Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

The Magic of Writing Workshop May 6, 2009

Filed under: Literacy coaching,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:46 pm
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In the life a curriculum coach, today was a magical day! 

Two of the teachers I work with had agreed to try out a new Unit of Study for Poetry in both Readers and Writer’s Workshop. While they are both using Calkins’ Units of Study in Writer’s Workshop for the second year, reading instruction has been a harder challenge for the grade level. I had given them a three week unit of reading and writing study based on one from the DPS website that starts by really immersing the students in poetry.  

Not only did a child’s poem give me goosebumps when it was read aloud (he wrote a poem for two voices), but I about cried when one of the teachers shared with me the poem she was inspired to write for her grandmothers using the techniques she’s learned from teaching the unit so far. How amazing is that? Writing Workshop really does allow all participants to grow in ways that can’t even be anticipated some days. 

Some of their comments I would have paid money to have on tape (Since I didn’t have a recorder I am paraphrasing from memory as best I can) for this blog:

“I’m amazed at how much more capable my students are than I realized. I didn’t realize how much we stifled them by only teaching them certain forms before. ”

“I keep talking about this unit all the time. I’m doing some of the best teaching I’ve ever done!”

“I am so much more involved in my students’ writing. I can hardly wait to meet with them to see the progress they’ve made from day to day.” 

“The kids told me it’s the first time they’ve like poetry.”

“Even my most struggling student has been able to be successful.  He’s shared in discussions and written an amazing poem for his mom.”

“The ninety minutes absolutely fly by!’

“You will love teaching this unit.”

After a week of slow boulder rolling up a steep mountain, it felt great to hear their comments today! 

They are also reading aloud Love That Dog by Sharon Creech and feel it is a great tie-in as the boy experiences poetry writing as well. 

If you’d are a fourth grade teacher and would like to try the poetry UOS, leave me a comment with your e-mail and I’ll send you a link.


36 Responses to “The Magic of Writing Workshop”

  1. jeanne Says:

    I would love to try your poetry unit with my fourth grade class.
    This is my first year implementing Writer’s Workshop. The comments you mentioned hearing from your teachers are similar to those I have made and have heard my co-workers express as we have trained, collaborated, and planned our WW lessons this year. Thanks for sharing and offering the link! :O)

  2. Terri Quesinberry Says:

    I would love a poetry unit. I have just begun working with poetry and would love some ideas. Thanks so much for sharing this link.

  3. Joanne Says:

    I envy you being able to attend the Teachers College conference. I am a coach, and trying to get UOS accepted and used in my school. I work with all grades, but am working with 4th grade teachers on writing units for next year. I would love to try your poetry unit with our 4th grade teachers and students. Thank you so much for sharing your work and your blog. I am a big fan of yours!

  4. stella Says:

    I think you do such a fantastic with this blog. There is a Kreativ Blog Award being passed in the blogging world, that I would to pass this on to you. It is a great way to recognize other bloggers and visit new places. You can check out the details in my blog.
    Bravo Kristine!

  5. Patricia Says:

    We’re departmentalizing in our school district and I just found out I’m teaching 4th grade writing. I would love to try poetry UOS.

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      I will e-mail it to you Monday 🙂
      Where you teaching fourth grade before?
      Will you be teaching anything but fourth grade writing?
      Check out Two Writing Teachers blog if you haven’t already

  6. Natalie Says:

    I would love to have the poetry information, please

  7. Stella Says:

    Oh Poetry, poetry! That is totally music to my ears! I would love to learn more about this….could you please send me the link as well? Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

  8. Dollie Evans Says:

    I teach 5th grade, but most of my kids are below level especially in writing. I am the only teacher in my school that does writing workshop, so I would love some ideas. Glad I stumbled on your blog. Thanks for sharing

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      Stick with the Writing Workshop-even when it seems hard and you catch flak from colleagues-it really works in growing students as writers. I think it works with all level students from below, to gifted, to ELL, and everything in-between. Do you have the Units of Study for Teaching Writing grade 3-6? If you can’t get the whole set, I think it would be worth buying the intro book and book 1 from a used seller on-line.

