Project: Seattle Public Schools’ Elementary Science Expository Writing and Science Notebooks Program

Authors: Laura Stokes, Judy Hirabayashi, Katherine Ramage

Type: Report

Publication: August 2003

Writing For Science, Science For Writing: A Study Of The Seattle Elementary Science Expository Writing And Science Notebooks Program, 2003

Full report (pdf, 50 pages)

Appendix A and B (pdf, 5 pages)

Appendix C (pdf, 3 pages)

Appendix D (pdf, 2 pages)

Appendix E (pdf, 8 pages)


The Seattle School District’s Expository Writing and Science Notebooks Program is an enhancement of the district’s K-5 science program. Its aim is to improve the teaching and learning of both science and writing through a structured approach to having students write in their science notebooks as part of their science instruction. The program includes writing curriculum linked to each science unit and a series of professional development classes for teachers.

This evaluation report addresses the following questions:

  • How and to what extent do the classroom approaches of the Expository Writing and Science Notebooks Program contribute to student learning in ways that are significant to the Seattle Public Schools and to the broader science education reform community?
  • To what extent are elementary teachers in Seattle Public Schools implementing the district’s science program and the writing component of the program?
  • What are the benefits—to students, teachers, the district, and the field—of the Expository Writing and Science Notebooks Program when it is implemented to the degree that it is, as part of the district’s elementary science program?
  • What questions and opportunities remain for the program and for the district?

We asked independent experts to review the work in student notebooks to capture their perspectives on the key features, the quality, and the educational significance of student work in science notebooks. We also conducted a written survey of elementary teachers across the district to determine the extent to which science is taught, and to compare the teaching approaches of participants in the Expository Writing program to those of other teachers.

Intended Audience

Science teachers, Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Education Leaders, Funders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

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