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K-5 Writing Units of Study Training. September 13, 2013. Presentation Link: http://nwgaresa.com/resources/. Housekeeping Reminders. B R E A K S. L U N C H. LOT. TCRWP NUGGETS as we begin….

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K 5 writing units of study training

K-5 Writing Units of Study Training

September 13, 2013

Presentation Link: http://nwgaresa.com/resources/

K 5 writing units of study training

Housekeeping Reminders










Tcrwp nuggets as we begin
TCRWP NUGGETS as we begin…

  • A “think tank” for the past 30 years that is committed to continually researching and improving their practices.

  • Project staff that “stand on each other’s shoulders” each Thursday to study together and gain shared knowledge.

  • Long-lasting partners with schools in the US and the world (500 schools now to 25,000 overall).

  • Staff development organization founded and directed by Lucy Calkins (also Professor of Children’s Literature, Teachers College, Columbia University).

Introductory activity table talk about writers workshop 5 min
Introductory ActivityTable Talk about Writers Workshop(5 min.)


Pig Trail



Activity 4 corners
Activity: 4 Corners

  • Instruction: Choose the corner that best fits your current belief. Discuss and select a person in the group to report out.

  • I believe that children need to learn to read first.

  • I believe that children need to learn to write first.

  • I believe there is not an empirical order to the acquisition of reading and writing.

  • This thinking is new to me so I am not sure I know what I believe and would like to know more.

Research base
Research Base

  • Writing to Read

  • Write First!


  • Have students write about the texts they read.

  • Teach students the writing skills and processes that go into creating text.

  • Increase how much students write.

Funded by Carnegie Corporation Advancing Literacy


Writing first by peter elbow 5 7 min
Writing First! by Peter Elbow (5-7 min.)

  • At your table, read the article and find “why’s” for the author’s belief statement that “children need to learn to write first.”

  • TTYP to compare your findings and prepare to share as a whole group.


Instructional shifts ccgps ela
Instructional Shifts: CCGPS (ELA)

  • Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction and informational texts

  • Reading and writing grounded in evidence from text

  • Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary

Cd rom folders
CD-ROM Folders

Assets (+ 14 folders)

Resources (301 files)

Digging into the materials take 15
Digging Into the Materials(Take 15…)

  • How is the material organized?

  • What do you like?

  • What features will (already do) assist you in teaching?

Writing bottom line conditions
Writing: Bottom Line Conditions

  • Writing needs to be taught like any other basic skill, with explicit instruction and ample opportunity for practice.

  • Children deserve to write for real purposes, to write the kinds of texts that they see in the world and to write for an audience of readers.

  • Writers write to put meaning on a page. Children invest themselves in their writing when they choose topics that are important to them.

Kit Source: A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop

Chapter 3 – p. 23

Writing bottom line conditions1
Writing:Bottom Line Conditions

  • Children deserve to be explicitly taught how to write.

  • Children deserve the opportunity and instruction to cycle through the writing process.

  • To write well, children need opportunities to read and to hear texts read, and to read as writers.

  • Children need clear goals and frequent feedback.

Understandings digging deeper
Understandings…Digging Deeper

  • Teach the WRITER, not the WRITING.

  • Study and emulate REAL writers.

  • Teach kids to EXPLODE the moment.

  • Keep multiple pieces of writing “in progress” (flash drafts).

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Understandings digging deeper1
Understandings…Digging Deeper

  • Start each year with Narrative Writing.

  • Teach students the power of VOLUME and INDEPENDENCE.

  • Write with students.

  • Write for REAL purposes.

  • Don’t expect significant impact unless writing is a SCHOOLWIDE PRIORITY.

Whole group discussion
Whole Group Discussion

What do you think?

Reflection activity take a few 5 min
Reflection Activity: Take a few…(5 min.)

  • Create a timeline of memorable points from your life…asa WRITER!

  • Using phrases or key words, place the + points above the line and – points below the line.

Now write 5 min
Now write…(5 min.)

  • Using your timeline, choose one + or - point from your timeline and begin a personal narrative piece of writing.

  • Quick Talk with a Partner – Write – Pair/Share

  • EXPLODE the moment!

Be a ski instructor
Be a Ski Instructor!

Importance of the Teacher’s WNB

“Write with Students”

Let the children see you as an author as well.


* Enthusiasm

* Language


* Tools

Writing Workshop The Essential Guide

By Fletcher & Portalupi page 4

Let s take a peek inside a teacher s writing notebook
Let’s take a peek inside a teacher’s writing notebook…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZE3_j6a59w

Approaches to writing activity
Approaches to Writing Activity

  • Instructions: Read about the three approaches listed below. Then remove graphic organizer from handout (last page) and do individually for a “turn and talk partner” discussion at tables. Volunteers to share out.

