NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Writing Across the Curriculum: Innovative Strategies that Work

EDUC 600

Discover the "Six Traits", methods of writing and learn the definitions and characteristics of each trait. Collaborate with your peers in this course to create resource lists of picture books that highlight each of the traits and conduct a mini unit lesson using at least one book from each list..

Upper elementary (3-5), middle, and high school teachers will encourage their students to focus on particular traits during writing assignments and begin to assess the student’s writing through these six traits specifically intended to result in higher student achievement. Lower elementary teachers (K-2) will focus on vocabulary development and understanding of the traits.


As a result of participation in this course, participants should:

  1. Understand the benefits that teaching the Six Traits will bring to students’ writing – helping students to identify and use key concepts that are necessary to good writing leading to higher student achievement.
  2. Know the definitions and differences in the traits and how the six come together so as to be able to instruct students in their use.
  3. Understand how to improve students’ understanding of literature through the use of the Six Traits by identifying an author’s intentional use of ideas, voice, conventions, organization, sentence fluency, and word choice to convey their story.
  4. Know how to aid students’ in writing an idea, in their own voice, that is easily understood by their intended audience because of its organization, fluency, word choice, and use of conventions.
  5. Know where to find resources to aid in the teaching of the traits.
  6. Have an opportunity to collaborate on the development of Six Traits in their classrooms.
  7. Understand how to implement lessons within their classrooms using the Six Traits.
  8. Know how to integrate these traits into their daily classroom presentations.


Culham, Ruth. (2003). 6+1 Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide Grades 3 and Up. New York, NY, Scholastic Inc.