Choose your own (writing) adventure: Project Score

Choose your own (writing) adventure: Project Score

By the OER Project Team

Do your students need more scaffolded and deliberate practice with writing? Have you been trying different strategies but haven’t had as much success as you’d like? Introducing Project Score. Project Score is our brand new OER Project writing extension that can be used to support social studies writing instruction in all kinds of classrooms. And better yet, Project Score uses Score, our (free!) automated essay-scoring platform that provides students with feedback as they write.

Project Score was designed for any (yes, any!) social studies classroom and aims to serve sixth- through twelfth-grade students. It provides a set of writing activities that have a “choose your own adventure” feel, allowing you to make instructional choices based on where your students could use extra writing support.

As you know, writing is a skill that requires extensive practice, and it’s one that continues to grow over a lifetime. Good writing is not the result of one great lesson or one great unit—it’s a habit that needs to be practiced continually throughout the school year and beyond. As we’ve shown in the past with our other OER Project courses (Big History Project and World History Project), students can make a lot of progress in a single school year. This is achieved by the work teachers do to establish routines and practices around writing and by providing students with tools that can help them with all types of writing and classes—not just social studies. Project Score helps you do just that.

Project Score is a set of activities that provide specific rubric-based strategies to address particular aspects of writing. In addition to the rubric-based strategies, you and your students are given access to Score, OER Project’s free, automated essay-scoring platform that uses the Score Writing Rubric to evaluate student work. The Project Score activities have been designed to work seamlessly with the Score platform and can be easily incorporated into anyone’s classroom instruction.

Project Score is divided into four sections on the OER Project site: Warm-Up Activities, Revision Activities, Prompt Library, and Submission to/Use of the Score Platform. In each section, you’ll make some instructional decisions, based on your classes’ context and needs. As part of the warm-up and revision activities, you choose to address an area of writing with your students: Claim and Focus, Analysis and Evidence, or Organization. Each area has an associated tool that students can use to help them with both writing and revision. The cool part is you can repeat the sections (warm up, revise, submit) with as many Score essay prompts as you choose, giving students an opportunity to practice and improve. There are currently 12 document-based essays in the Prompt Library, and we plan to add more!

Some of you may be wondering, “But what if I already teach an OER Project course?” No need to wonder—the answer is “Great!” You can still use the Project Score extension activities, but you should continue to assign Score prompts through your existing BHP or WHP classes. Moving forward, we plan to update BHP and WHP to include these new writing tools so they are embedded within each course. In the meantime, please share this extension with your social studies teaching friends!! This is a great opportunity for colleagues to try a taste of OER Project. And as always, please let us know if you have questions or suggestions for improvement. Happy writing!

Cover image: Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies (La Cité des Dames), c. 1405. British Library, public domain.

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