Writing Across the Curriculum

Writing Across the Curriculum

0.50 USBE Credit
Writing is an essential part of literacy. Teachers are responsible to support students in learning how to write in the style of the disciplines they teach—e.g., writing like a scientist, writing like a mathematician, etc. Effective educators in any content area do the following: teach the writing style with in their discipline explicitly; give feedback on learner writing and allow opportunities to revise; use writing as a tool for learning.


To earn this microcredential you will submit two sets of evidence demonstrating that writing is a part of your instruction within your specific content area(s). You will also complete a short written or video reflective analysis.


You will be charged $25 by the badge provider. You'll be charged at the point you submit your badge for final review.


The type of writing that leads to disciplinary literacy does not include filling out worksheets. Instead, this microcredential focuses on the composition of well-developed arguments, explanations, and descriptions.


Disciplinary Literacy: Experts in each field are expected to be able to read and write specific types of texts. For example, computer engineers and coders write and follow “use case” scenarios, and many mechanics are required to write short descriptive narratives of how they diagnosed problems and the steps taken to solve them. Disciplinary literacy refers to this ability to do the types of reading, writing, and speaking that are expected of experts in various fields.

Writing to Learn: Writing is a powerful instructional tool. Composition pushes students to think in ways that are focused on content, organized, and vocabulary-intensive. These are all goals of every teacher, no matter their content area!

Writing Process: This includes the stages of producing text, including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.


Mrs. Wilson, the 9th grade science teacher at Pleasant Valley Junior High, is nearing the end of a unit on plate tectonics. She wants to ensure that her students have a deep understanding of the three different types of plate boundaries and the geological features and phenomena that occur at each. She knows that if her students write about the boundary types they are more likely to remember and understand them, so she decides to use a writing to learn activity.

She randomly assigns a different boundary type to each student. Without naming the boundary type they were given, students write a detailed description of a fictional spot on the globe, including plate movements, geological features, and phenomena. They then pair with other students, who read their description and try to identify the plate boundary type they were assigned.


Video: Submit a 5-8 minute video of your instruction with learners. The video submission can be one continuous instructional segment, or a series of excerpts from various lessons. This video should demonstrate your effective use of writing as a part of instruction on a regular basis. Follow your district/charter guidelines for student privacy. Video submissions should follow all relevant LEA (district/charter) and FERPA guidelines.

Student Work: Submit at least three samples of student writing. These samples should demonstrate how you use writing to support students in learning central concepts or writing skills in your standards (e.g., water cycle, fractions, nutrition, etc.). Be sure to follow your district/charter guidelines for student privacy.

Unit Plan: Submit a unit plan that shows how writing is used throughout a series of lessons to support students' understanding and use of a central concept or skill. The unit plan should include various types of writing opportunities and demonstrate your effective and consistent use of writing to support instruction of your subject area standards.

Student Performance Data: Submit pre and post writing data based on a teacher-created writing rubric to demonstrate student growth. Include data for at least 10 students from at least two lessons. The data should demonstrate your effective and consistent use of writing to support instruction of your subject area standards. Be sure to follow your district/charter guidelines for student privacy.

Candidate's Choice: Submit another type of evidence demonstrating your consistent and effective use of writing to support instruction of content standards.

Candidates are required to make 2 evidence submission(s).

Review Criteria

Writing: Evidence Criterion 1: Evidence demonstrates that the educator uses best practices to teach writing skills within the target discipline.
Criterion 2: Evidence demonstrates that the educator uses feedback and offers opportunities for revision to clarify student understanding of a concept.
Criterion 3: Evidence demonstrates that the educator uses writing consistently and successfully as an instructional tool to teach content standards.


  1. Describe how you use writing as an instructional tool to help learners master your content standards.

  2. Give specific examples of the types of writing learners do as a part of your instruction and explain how this helps them to learn.

  3. Describe how you plan to improve your use of writing as an instructional tool in the future.

Review Criteria

Writing: Reflection Criterion 1: Reflection explains what the best practices are and how the teacher uses them to teach writing skills within the target discipline.
Criterion 2: Reflection explains how the teacher uses writing consistently and successfully as an instructional tool to teach content standards.


"Three Rules for Writing-Rich Disciplinary Classrooms." Coppola, R. & Woodard, B. Education Update (June 2018).
This handy website has tips for teachers of every subject area for how to use writing as a learning tool.

This website has literacy strategies and sample lessons for teachers in any subject area to incorporate writing into their content instruction in a way that is authentic to their disciplines.

Daniels, H., Zemelman, S., & Steineke, N. (2007). Content Area Writing: Every Teacher’s Guide. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
This is an easy to read, imminently applicable guide for any teacher who wants to incorporate writing to learn as an instructional tool.

Disciplinary Literacy in Math
This literature review explores aspects of mathematical literacy.

Disciplinary Literacy in Science
This slide deck highlights the instructional benefits of teaching students how to read and write scientifically-oriented texts, and includes strategies for teachers to do so.

Kennedy, J. (2005). Literacy Strategies for Improving Mathematics Instruction. Alexandria, VA: ASCD
Find it on Amazon.com
Chapter 3 is devoted to writing in the mathematics classroom, including what it looks like and how it can improve student learning.

Kennett, D., Rathke, K., & van Brunt, K. (2016). The Game Plan: A Multi-Year Blueprint to Create a School Culture of Literacy and Data Analysis. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.
This book has both (a) valuable reading and writing to learn strategies that are applicable in any content area and (b) a long-term plan to develop a school culture that supports disciplinary literacy.

Lent, Releah Cossett. (2016). This Is Disciplinary Literacy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Find it on Amazon.com
Chapter 3, "Writing Within the Disciplines," discusses how writing looks in different content areas and provides strategies that work.

PDPro Course – Writing as a Thinking Tool: MIDAS Course # 40257
This online Canvas course through Davis School District’s PDPro series is available for any teacher. You’ll learn how to incorporate writing to learn strategies by watching videos of real teachers and students, studying interesting and accessible rea...

Reading and Writing in Science: Tools to Develop Disciplinary Literacy
Find it on Amazon.com
The real strength of the book is the almost equal weighting given to the four strands of literacy; speaking, listening, reading and writing. This provides a useful prompt for the reader to go beyond the obvious when incorporating a greater literacy focus into their curriculum.

This website is a searchable database of literacy strategies for any educator at any grade level. ReadWriteThink is a collaboration between the International Literacy Association (ILA) and National Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts (NCTE/LA).

Steineke, N. & Daniels, H. (2016). Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
This invaluable text includes writing to learn lesson plans and mentor texts that align with multiple subject areas.

Utah Core Standards for Literacy
The Utah Core Standards for grades 6-12 include standards for literacy in every content area. They are on pages 69-81 of the linked document.


Karen Brock
Karen Brock
Roxey Catenzaro
Roxey Catenzaro
Matthew Dimick
Matthew Dimick
Angela Dunn
Angela Dunn
Daron Kennett
Daron Kennett
Alicia Madsen
Alicia Madsen
Shelbi Nelson
Shelbi Nelson
Adam Skousen
Adam Skousen


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