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Six Traits of Writing Model:

Teaching & Assessing


Instructor Name:

Dr. Karen Lea



Office Hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday




Virtual Education Software


23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F


Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Technical Support:





Welcome to Six Traits of Writing Model: Teaching & Assessing, a course geared primarily for professionals (e.g., regular or special educators, instructional assistants, school psychologists, counselors) working with children and youth in any academic area.  This course focuses on why teaching writing is an essential skill for life, and gives theory and practical steps to implement the six traits of writing in any classroom.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.



Course Materials (Online)


Six Traits of Writing Model:  Teaching & Assessing


Virtual Education Software, inc. 2017, Revised 2020


Dr. Karen Lea



Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.



Level of Application

This course is designed to be an informational course with application to educational settings. The analysis of how to teach writing and how to integrate techniques of writing are designed for all grade levels, all content areas.



Expected Learning Outcomes: 

As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

·         Analyze how to integrate teaching the elements of Six Traits of Writing

·         Integrate assessing the elements of Six Traits of Writing

·         Analyze how to integrate teaching the ideas of writing

·         Analyze how to integrate teaching the organization of writing

·         Integrate assessing writing ideas and organization of writing

·         Analyze how to integrate teaching finding voice

·         Analyze how to integrate teaching word choice

·         Integrate assessing writing voice and word choice

·         Analyze how to teach sentence fluency

·         Analyze how to teach English conventions

·         Integrate assessing sentence fluency and conventions



Course Description

This course, Six Traits of Writing Model: Teaching & Assessing, will discuss why writing is important and why teachers should include writing as often as possible in all content areas. The course will also include practical applications for assessing and teaching writing, including teaching students how to self-assess their own writing. The first chapter of this course will discuss why teaching writing is important and give you an introduction to the Six Traits of Writing Model. Through chapters 2, 3, and 4 we will discuss the elements of the Six Traits of Writing Model. Throughout those elements we will look at practical ways to use this model in your classroom.



Student Expectations       

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.



Course Overview

Chapter 1:  Why Teach Writing?

This first chapter will focus on why teaching writing is important and the development of the Six Traits of Writing Model. Your objectives are to be able to analyze why writing is important in reading and careers, and to demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical foundations of the Six Traits of Writing Model.


Chapter 2:  Ideas & Organization

Writing is also a way to make our thinking and learning visual and understandable for other people, it gives us a vehicle to explain and refine our thoughts and ideas. In addition to these reasons writing is important, writing is also a form of entertainment. There have been many models for teaching writing, but one that has been part of the educational process for decades is the Six Traits Writing Model and that is the focus of this course. The first two elements of the Six Traits of Writing are Ideas and Organization. This chapter of the course will focus on those two elements.


Chapter 3:  Voice & Words

Now that students have an idea of what to write about and an organizational structure, educators need to help students learn to write with voice and how to choose the best words. The key is to not short change the first two steps: ideas and organization. Those might seem the most tedious, but they are also the most important in having in-depth written products. The next two elements of the Six Traits of Writing are Voice and Word Choice. This chapter of the course will focus on those two elements.


Chapter 4:  Fluency & Conventions

When we talk about sentence fluency, we are talking about the use of a variety of sentence structures to add rhythm and flow to our writing. Sentence fluency is what makes the writing pleasing to read and keeps us interested. The next two elements of the Six Traits of Writing are Sentence Fluency and Conventions. This chapter of the course will focus on those two elements, plus a discussion on writing in various content areas.




At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access. Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.



Instructor Description

Karen Lea holds a Ph.D. in education. Dr. Lea has fifteen years’ experience teaching at the K-12 level and another fourteen years’ experience teaching education courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. Currently she is an Assessment Developer at Western Governor's University. Dr. Lea has been professionally published over fifteen times and has served on over a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.



Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing karen_lea@virtualeduc.com or by calling (509) 891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST.  Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours.  Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches or other issues that involve the operation of the course.



Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.



Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



Bibliography (suggested reading)

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Writing Fix. (2016). Writing traits: Quality teaching resources for K–12. http://writingfix.com/

Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.


Updated 6/8/20 JN