EDUC7549.02 (MacDonald): Teaching Argument and Procedure Writing to K-8 Students

Ended Nov 12, 2019
1 credit

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Full course description

The course site opens to participants on October 11, but course sessions run from October 15 - November 12, 2019.

Course Series: Teaching the Genres of Writing to K-8 students

Series Description

Using a genre-based pedagogy with strong emphasis on language development, participants will learn what and how to teach writing.  The approach has been developed and tested for over 10 years in multiple elementary and K- 8 schools. The content has been distributed among 3 one-credit courses each focusing on a set of genres.

Maximum enrollment per course: 20 participants. An additional section will be open when the first one reaches maximum enrollment.

Participants can enroll for graduate credit or for no-credit.  K-8 teachers can apply for in-service credits.

Each course includes

  • 4 week-long modules with self-paced activities and weekly assignments.

  • 5 one hour live ONLINE sessions using Zoom.

Other Courses in this Series

This Course: EDUC 7549 Teaching Argument and Procedure Writing to K-8 students

(for either non-credit or 1 credit graduate credit)

This is a project-based course where groups of participants will collaborate to develop a writing unit in a genre appropriate for their grade level. Using a genre-based pedagogy informed by systemic functional linguistics, participants will learn what and how to teach arguments and procedures. Features of the genres demanded in elementary and middle schools will be learned and practiced. The strong emphasis on language development distinguishes this approach from others currently used in schools. The approach to teaching guides teachers in ways of apprenticing students to writing that builds confidence and success.

Course Schedule (October 15 - November , 2019)

The live sessions are all 7:30-8:30 pm.  (10/15; 10/22; 10/29; 11/5; 11/12)

Amount of Time per week

The course requires 3 hours and 10’ of weekly activities besides readings and assignments.

These activities are organized in weekly cycles with 2 hours 10’ to be done asynchronous (at your own pace) and 1 hour synchronous (live session). The live sessions will take place on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 8:30 pm.

Participants are required to keep pace with the weekly activities and participate in the synchronous sessions.

Course Activities

There will be a variety of activities to facilitate acquiring the content of the course including: short lectures, readings, discussions, teachers sharing how they implemented the units, videos of teachers applying the approach in their classrooms, work with mentor texts and student work, affinity groups collaborations toward creating genre units, and live sessions to share experiences, answer questions, and clarify challenges.

Course Facilitator

A teacher and coach in the Boston Public Schools for over twenty years, Elizabeth MacDonald’s interests include urban education, reading and writing instruction, dual-language schools and the preparation of pre-service teachers. She has worked with Maria Estela Brisk on writing instruction as a teacher, coach and colleague. Their work together has included the study of and implementation of the theory Systemic Functional Linguistics in the classroom. Additionally, as co-author of the first and second edition of The Mindful Teacher, she is committed to supporting and retaining urban educators.

Course Designer

Maria Estela Brisk is a Professor of Education at the Teacher Education, Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction Department, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.  She received her Ph. D. in linguistics and bilingual education at the University of New Mexico in 1972. Her research and teacher-training interests include elementary students’ writing development, bilingual education, bilingual language and literacy acquisition, methods of teaching literacy, and preparation of mainstream teachers to work with bilingual learners.  She is the author of numerous articles and books.

For the past 12 years Dr. Brisk has worked closely with K-8 schools to develop a genre-based writing program for their schools, preparing teachers and researching children’s writing development. Her book Engaging Students in Academic Literacies: Genre-based Pedagogy for K-5 Classrooms features the approach to teaching writing that emerged from the work in schools.  The approach has been helpful for all students including bilingual learners.

Professor Brisk, native of Argentina, is a fluent speaker of Spanish.

Registration and Payment

Please enroll via the "$400 Enroll" button (above or below) if:

  • You are paying for an individual enrollment via credit card or
  • You have paid for this course some other way and been given a promo code


You can find additional information about registration for this course at


Purchase Order payments are possible.  Please contact Jean McDonald to arrange or 617-552-2226.


After registering, send an email to with the following information:

  • Name

  • Email

  • School and grade level


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