Marshalltown Community School District – Marshalltown, IA

Marshalltown Community School District
Adopts Framing Your Thoughts
By Lora Kester

The 2009-2010 school year was an exciting one for K-6 teachers and students in Marshalltown, IA. The district moved to a full implementation of Framing Your Thoughts, Sentence Structure and Applied Writing. Student and teacher response was remarkable!

With this program in place, students and teachers were equally satisfied: students enjoy learning the structure of writing, while teachers feel they have a grasp on “how” to teach writing skills. The components that make Framing Your Thoughts unique from other programs are why it is working so well in Marshalltown. The visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and body language strategies that are incorporated into every lesson help to meet the needs of all learners. The direct teaching of concepts enables all students to obtain the skills necessary to become successful writers.


  • 61% poverty rate district-wide

  • Some buildings have poverty rates near 90%

  • 50% ELL population district-wide

  • Some buildings have ELL populations near 80%

  • One elementary building has a transition rate of over 50%



  • 2006-2007 - Three teachers attended a workshop in Bloomington and “sold” the program to their principal and the district. A pilot project began at one elementary school.

  • 2007-2008 - A second school was added and teachers were trained.

  • 2008-2009 - A third and fourth school were added and teachers were trained.

  • 2009-2010 - All elementary schools were brought onboard (6 elementary schools and 1 intermediate school) to include K-6 grades. Teachers were trained.



  • Students enjoyed the structure of the program and the power of knowing how words function in a sentence.

  • Teachers felt they had a grasp on “how” to teach writing.

  • Teachers were grateful to have a consistent program that they knew everyone was teaching.



  • Data was collected on a monthly basis for one elementary school. Monthly in-service was provided and accountability was built in with monthly probes.