    • “free to be me” approach

    • “assigned task” approach

    • “demonstrate, scaffold, release to write” approach


Dsr emphasis
DSR Emphasis

  • Helps students develop repertoire of skills for each stage of the writing process:

    • Demonstrate process writers use depending on type of writing studied

    • Scaffold students to practice steps in the process

    • Release students for independently using repertoire of strategies by writing without support

  • Provides opportunities for differentiation.

Harvesting info to differentiate writing pathways chapter 4
Harvesting Info to DifferentiateWriting Pathways, Chapter 4

  • Collect baseline data (on demand assessments) to study where students are and where they need to go.

  • Have norming meetings to assess student work and use what is learned to inform teaching.

  • Adjust teaching based on data and know that minilessons are “already multilevel.”

  • Teach responsively to address problems (conferring and small group instruction).

The writing process 3 5 min
The Writing Process (3-5 min.)

  • On a sticky note, create YOUR visual of the writing process.

  • Then table share.

  • Prepare to whole group share.

The writing process 3 5
The Writing Process (3-5)

  • Rehearsal/Prewriting

  • Drafting

  • Revision

  • Editing

  • Publishing

  • Celebrating

Kit Source: A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop

Chapter 4 – pp. 32-37

Rehearsal and the writing process
Rehearsal and The Writing Process

  • Vary approach by genre and focus:

    • Literary (read with questions in mind)

    • Narrative (think of a person, place, or thing)

  • Teach strategies for generating ideas.

  • Weigh possible structures:

    • Narrative: mentally replay event and capture initial action or dialogue

    • Informational: tour guide of topics with overview to help readers anticipate where tour will lead

  • Can become writing recycled from revision.

Drafting and the writing process
Drafting and The Writing Process

  • Is an “early” product.

  • Is less strategic.

  • Is “playing in clay, not inscribing in marble.”

  • Impacts powerful writing when “full of one’s subject and keeping one’s eye on that subject.”

  • Is a trial effort and when written quickly, fosters a writer’s willingness to revise.

Revision and the writing process
Revision and The Writing Process

  • Is an “improved” product.

  • Means to “resee and reconsider” through various lenses.

  • Look at writer’s goals.

  • Look for qualities (from studying a mentor text) brought into writing.

  • Note: Not much productive revision in grade 3 but by grade 5 students mull over questions and use graphic organizers.


Revision Video Link:

Editing and the writing process
Editing and The Writing Process

  • Is a “final” product.

  • Is done along the way via minilessons, mid-workshop teachings, share sessions, and homework assignments.

Publishing and the writing process
Publishing and The Writing Process

  • Calls for decision making by teacher

    • Am I a copy editor making all corrections?

    • PRO: easier for others to read

    • CON: not a reflection on writer’s independence

      • Reminder: Put “next-to-final draft” in portfolio

Teaching Channel Video Clip: “Making Students into Better Writers”


Celebrating and the writing process
Celebrating and The Writing Process

  • Make public by spotlighting

    • Gallery Walk

    • Small Group Fridays (students as teaching experts)

  • Use precise and specific compliments

Can you think of other examples?

The writing cycle

The Writing Cycle

“I want children to plan and draft their writing, anticipating the day they’ll revise it and, better yet, anticipating the day they’ll send the text out into the world. …I look for indications that the version of the writing process that I imagine for them matches what they can do with only a little support. I want to see that children are productive, engaged, and purposeful throughout the entire process.”

Lucy Calkins

A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop, Intermediate Grades, p. 37

Writing pathways assessment tools a powerfully practical resource
Writing Pathways: Assessment Tools“a powerfully practical resource”

  • 13 chapters about the Assessment System (important guidance)

  • On-Demand Assessment Prompts

  • Writing Checklists

  • Student Writing Samples

  • Learning Progressions

Speaking of learning progressions an activity
Speaking of Learning Progressions… An Activity

  • Refer to pp. 178-181 in Writing Pathways (Grades K-5) from your kit (also as a handout) z .

  • At your table, read the sample student writing and use the Narrative Learning Progression Chart (handout or in Writing Pathways’ book) to:

    • assess the student’s writing development

    • Answer the question: “How are learning progressions different from scope and sequence documents?”

  • Prepare to share with table partners.

Narrative LP Chart/Sample Student Writing Handout

Why learning progressions

Why learning progressions?

“What students are expected to know and be able to do at a given grade and content area describes learning horizontally. Learning progressions, on the other hand, describe learning vertically and show a sequence along which students can move from beginning learner to advanced learner. Consequently, student learning is viewed as a progression along a path that connects knowledge, concepts, and skills or the big ideas—the essence of concepts/processes.”

