Best Book I Have Not Read

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Shared Curricular Calendar for Units of Study in Writing April 27, 2009

Shared Curricular Calendar for Units of Study in Writing (Assuming use of Calkins’ Units of Study for Primary Writing and Units of Study for Teaching Writing Grades 3-5  as backbone)

First

September

Launching
the Writing Workshop

October

Small
Moments

November

Writing
for Readers

December

Authors as
Mentors

January

How To
Books

February

All About
Books

March

 

Independent
Writing Projects

April

 

Poetry

May

Realisitc
Fiction

 

Second

September

Narrative
Writing-Revisiting and Re-energizing Small Moments

October

Raising
the Level of Narrative Writing with Authors as Mentors

November

Writing
and Revising Realisitc Fiction

December

Fairy Tale
Adaptations and Original Fantasy Stories

January

Writing to
Grow Ideas (Including Ideas about Books)

February

Writing to
Learn and to Teach About a Topic of Personal Expertise

March

 

Persusaive
Writing (Letters and Reviews)

April

 

Poetry

May

Expert
Projects in a Content Area:

 

Third

September

Launching
a Productive Writing Workshop

October

Raising
the Quality of Narrative Writing

November

Writing
Informational Books with Authority and Voice

December

Fiction

January

Fiction

February

Revision
and OAT Writing

March

 

Return to
Nonfiction

April

 

Poetry

May

Independent
Writing Projects

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth

September

Launching
the Writing Workshop

October

Raising
the Level of Narrative Writing

November

Persuasive
Letter

December

Essay or
Writing to Make a Difference

January/February

Fiction

March

 

Writing to
Learn and to Teach About a Topic of Personal Expertise

April

 

Poetry

May

Persusaive
Writing Letters and Reviews)

 

 

 

Fifth           

September

Launching
the Writing Workshop

October

Raising
the Level of Narrative Writing

November

Personal
Essay

December

 Writing to Make a Difference

January

Fiction

February

Independent
Writing Project

March

 

Literary
Essay

April

 

Poetry

May

Memoir

 

 

 

 

Sixth

September

Launching
the Writing Workshop: Writing with Intensity, Determination, and Independence

October

Raising
the Level of Narrative Writing : Improving Volume and Quality

November

The
Personal Essay or Essay Study

December/Early
January

Short
Fiction

Late January/February

Quick
Writing, Writing About Reading, Preparaing for the Writing Tasks of the OAT

March

 

Choice
Project

April

 

Poetry

May

Memoir

 

 

Teaching Second-Grade Writers by Lucy Calkins April 8, 2009

97803250267701

The entire title of this little gem is Reading Writing Project Workshop Help Desk: A Quick Guide to Teaching Second-Grade Writers with Units of Study by Lucy Calkins and is available from Heinemann. I picked it up when I was at TC in March and I can’t find it on the website yet, but if you are a second grade teacher, literacy coach, staff developer, or curriculum director I highly recommend picking it up as soon as you can. This 76 page pocket-sized professional development resource ($8.00) would be great to add to your Primary Units of Study set. Even if you aren’t using UOS, I still think this would be a valuable resource.  Something I love in the first chapter is the proposed overview of the year (also known as a shared curricular calendar). Each chapter then goes on to explore each month’s unit of study more closely. It has some great recommendations for modifying the UOS if your first grade and kindergarten teachers are also using UOS.

The second grade study group of writing workshop is going to start reading this as soon as we can get additional copies. All are game for trying their proposed calendar. With the research and thinking that is behind all TC Reading and Writing Project work, I don’t know how their calendar can do anything but help us work together to get even better.

I think it’s an exciting time to be a teacher of writing and reading. What a gift this little book is!

 

Primary Units of Study-Lucy Calkins January 26, 2009

I’ve had an ongoing book study of Primary Units of Study by Lucy Calkins at the elementary school with kindergarten, first, and half the second grade. One of their building goals to have writing instruction happening in their K-3 classrooms everyday for at least 30 minutes. This past Monday the group had the opportunity to spend half a day with Literacy Guru (my name for her, not her own) Carol. Carol is a retired Language Arts Coordinator from a suburban district and Literacy Consultant. She is also one of the most positive people you can ever hope to meet and has an amazing way of bringing you around to her way of thinking while feeling great about yourself!

