arts. Teachers are able to assign leveled writing prompts to their students, giving them an opportunity to demonstrate a range of skills from utilizing grade level vocabulary and syntax to developing and organizing their ideas.These writing prompts correspond with Front Row's ELA articles and can be assigned with or without the comprehension questions. Each writing prompt covers 1 of the 3 big types of writing that students practice:
To assign writing prompts to your students, log on to your Teacher Dashboard and click "Assign ELA" on the left navigation bar.
From there, you will be taken to Front Row's library of ELA articles. Each article is offered at 5 different reading levels. Scroll up and down to browse through the various articles or use the filters to find articles that cover specific anchor skills or are within a particular genre. Every article in the library has both corresponding comprehension questions and a related writing prompt.
Let's say I want to assign the Martin Luther King, Jr. article to my class. By clicking on an article, you can preview both the questions and the writing prompt (at right) at each grade level at which the article is offered. As you click through the levels at the top, you will notice that the text, the questions, and the writing prompt change from level to level. This is because our leveling system depends on text complexity -- the lower the level, the less complex the text. Similarly, the less complex the text, the less difficult the questions and the simpler the writing prompt.
Note: Clicking "Assign" does NOT mean that you are assigning ALL students to read 1 selected level. The "Assign" button simply indicates that you would like to assign this article to some or all of your students. It will take you to the next page where you can see recommended reading levels for each student and modify them based on what you know about your students' individual abilities.
When have decided that you want to assign the article to your students, click the green "Assign" button at the top right of the screen. You will be taken to the assignment page. You will have a choice as to whether you want to assign the comprehension questions, the writing prompt, or both to your students. All students in your class will appear on the two-column list with a recommended reading and writing level assigned to each student as the default. Please note that students who have not completed the diagnostic will have a recommended level that is closest to the grade level entered on your roster.
When assigning comprehension questions or writing prompts, you as the teacher have the ability to change each student's assigned level should you feel he or she should read a more or less difficult version of the article. To do this, use the dropdown menu to select the level at which you would like the student to read the article. You can also decide to only assign the comprehension questions or the writing prompt by checking or unchecking the box next to each title. Below, I've unchecked the comprehension portion of the assignment. When I press assign, my students will only receive the article and the writing prompt to complete (not the comprehension questions).
Additionally, you can assign questions or writing to specific students as opposed to the whole class. If you do not want a student to be assigned the the questions or the writing prompt, choose "Don't Assign" from the dropdown menu next to his or her name.
Once you have the appropriate reading levels selected for each student, click the green "Assign" button at the bottom of the assignments page. All teachers have 5 article assignments per month. This means you can assign the comprehension questions and the writing prompt for one article together or at separate times. Even if you assign them at separate times, it counts as just one article assignment. School Edition users get unlimited access to ELA article assignments.
You will then be taken to the ELA Student Activity page (which can also be accessed by clicking on "Artcles" under ELA on the left navigation bar. Here, you will see a list of articles you assigned and the date you assigned them. You will also see whether you assigned comprehension questions, a writing prompt, or both (they are listed separately under "Type"), the levels at which you assigned the article, as well as your students' progress on completion. You will not see this information updated until students have completed the assignment. Refresh and return to this page as students complete the assignment.
It is important to know that while comprehension question assignments are graded immediately by the computer, writing assignments require teacher grading. Once at least one student has completed the writing assignment, you will see an orange "Grade" button appear next to the writing assignment. Click on that button to grade your students' work. To learn more about how to grade students' writing responses, click here.
You might set aside a specific time in your day for students to complete the writing assignment all together. Alternatively, you may assign a writing prompt to be completed over the course of the week, during choice time or centers, or as homework. Front Row's writing program allows all students to read an article at their level and thoughtfully respond to the text with a leveled writing prompt.