Posted on 11/14/2017 at 02:55 PM by Blog Experts

In the schema of learning a language, the order of processing and using a spoken language has been researched for decades. Basically, a Language Learner will listen, speak, read and finally write. With that said many educators, when working with ELs, struggle with finding the correct strategy to use in either the areas of reading or writing. Thus, many schools have research based reading interventions or strategies readily available. However, when it comes to a writing intervention/strategy, it is hard to find something that is practical and realistic. Well, we may have an idea for you…

Recently, the state of Iowa held their annual Iowa Culture and Language Conference. During that 3-day conference many school teams, experts and professionals spoke about learning a second language. A group of elementary teachers’ from Denison Elementary – Broadway presented about a written language strategy originally taught and created by Dorina Sackman (educator of the year from Florida). Sackman has worked with EL students and wanted to teach them how to write since the Florida Core Curriculum became much more rigorous. Thus, she developed a written language strategy for ELs (and others) called the Writing Recipe. She teaches a process, that is not hard to follow, in how to write an introduction, three reasons for the body, and then the conclusion, which is basically the introduction just rewritten. The teachers at Denison Elementary – Broadway found this strategy to be timely and relevant. According to their pictures and verbal reasoning, they have found the Writing Recipe to be very beneficial. (see below)

From both the Denison and Sackman presentations, the Writing Recipe is broken up and color-coded for students. Pre-teaching is given for students to understand expectations with modeling. Additionally, in order for the writing to get better, from students, academic language is always used with students. Figure 1 represents the Writing Recipe in a Google Doc format and is blank. During the teaching of such content, writing materials that mimic graphic organizers are used. This ties into an opening and closing paragraph. It also helps student learn the language and expectations. As the body of the paper is approached, a topic sentence is taught and so are transition words to help setup the paper. During this process, which can take weeks, the students are engaged in large group discussions and activities. Also, the teacher provides feedback on their Writing Recipes or cards. Figure 2 depicts an example of what the cards may look like when completed by a student. Overall, Sackman makes a very good case for the what, why and how to use with students in regards to writing. The Denison teachers also agree and have invested quite a bit of time into this strategy.

Figure 3 showcases a Google Doc, made available for students, to access and use for 1:1 Chromebook users.

If you are interested in learning more, please watch Dorina Sackman in action at this link:

Also, Denison CSD is within the Northwest Area Education Agency schools. Their elementary team consisted of five teachers presenting from the upper elementary Broadway building. Thank you to all presenters and the creator for evidential use and visual aids.

Figure 1. Blank Google Doc – Writing Recipe










Figure 2. Cards – Writing Recipe








Figure 3. Google Doc – Completed Writing Recipe

Katie - Hi! Great question. I do not have one built online, but you could make one using Google Docs. Also, Sackman's website and her book contain the information too. I am sure if Sherri Anderson or Sara Youngers visit your school they could assist as well.
Angie Corderman | Blog - EL | 10/25/2018 at 10:38 AM
Is this available as Google Docs for anyone to use? Love this! I saw it at the ICLC conference several times, and I would love to try it out. Thanks!
Katie Barnes | 10/24/2018 at 12:58 PM
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field