The week was going to continue with the opportunity for Carol to model a Writing lesson in a classroom with other teachers watching and then time to discuss what they observed. With the lovely Ohio weather and temperatures, we didn’t get as far as we planned, but will continue the following week.

The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey is being used as the mentor text for the writing lessons. For those who are familiar with Units of Study for Primary Writers. This is a modified lesson from Launching where the little booklets are introduced (I think Lesson 11).

Click to play The Paperboy
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Units of Study: personal narrative unit 1 October 18, 2008

The fourth and fifth grade teachers have finished, or are just finishing Unit 1 of Units of Study-the personal narrative. We will be refining our shared rubric and talking about common expectations that need to be verified for next year or modified. More on this early next week. They are all hoping to have their publication celebration by Nov. 1. I got some great photos of one class that I will also post a few of. The kids were SO excited. All that hard work by teachers and students pay off!

 

Beautiful New Picture Book for reading aloud:The Little Yellow Leaf September 22, 2008

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger is a beautiful book! This picture book not only explores why leaves fall from trees with wonderful poetic words. I love all the illustrations, but I especially love the one of the trees from the overhead view. I think I will use this book to illustrate Units of Study personal narrative lesson on true and exact details lesson. It would be a great mentor text for not just that lesson, but many others. It would have been so fast for the author to say something boring and short like, “The leaves all fell except one,” but then we wouldn’t have gotten this great new picture book. 

A must for adding to your 2008 school year collection.

 

Writing Inservice continued September 4, 2008

 Early Release Meeting 

The goal of this early release meeting is to determine the *** Classroom teachers’ definition of writing at the elementary level and to identify strengths and weaknesses within the Reading Streets program. My role as Curriculum Coordinator will help to provide support for staff in this area over the Early Release meetings this year. Specifically, I focused our discussion on writing-our own and the students.   

AGENDA:

1.     pick up snack and water

2.    select journal, folder, and pen (pretty new things along with snacks are good for starting teachers off feeling happy!)

3.    staff divided in cross-grade level tables (check chart for table assignment)

4.    small group definition of writing (large group share)

5.    strengths and weaknesses of current writing program (large group share)

6.    My Life in Seven Stories-If you could choose only 7 stories that define/reflect who you are and your life, what would a list of those stories be?

7.    Write one of your stories

8.    Discuss 6 + 1 Traits and how we will revisit our own stories to focus on one of the traits or a revision strategy each session

9.    Voluntary interest groups sign-ups for different book studies (Daily Five and Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Primary Writing)

10.                       Door Prizes

 

Book Study groups:

Units of Study for Primary Writing by Lucy Calkins

Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades

by “the Sisters”  

great resource and very readable-like having a conversation with a friend. They also have a free and subscription website.

http://www.the2sisters.com/the_daily_5.htm

 

Writing Workshop Intermediate Grades August 30, 2008

 

 

Focus Lesson C2: Generating Ideas (sketching)

 

Purpose

This lesson begins to teach students how writers use their notebooks and helps them begin to gather ideas. It can be taught several times with different topics, books, authors, etc. so students have many opportunities to consider stories they may choose to tell (or write…soon).

 

Telling stories and listening to stories spoken and read aloud prepare students
to read and write narratives later in school. The standards expect students
to develop more and more detailed oral narratives—and more like written stories as they grow older.

 

Materials

  • book by Patricia Polacco (I would use the same one as yesterday so that you have already read it and don’t need to use that time for reading aloud)
  • Teacher and student writer’s notebooks
  • “Ideas to Write About” list

Other books you could  use: When I Was Young in the Mountainsby Cynthia Rylant, A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

 

Intended Learning Statement

“As we continue with our Writer’s Workshop, we got ready to write yesterday by listening to a story of one of our favorite authors, listening to some of my stories, and working together as we listen and share our own stories. Today I am going to teach you another strategy for coming up with ideas to write about.

