Skills - Conventions


Brief Explanation

  • A strong emphasis on mechanics by teachers leads students to believe that text appearance is paramount. (Effective Writing Instruction Across the Grades: What Every Educational Consultant Should Know, Troia, Gary A. Graham, Steve (2003)
  • Writing conventions include spelling, punctuation and grammar.

    Clearly Identified Key Outcomes

    Use your programs of study for curriculum outcomes related to conventions

    Please refer to CESD’s Essential Outcomes work if you are using the previous Alberta Curriculum (Grade 7+).

    Here is the New Alberta ELAL Curriculum, from the New Learn Alberta website, laid out like a scope and sequence.

    Purposeful Instructional Strategies

    • Explicitly teaching and modelling the use of conventions, rules and tools in their writing to to ensure that students know and understand the following:
      • punctuation
      • capitalization
      • grammar
      • spelling
      • how to edit, focus on one area at a time
      • how to use a dictionary and/or spell checker
      • paragraphing while drafting
      • keeping a consistent verb tense
      • keeping a consistent point of view – I, we…
      • treatment of titles and headings – when to quote, capitalize, italicize
      • numbers – when to use the numeral versus when to write out the number
      • verb confusions
      • ‘an’ vs ‘a’
      • subject and object case pronouns and how to test for which case is correct
      • Abbreviations
      • Writing left to right across a page for younger students
        • (N. Atwell, In the Middle, 2015)
    • Build editing checklist as you teach writing
    • Build spelling skills by engaging in word study activities
    • Teach the meanings of commonly used prefixes, suffixes
    • Teach spelling rules related to word endings – plurals, possessives, etc.

    Video about Conventions in Writing

    Personalization of Learning

    • Assistive technology ie. spelling and grammar checkers enabled, speech to text
    • Individual teaching and support based on need
    • Reduced length of editing checklist – only editing for a few components at a time