Reflections on Effective Writing Instruction

The Value of Expectations, Engagement, Feedback, Data, and Sociocultural Instructional Practices


  • Kara Mitchell Viesca University of Colorado Denver
  • Kim Hutchison Aurora Public



Writing Instruction, collaborative research, english language learners, sociocultural instructional practices


This reflection on effective writing practice is the result of a university-school partnership focused on collaboratively investigating the work of a successful 5th grade writing teacher. The co-authors collectively present the work of Mrs. Hutchison, a veteran teacher who worked in a predominately low-income school with a high percentage of students labeled English language learners. Mrs. Hutchison’s class was a space where each student was both a learner and a teacher and most students developed a great interest and love of writing. This reflective piece presents data documenting Mrs. Hutchison’s success as well as a collaborative reflection on her work intended to provide a glimpse into Mrs. Hutchison’s commitments and practices, and how these resulted in students’ learning and productive writing activity and achievement. In so doing, we hope to provide some models of effective practices that others may wish to adapt or investigate further.

Author Biographies

Kara Mitchell Viesca, University of Colorado Denver

Kara Mitchell Viesca (Ph.D., Boston College) is an Assistant Professor of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education at the University of Colorado Denver. She is a former teacher of multilingual students from grades Pre K to graduate school in California, Virginia, Massachusetts, Mexico, and China. She currently leads a 1.9 million dollar National Professional Development grant focused on supporting teachers in improving their practice with multilingual students. Her scholarship focuses on advancing equity in the policy and practice of educator development, with a particular focus on multilingual learners and their teachers.

Kim Hutchison, Aurora Public

Kim Hutchison (M.A., University of Phoenix) is a 5th grade teacher in Aurora Public Schools. She has been a teacher for 20 years and worked in elementary schools in grades K–5. She has taken leadership roles at both the school and district level as a teacher leader, teacher on special assignment, and teacher coach. She has a relentless commitment to student growth and seeks opportunities to collaboratively learn, improve student learning, and support the development of successful teacher practices.


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How to Cite

Viesca, K. M., & Hutchison, K. (2014). Reflections on Effective Writing Instruction: The Value of Expectations, Engagement, Feedback, Data, and Sociocultural Instructional Practices. Writing and Pedagogy, 6(3), 681–696.



Reflections on Practice