 

Whole Group Instruction

  • Modeling: Hold up yesterday’s picture book, think aloud by saying something, such as “Wow, Patricia Polacco’s story really helped me have a picture of where the story took place. Of course her wonderful illustrations painted the picture for me, but I could have closed my eyes and been able to imagine where the story took place…” then relate an interesting personal story about a place from your life where many of your personal stories could have taken place for students. As you talk through your place, sketch it on chart paper for students to see (mine was my grandparent’s house, yard, and neighborhood). Yours could have been your bedroom, your backyard as a child, the playground at your elementary, etc.  Share that there are many places you could have listed to pick from, but for today you selected the one that came to mind first. Explain how the place could be used to think of many different ideas for stories. Remember, you are not expected to be an artist-this is a sketch! Don’t be self-conscious.
    Be sure to think about your comments ahead of time.

 

  • Active Involvement: “Close your eyes and think about a place that  is important to you..” Allow actual “think” time. “Now turn to your partner and share your place.” Call on one or two students to orally share their stories and extend these stories with open-ended questions, such as “That’s interesting; tell me more about…”

 

Work Period

Say, “Today, I shared a sketch of a place that was important to me ________________  and we shared our own stories. While sharing, I hope you found at least one or several ideas about a place that is  important to  you that you might write about in the future. Before the end of our workshop time today, let’s sketch our place.”  Then students complete the sketch in their writer’s notebooks to make a picture. Sketching is added to the chart of “Ideas to Write About” list (see below). Allow students time to work on their first idea/story from yesterday or if they are finished start a story based on today’s sketch. Don’t allow anyone to say they are finished (CRITICAL). Encourage them to go back to yesterday’s list of people and write another story about that person or another story based on the sketch they drew.

 

During the work period, confer with several students (probably still in table groups). Also this might be a good day to teach them/reinforce the signal that you are going to use to get their attention if you need it during their writing work time.

   

Share Time

 

Ideas to Write About

·         Think of a person who matters to you, the list small moments you remember with him or her. Choose one to write the story that goes with it.

·         Sketch a place that is important to you and write one of the stories that took place there.

 


.

 

 

 

 

·         Example: grandparent’s house/yard sketch

 

 Choose students to share some of their sketches, based on the writing conferences that took place during the work period (these are probably table group conferences still at this point in the year) . After sharing, ask, “What is something you learned as writers today?” Reinforce that the chart will be there for them to look at so there is no reason to not have something to write about during work time.

Note

Don’t forget that these are personal narratives. If a child starts going down the imaginary place/person path, try to redirect and explain that these are TRUE stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intermediate Writing Workshop with read alouds

Earlier in this blog I put up a schedule of implementing the first Unit of Study for the intermediate aged classroom. I added a couple new lessons that I felt were missing from the original plan and thought I would share them here as well.

Focus Lesson C2: Generating More Stories

 

Purpose

This lesson uses a book to wake up stories in students’ minds. It can be taught several times with different books and authors so students have many opportunities to consider stories they may choose to write about.

 

A common lament heard from students is “I have nothing to write about.”
This lesson generates excitement for writing by getting students to orally tell
their own stories, propelled by the storytelling of favorite authors and their teacher. It builds structure for the notion that “writing floats on a sea of talk.”

 

Materials

When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant

Chart, “Ideas to Write About”

Other books to use: The Art Lesson by Tomie De Paola, Ticky, Tacky Dollby Cynthia Rylant, many Patricia Polacco books

 

Intended Learning Statement

“As writers, we have been experiencing where authors get their ideas. Today we’ll analyze how Cynthia Rylant (or another author of your choice) gets her writing ideas.”

 

Whole Group Instruction

  • Modeling: Read aloud from the book When I Was Young in the Mountains  by Cynthia Rylant. Say, “Wow, this book makes me think of several stories I might tell. I could tell you about the time when my grandma made a chocolate cake that I called “The Soggy Chocolate Cake”-I loved that cake! and how I always wanted to eat at her house because she made spaghetti out of a can. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I found out she didn’t know how to cook.Or, I could tell you about the time I was catching crawdads with my neighbor  when one of my friends lost their shoe in the mud (we were convinced it was quicksand!).Then share a special personal story.

