Lesson 4.2: How can we use the CWPA Habits of Mind and MAPS to plan meaningful digital writing projects?


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  • To understand the CWPA Habits of Mind and their relevance to digital writing.
  • To learn the MAPS acronym and its relevance to designing digital writing projects.
  • To evaluate examples of digital writing in terms of the Habits of Mind and MAPS.

Activate Prior Knowledge

Abubble2.png Do you use writing task acronyms like GRASP and/or RAFT? If so, what do the letters stand for? (feel free to look them up quick if you are unfamiliar!)


In 2011, the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and National Writing Project (NWP) released a document titled Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing. It summarizes eight "habits of mind" students need to achieve "college and career readiness."


Read and reflect on the descriptions below.

  • How do you think these habits can be developed through meaningful digital writing projects?

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Now take a look at Troy Hicks's MAPS heuristic for describing the components of craft in digital writing. How is it similar to and different from other writing task acronyms you know?


Revisit the Digital Writing 101 Blog and select another sample of digital writing to examine closely.. * Which of the CWPA Habits of Mind does it align with?

  • Imagine that you want to assign a similar project to your students. How would you write it out as a MAPS task?


Fostering positive attitudes around learning is just as important as achieving academic outcomes. If students are not engaged-if they don't feel like the work they're doing is meaningful-then chances are they won't work as hard and learn as deeply as we want them to. Well-designed digital writing projects can motivate students to engage with authentic tasks and at the same time develop habits of mind for success in a 21st century world.


The CWPA Habits of Mind remind us that in college and the workforce, certain attitudes are valued more than some of the skills we try to drill into students throughout their grade school years (such as overly-structured essays). How can we deliberately integrate habits of mind into our instruction? And how would it change what tasks we value, or how we approach grading? How would a lesson change if persistence, for example, was one of the learning goals?

Troy Hicks's MAPS heuristic looks similar to writing acronyms you may have used such as RAFT and GRASP. What they have in common is an authentic purpose and audience for the writing. MAPS adds the "media" component to encourage digital creation and sharing. Framing a digital writing task using MAPS encourages students to be deliberate with their craft choices, as each element of their design should promote the overall meaning and message.

Deepen Your Understanding


Now that you have completed lesson 2, revisit your understanding of the learning target. Consider what new understandings you now have, and develop your initial understandings based on the lesson materials.

What is the relevance of the CWPA Habits of Mind to digital writing? Why are these habits important? How can MAPS help you and your students plan meaningful digital writing projects?

References and Resources

Hicks, T. (2013). Crafting digital writing: Composing texts across media and genres. Heinemann.

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