One of the great things about adopting the Seven Steps and BrightPath is you don’t have to get rid of things that are already working well in your classroom. If you are doing great things, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! Instead, build on the foundations you have already laid to create something even better by adding the Seven Steps techniques to your repertoire.
[Wait! What are the Seven Steps?]
We spoke to a couple of schools who are doing just that with great results. Grange Primary School and St Stephen’s School are both using the Seven Steps alongside the BrightPath assessment resource to improve student writing data.
Grange Primary School
St Stephen’s School
‘[We] needed an approach that could better address the descriptors and teaching points in BrightPath’ – Chris Roddy-Clark, Coordinator of Learning Enrichment
Grange Primary School
Grange Primary School has been using BrightPath for three years. According to Carmen Fiedler, the Literacy Coordinator, ‘after analysing our writing data using BrightPath, it became clear that our writers were very strong in writing conventions, however they were lacking skills in authorial craft.’ To address this issue, they decided to adopt the Seven Steps two years ago.
Since introducing the Seven Steps, Fiedler has seen a great improvement in students’ writing. Step 2: Sizzling Starts, in particular, has been a huge hit and this is evident in the assessment pieces. In persuasive writing, students have abandoned the standard ‘firstly, secondly, thirdly…’ approach in favour of more persuasive techniques such as Show, Don’t Tell and the Rule of Three.
BrightPath has helped Grange Primary quantify these improvements; according to Fiedler, student results started to significantly improve after using the two programs together for just two terms.
[Related – Grange PS Dominates Local Writing Competition]
St Stephen’s School
St Stephen’s, a West Australian co-educational school with over 2,000 students, have been using BrightPath for a few years, but have only just introduced Seven Steps in 2018.
BrightPath had been working well as an assessment tool, but according to Chris Roddy-Clark, Coordinator of Learning Enrichment, they ‘needed an approach that could guide the writing to better address the descriptors and teaching points in BrightPath’.
Since introducing the Seven Steps, St Stephen’s has seen pleasing improvements: reluctant writers are generating ideas and writing while teachers who are using the two programs have become enthusiastic about teaching writing.
A framework for assessing
The key difference they have noticed since introducing the Seven Steps is that teachers not only have a better understanding of how to teach writing, they also have a better understanding of how to score students’ work more accurately and address any areas of weakness highlighted by the BrightPath assessments.
Grange Primary also mentioned that since using Seven Steps alongside BrightPath, ‘pieces [they] would have once graded highly, were being studied more carefully by individual teachers and across year level teams.
‘What’s more, because teachers are so enthusiastic about Seven Steps, student engagement in writing lessons has increased and even the most reluctant writers are participating.
This is also the case at Grange Primary where ‘the students who have been using the Seven Steps are very enthusiastic about writing and can talk extensively about their craft,’ says Fiedler.
Both schools are very excited about their progress using the Seven Steps and BrightPath in tandem. They are at the start of their journey, but they have already seen some great improvements.
The Next Step
If you are using BrightPath and need an engaging and effective approach to address improvement areas highlighted by analysing your writing data, join us at a Seven Steps Workshop or arrange for your whole school to be trained in the Seven Steps and discover the techniques to transform your writing classrooms.
Alternatively, if you are a Seven Steps user and you are interested in finding out more about how BrightPath works, go to https://www.brightpath.com.au.
Watch out for our forthcoming blogs on how the Seven Steps complements other writing programs.
Are you using the Seven Steps and BrightPath? Share your experience through firstname.lastname@example.org