 

  • Active Involvement: Say, “Now I’d like you to talk with your partner about a story—or stories—this story helped you think about.”
    After students talk with their partners, they share an idea their partner came up with. Allow several pairs to share their responses.

“Be sure to write any new ideas down in your writer’s notebook during the work period.”

 

Work Period

Students add a few ideas to a brainstorm list to write about in the future. During the work period, confer with students by asking, “After hearing When I Was Young in the Mountains, what new ideas did you come up with to write about?” “Why would you like to write about that idea?” and/or “I’d love to hear more about why it’s special to you.”

 

Share Time

Choose students to share some of their ideas based on the writing conferences that took place during the work period. Ask, “What is something Cynthia Rylant can teach us as writers about getting ideas?” and/or “Where else might you get ideas for your writing now?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting the Writing Workshop-Intermediate Grades August 18, 2008

Filed under: Calkins,school,units of study,writing — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:07 pm
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This is a Unit Plan I helped create to facilitate the use of Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study program that many teachers found too overwhelming. (Sorry Lucy, I think you are fabulous!)

 

Focus for the Week

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Week 1

Focus Lesson A: Coming to the Meeting Area    

 

 

Focus Lesson B: Listening and Responding to Each Other    

 

 

Focus Lesson C: Generating Ideas About a Person-select one person from list and brainstorm small moments with that person.Group Share-people and small moments Group Shares ~5 minutes (not everyone every day)  

 

Focus Lesson D: Seed Story lesson (Calkins Units of Study p. 27) Watermelon vs. Seed graphic
Group Share-seed stories   
Focus Lesson E1:
Teach building stories step-by-step (Calkins Units of Study p. 56) as a pre-write for narrative
templateFocus Lesson E2: Personalizing Our Writers’ Notebooks
(becomes homework)
  

Group Share- stories 

Week 2

*Procedural Mini-Lesson: Setting Up Pages in Notebooks  

Focus Lesson F: The Importance of Keeping a Writer’s Notebook
 

Group Share-writer’s notebook covers

Homework-

*Procedural Mini-Lesson: Settling Down to a Quiet Work Period, Routines Regarding No Interruptions, etc.  

Focus Lesson G: Including True and Exact Details (teacher uses own personal story or mentor text for grade level)
 

Group Share- favorite new detail

Homework

*Procedural Mini-Lesson: Continue Focus on Necessary Routines to Sustain Workshop

Focus Lesson H1: Use template to write story

Assessment #1-assess story for seed idea, details, and sequencing (rubric to follow)

Group Share- stories 

Homework
 

 

 

*Procedural Mini-Lesson: Responding Meaningfully to Your Partner (asking focused questions, etc.)  

 

Focus Lesson I: Qualities of Leads taught with mentor texts
 

Group Share- stories

Homework-leads worksheet  

*Procedural Mini-Lesson: Continue Focus on Necessary Routines to Sustain WorkshopFocus Lesson J: Writing leads-students write three different leads for their story. Group Share-favorite leads  

Assessment #2-completition of writing leads

Group Share- favorite lead 

Homework

Week 3

*Procedural Lessons as needed for individual classroom.Focus Lesson K: Using quotations (mid-workshop teaching point p.    

Homework

 

 

Focus Lesson L: Qualities of Endings taught with mentor texts (Calkins p. 93) Group Share-   

Homework-endings worksheet

 

 

Focus Lesson M: Writing endings-students write three different leads for their story.Group Share-favorite ending Homework-  

 

Lesson N: Conventions mini-lesson as neededGroup Share-favorite ending Homework-as needed if progress is not far enough  

 

Focus Lesson O: Publish story with revised lead and ending.Group Share-favorite ending Homework-as needed   

 

Week 4

Publishing Party Assessment #3-assess final piece for seed idea, specific details, lead, ending, and general mechanics (rubric to follow)

At this point, fifth grade moves to Raising the Quality of Narrative Writing and fourth grade works with Timeline Strategy

 

     

* Suggested topics for procedural mini-lessons

Resource: Lucy Calkins-Units of Study for Teaching Writing Grades 3-5

 

Yahoo has a user group for teachers that use Units of Study 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnitsofStudy/

 

 
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