  9. Steph Says:

    I’d love to have the unit!

  10. Matt Says:

    Hi! I have been reading your blog for some time now. I would love to try out teaching the poetry unit you mentioned. My e-mail is backpocketnj [at] Thanks so much!


    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      I will share Poetry UOS later in June as I get back on the blogging train. Thanks!

  11. finny Says:

    Hi! My laptop crashed and I lost all of my bookmarked sites, but I am glad I was able to find yours again. I would love to see your poetry unit. I have been teaching the workshop model for years, but stumble through poetry everytime.

    Thanks in advance!

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      We were really happy with how the poetry unit turned out-once I have access to my network back-up I will send you a copy. It might not be until next week.

  12. Pat Zellermayer Says:

    I would love a copy of the poetry unit. I teach 4th grade, and am always looking for new and creative ways to get them writing! Thanks!

  13. Linda Says:

    Hi- I’d love the poetry unit as well. I am teaching grade 4 reading and writing next year. Thanks!

  14. Joy Says:

    I would be happy to receive a link to the poetry UOS. Thanks in advance.

  15. marceeh Says:

    I have been researching the Writer’s Workshop structure and I am very excited to try it out next year! I have found some UOS lessons online, but have not come across the poetry unit. Could you please send me a copy of yours? Thanks so much!!

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      I will be happy to end you a copy of the poetry UOS once I am back and on the server I saved it on. Note to self-load onto flashdrive so I have it with me at all times.

  16. betsy Says:

    I just found this site while exploring LC’s UOS. As a literacy
    coach, I am thirsty for input on writing workshop. I’ll appreciate the poetry link and any other great sites for study groups, support groups, etc. This is my lucky day!

  17. bestbookihavenotread Says:

    I sent out the first two week overview of reading and writing workshops-I’ll send out week 3 with the individual lessons from the first week this coming week.

  18. Laura Says:

    I would like to be sent your uos on Love That Dog.

  19. Jane Says:

    I would really like to try the poetry unit. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  20. Cathy Says:

    For the first time, I am starting the school year with a poetry unit. We use the writers workshop model and I would love to see your poetry unit.

    Thank you!

  21. Lisa Says:

    I teach 4th and will begin Calkins in a few weeks. I would love to see your poetry unit.

    Thank you for sharing!

  22. vicki Says:


    i did a big poetry unit for my masters project and would love to compare my work with the unit you have. if you have a minute, i’d love the link.

    keep up the great work!
    thank you.

  23. Emily Says:

    I would love to try your poetry unit! I am a first year teacher and do not have a clue where to BEGIN teaching writing. It is extremely overwhelming.

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      What grade do you teach? I always recommend that everyone start with personal narrative as it is usually easiest for us as teachers to write as well.

  24. Lisa Says:

    I would love to try your poetry unit! This is my first year with Calkins. It is challenging, but the students love it! I’m excited to open the door to poetry.

    Thanks for your help!

    • bestbookihavenotread Says:

      Be tough! It is challenging but gets easier/better with each unit you master. One tip I have that I didn’t have my first year with Calkins, is don’t try to do it all. Each lesson has MANY ideas that can be used. Focus on the teaching point and use your own writing as an example on a chart paper. Try to keep it simple and you’ll be less overwhelmed. I also recommend not reading the side bars of Lucy’s coaching the first year unless you have something specific you are confused by.

      • Lisa Says:

        Did I miss your link? I have been telling the students that we will work on poetry soon. I’ve been delaying hoping that you will send some of your magic my way. Thanks for sharing your work. Its people like you that help teachers to help kids. Thank you!!!

      • bestbookihavenotread Says:

        I need to figure out how to upload my files to a sharing service.

  25. Sherrie Says:

    Hello. I just stumbled upon this site as I was searching for ways to get my students invested in writing. I love poetry. It is a great way to get a glimpse into the thinking and lives of the students. We used to have a poet visit the school for a week to do a poetry workshop with the students but we will not be able to do that this year. I would really appreciate it if you would share the poetry unit with me. Thank you very much.

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