Writing in Gym? Connecticut High School Makes Writing Mandatory in All Classes

Should physical education be about more than jumping jacks and volleyball? And what about other subjects? Should they, too, go beyond the standard curriculum? When it comes to writing, some schools believe so. Recently, a Connecticut high school decided to incorporate writing in every class regardless of subject, hoping to turn around its dismal literacy rates.

Find available tutors

teen literacy

A Call for Writing

According to a 2005 survey conducted for the National Writing Project, nearly 70% of Americans at the time believed that writing should be taught across all subjects at every grade level. In addition, 72% felt that all prospective teachers should be trained in teaching writing.

What's more, the survey also showed that only 23% believed their schools were doing a good job when it came to teaching writing.

Quite possibly, James Hillhouse High School in Connecticut had these statistics in mind when in fall 2011 they decided to integrate writing into every subject. This even includes physical education!

The Write Stuff

Hillhouse High is not the first school in the country to make its students write and write and write, but it is the most recent. The program was inspired by a similar literacy initiative begun by Brockton High School in Massachusetts in 1998. That school has seen the percentage of students failing English fall from 44% to five percent over the 12 years students have been writing in every class.

'We realized we have a problem in terms of literacy,' Hillhouse High geometry teacher Fred Redeaux told The Huffington Post in December 2011. And quite a problem it was: only 10% of incoming freshmen were reading at or above grade level.

The solution? Redeaux and other teachers, part of the school's volunteer literacy team, came up with having students write for ten minutes in every class. This would include gym, science and even math.

'If you can't read a word problem, you certainly can't solve it,' Redeaux told The Huffington Post.

'Write What You Think'

What can students write about in gym? Or in math? Actually, it's not as difficult as you might think.

In phys ed, students could write about the rules of a certain sport, or what they like about their favorite physical activities. Math students can write about how they solved a particular problem. The latter is exactly the assignment Redeaux asked his students to complete.

'Write what you think,' the geometry teacher recently told a student who didn't know how to start writing.

Perhaps as they write more and more in each class, that student and others like him will begin to find the act of writing easier. If so, Hillhouse High can deem its new program a complete success.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Is Less Writing a Good Thing for Your Student?

    Everywhere you look there seems to be some sort of educational reform being proposed, implemented or suggested. In many cases reform is intended to be for the better, but a recent bill being sponsored in Washington state calls for doing away with statewide writing assessments. Is less writing necessarily a good thing?

  • More Blog Articles
    Reading, Writing and Raising Hens?

    Your child may have no intention of becoming a farmer. Perhaps even having a garden as an adult is unlikely. Still, as students around the country are learning, when schools add farming to the school day, students benefit in numerous ways.

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth