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4 th Grade. Catawba County Schools Writing Plan . Components of Writing Plan. NCSCOS Objectives Essential Questions Activities/Strategies Resources Assessment Rubric Writing Products Portfolios. Taken from: NCSCOS. Personal/Imaginative Narratives Journal Entries

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Catawba county schools writing plan l.jpg

4th Grade

Catawba County SchoolsWriting Plan

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Components of Writing Plan

  • NCSCOS Objectives

  • Essential Questions

  • Activities/Strategies

  • Resources

  • Assessment

  • Rubric

  • Writing Products

  • Portfolios

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Taken from:


Personal/Imaginative Narratives

Journal Entries

Research Reports

Business Letters:

Letters of Request

Letters of Complaint

Letters to the Editor





Learning Logs

Diary Entries



4th Grade

Writing Genres/Products

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Writing is

all around us…

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  • 4 published pieces will be collected in the Writing Portfolio

  • Each nine weeks one piece of writing will be taken to the publishing stage and submitted to the portfolio

  • Each of the final four published pieces should represent a variety of genres of writing

  • Students should be involved in the decision making process as to which pieces will be included in their writing portfolio

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Short Reports

What is a probe?- “to search into; examine thoroughly; investigate”; Probes are notebooks (MEAD marble composition books) that are bound together and used for writing research reports on various topics. These will be kept all year.

  • Probes

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Examples of Probes

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Writing Directions



Zoo fun Kid recipes

Recipe for procedural writing

Creature Recipes

Purposeful Writing Ideas/Activities

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Poetry as a Writing Genre

5 Ws Poem

Poem A Week

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Business Letters

Lesson plans for writing letters

Ideas for writing letters

Writing Business Letters lesson plan

Letters of Complaint

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Response Journals

Journal Writing Tips

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Writing Directions/



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Learning Logs

Right Side of the Notebook

Notes on a:






small group or large group discussion

collaborative group process

a copied excerpt of a text

Interactive Notebooks

I.N. Examples

Rubric for Grading I.N.

I.N. Powerpoint

I.N. Information

Left Side of the Notebook

  • Paraphrase or clarify items

  • Enter a drawing, photo, sketch, or magazine picture that illustrates the concept, ideas, or facts

  • Pose questions about the information

  • Form and express an opinion

  • Predict outcomes or next steps

  • Create a metaphor that captures the essence of the information/issue

  • Write a reflection on the information or experience

  • Find a quote that connects to the concept; record it and explain your rationale

  • Make connections between the information/text and your own life, another text, and/or the world

  • Create a mind map that captures the main topic and key concepts and supportive detail

  • Create an acronym that will help you to remember the information covered

  • Make connections to the content/processes of other courses

Interactive Notebooks

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Learning Logs continued

What are learning logs?

Writing Focus for Learning Logs

Learning Logs and Double Entry Journal Explanations

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Diary Entries

Have students write in the Dear Diary…

format. They can write the entries in their Writer’s Notebook, or on special paper. They can write the entries to a scenario that you have written on the board, or in a center. They can also write to a character in the book they are reading, or one from history.



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Note writing lesson plan

Thank you notes

Note taking tips for students

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Writing an Autobiography tips

Mini Unit

Technology Autobiography

Alphabet Autobiography Book

Auto biography poem

Biography Maker

Student Biographers

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Lucy CalkinsUnits of StudyWritingGrades 3-5

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What does Writing Workshop look like?

Mini Lesson

Independent Writing/Collecting Entries

(Writer’s Notebooks)



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Narrative Writing

  • Personal Experiences

  • Small Moments in time

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Grades 3-5

Lucy Calkins Units of Study


  • Connection

  • Teaching (Mini Lesson)

  • Active Engagement

  • Link

  • Writing

  • Mid-workshop Teaching Point

  • Conferring

  • Sharing

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  • Links what has been done to what is expected to be learned in the present lesson

  • May serve as a quick review of previous learning

  • Explicitly name what will

    be taught/learned

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  • Has a Clear Objective - Teaching Point

  • States the Purpose Explicitly

  • Teacher Models – Demonstrate

  • May Provide Guided Practice

  • Explains and Gives Examples

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Mini Lesson

The mini-lesson is where the teacher can make a suggestion to the whole class...raise a concern, explore an issue, model a technique, reinforce a strategy. After observing students’ writing and identifying concerns, ask yourself: "What is the one thing I can suggest or demonstrate that might help most?"   A mini-lesson generally lasts 5-10 minutes. Try to choose a teaching point that you feel would benefit the majority of the class.

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Use appropriate spacing

Spelling phonetically

Spell "High Frequency" words correctly

Spell using analogies

Capitalize I, names

Capitalize beginnings of sentences

Ending punctuation marks

Quotation marks


Use of "and"

Using appropriate grammar

Using paragraphs

Recognizing and correcting run-on sentences

Sample chart created during a Mini-Lesson

Getting an idea-making lists-things you love-writing from emotion-experiences-moments in time

Adding detail

Adds responses/telling the inside story

Choice of words/ descriptive language

Replacing tired words

Great beginnings

Wow endings

One moment in time


"I wonder" writings

Something ordinary

Staying on focus

Working with a seed idea

Developing a plan for writing

Finding your voice

Genre studies:-poetry-informational reports-letters-autobiographies-biographies

Mini-Lesson Ideas



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Active Engagement

  • At the end of the mini-lesson students are given the opportunity to try-out the lesson through sharing with a partner

  • At times students may watch other students trying something out

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Before sending student off to write independently, restatethe teaching point and encourage students to use the skill taught in the mini-lesson in their ongoing work for the day.

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Writing Time

  • Students write

  • Teacher confers with individual students or small groups

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When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.~Enrique Jardiel Poncela~

The students need to understand that there will be times when they can “free write” for themselves, but there will also be times when their writing needs to be in a form that is easily read by others. This is the published form of writing. The students will have many “unfinished” pieces throughout the year.

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Independent Writing/Collecting Entries

  • After the mini lesson, students work in their Writer's Notebook to collect entries that may later become published pieces of writing.  The total writing time lasts for about 35 minutes, but during that time some students may be involved in conferences with the teacher or with their peers.

  • Students choose entries in their notebooks to take into "draft form."  It is these carefully selected pieces of writing that will be taken through the process of editing and revising so that they can be published and shared with others.  All entries in the Writer's Notebook do not become published pieces of writing.  All published writing is added to each student's Writing Portfolio, and some pieces will even be put into student created books.

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(Mid-workshop teaching point)

Sometimes you will find it necessary to stop and teach/re-teach a concept/skill during the writing workshop- this will be necessary when you are seeing several children struggling with the same issues

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  • The teacher may meet with students individually.

  • The teacher may meet with small groups of students with similar needs

  • The teacher takes the time to record her compliment and teaching points

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  • While students are involved in independent writing, use this time to confer with your writers.  Take notes during conferences to document students' progress and to plan future mini-lessons.  During this time the teacher may:

  • Listen to students read their entries aloud

  • Help students decide what they want to say

  • Provide feedback

  • Re-teach skills taught during mini lessons

  • Teach necessary new skills

  • Reinforce a writer's strengths

  • Give writers new ways of thinking

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Conferring Teaching Points

  • The teacher looks for what the student knows.

  • The teacher looks for what the student needs to know next

  • The teacher asks herself what is the most important thing that she can teach this student next?

  • The teacher must decide how she is going to teach the child

Conferences are conversations, not interrogations

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  • Students return to same place that they were for the mini-lesson.

  • The teacher may decide to restate the teaching point of the mini-lesson and share examples of student work.

  • The teacher may decide to

    introduce a new writing

    behavior that was observed.

  • Students are given opportunities

    to share their work

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  • At the end of writing workshop everyday, students are brought back together for a 5-10 minute group share and reflection.  When students sign up to share or are asked to share, they take a seat in our coveted "Author's Chair."  Sometimes a writer might come to the author's chair to ask for help or receive feedback from his or her classmates ("I like my story, but I can't think of a good title.").  The author might also want to share part of an entry of which he or she is especially proud.

  • During “many” group shares, each student gets a turn to share a small part of an entry, especially if you have asked students to try a particular new skill during the day's mini-lesson.

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Getting Ready for Writer’s Workshop

Getting Your Room and Yourself Ready -   Plans for 1st week – First Things First

  • Have a carpet large enough for everyone to sit with an assigned partner (A,B)

  • Arrange your room so students are in groups (this is needed for conferencing purposes and sharing materials)

  • Have baskets made up for each group (containing pencils, colored pencils, highlighters, tape, scissors, date stamps)

  •  Anchor charts on your walls as you make them with your class

  • Have writing folders with students names on them to house writing resources, rough drafts, and final copies 

  • Make sure you have Word Wall and mini offices available for student use

  •   Decide how you will record conferences and make appropriate paperwork

  •   Introduce parents to your writing program through newsletters, parent night, etc.

  •   Establish "writing territories" (place where children write independently) -  Decide on writing environment (lights dim, soft music)

  • Decide on transition procedures (song to go to the carpet, etc)

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Anchor Charts

  • Anchor charts are tools for students to use during Writers' Workshop and aid children in remembering procedures and expectations.  Charts should be made with the children and added to throughout the year. Anchor charts need to be posted in the classroom where they are easily accessible to students.

  • This is an example of an anchor chart used to teach children how to write a small moment story.

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Writer’s Notebook

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Writer’s Notebook Entries“Gathering Ideas”

  • Poetry

  • Family stories that we know

  • Writing generated from conversations we've had or have heard

  • Lists of people or place names of interest

  • Entries about things we care about

  • Things we wonder about

  • Celebrations or victories

  • Dreams

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Once a draft has been completed and students have conferenced with the teacher in the final step of the editing/revising process, students can choose a special themed paper on which to publish their final copy of the story.  The Writing Center should be stocked with a variety of decorated paper on which lines have been printed for students to write.

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  • The final product then becomes part of the students' Writing Portfolios.

  • 1 Final Product will be selected to be included in each student’s portfolio each nine weeks.

  • Each nine weeks’ final product for the portfolio should be from a different writing genre.

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Ideas for Supporting Writing

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Mini- Offices

Teaching Heart

writing mini offices

JMeacham's Mini Offices

Busy Teacher's Cafe

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Word Bags

Purpose: To prevent overuse of words and to encourage accelerated vocabulary.

Place a word on the bag and have the students

fill the bag with synonyms as they come across words in their reading.





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Word Closets

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Word Bank

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Link Chains



Sequencing Events

Accelerated Vocabulary

(synonyms, antonyms)

Life Cycles






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Picture Word Inductive ModelEmily Calhoun

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Picture Word Induction Model Research

In terms of general academic success, vocabulary knowledge is one of the best predictors of overall verbal intelligence, yielding correlations of .80 (Anderson & Freebody, 1981; Sternberg & Powell). Each word a student can comprehend and use appropriately adds to personal cognitive processing abilities. Plus, “one of the most consistent findings of educational research is that having a small vocabulary portends poor school performance” (Anderson & Nagy, 1992).

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