Bellwood-Antis School District Bellwood, PA


As compared to scope and sequence

As compared to Scope and Sequence

Scope is defined as “a clearly stated set of K-12 learning objectives that reflects local, state, and national expectations. Sequence is the order in which those objectives are taught.” (Nichols, Shidaker, Johnson, & Singer, 2006)

Often scope and sequence will provide information as to what students should master at each grade for a given content area; however, scope and sequence charts do not always provide information designed to help teachers understand where students are in their learning relative to the curricular aim or goal.

In addition scope and sequence charts may not always be organized in such a way that teachers can clearly visualize the intersections along the road to learning.

Lp continued take home
LP Continued . . . Take Home

  • Information (pp. 124-127)

  • Opinion(pp. 82-85)


Kit Source:

Writing Pathways (Grades K-5), Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions

Provisioning a writing workshop routines and rituals
Provisioning a Writing Workshop“Routines and Rituals”

  • Dedicated Writing Time

    • Four days a week for 45-60 min.

  • Room Arrangements

    • Meeting Area : “Huddles” on the rug for mini-lessons (with chart paper and anchor charts)

    • Work Area (writing and conferring):

      • Teacher teaching (10 min.)

      • Students writing (40 min.)

      • Supports “long stretches of writing” by students; movement among each other to confer; tables forgo chairs; clustering to leave space; partners sitting beside each other

    • Writing Center: Resources (i.e., books on writing well, grammar guides, dictionaries, thesauruses)

A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop, Chapter 5

Provisioning a writing workshop cont
Provisioning a Writing Workshop (cont.)

  • Materials

    • Notebooks:vary and leave choice to children, steer away from spirals (“required” feel), personalize (collages)

    • Folders and Paper: 2-pocket for storing materials, first half of unit writing in notebook and second half on draft paper, use one side of paper only, white lined paper, after celebration clean out folder for next unit study

    • Writing Utensils: pens but have pencils around and toolboxes to replenish on tables, date work and have stamps on hand, post-it notes, colored pens, staples, stapler, tape

Provisioning materials cont
Provisioning – Materials (cont.)

  • Partners: not ability based, designate Partner 1 and Partner 2 (or Buddy 1 and Buddy 2) as audience for each other’s work, new partner at start of new unit

  • Exemplar Texts: “Writers need to read widely, deeply, ravenously, and closely.”

    • Read aloud can be used for dozens of minilessons.

  • Word Walls: encourages spelling correctly, add 5 new words each week, can be moved on/off, source of phonetic lessons

  • Charts:anchor charts (teaching points), one day charts, make with students, use big skill or goal as “heading” names, use visuals, keep charts current and up for reference by students

The architecture of the minilesson
The Architecture of the MiniLesson

“…intervals (10 minutes long) for explicit, brief instruction in skills and strategies that then become part of a writer’s ongoing repertoire to be drawn on as needed.”

(Guide, Chapter 7, p. 60-61)

  • Connection

  • Teaching

  • Active Engagement

  • Link

Connection the minilesson
Connection (The MiniLesson)

  • Rally the students for the lesson.

  • Recruit students to recall work that they have done prior to this lesson, which provides context for the lesson.

  • Share tiny excerpts of student work and vignettes from working with students.

  • Share a story that becomes a metaphor for the lesson.

  • End with a CLEAR Teaching Point:

    • “what” (content) and “how” (strategy)

    • Example: Today we are going to talk about…

  • Apply cautionary advice:

    • Avoid barrage of questions to students

    • Avoid assigning (i.e., “Today I want you to do…”)

Teaching the minilesson
Teaching (The MiniLesson)

  • Demonstration

    • Sequentially structured like a “how to text” or “step-by-step process”

    • “Write/Think” in real time

    • Used in 80% of minilessons

  • Guided Practice

    • Walk through a process so coaching allows students to do same without support

  • Explanation/Example

    • State strategy and show example

    • Use Mentor Texts/Read Alouds

  • Inquiry

    • Starts with question

    • Use in studying example of good work

    • Use in contrasting effective and ineffective examples

Active engagement what did you notice
ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT: What did you notice?

Active engagement the minilesson
Active Engagement (The MiniLesson) What did you notice?

  • Must be 100%.

  • Give students chance to practice what’s taught.

  • Be specific about what students are trying out.

  • Make sure prompts are simple:

    • What happened first?

    • What do you see?

  • Encourage students to do both (speak and listen) in “turn and talk.”

  • Avoid predictable problems:

    • Teacher: the minilesson becomes a maxilesson

    • Student: the real work doesn’t get done

Link what did you notice
LINK:: What did you notice? What did you notice?

Link the minilesson
Link (The MiniLesson) What did you notice?

  • Is shortest part

    • Reiterates teaching point

    • Links to previous learning

    • Refers students to their toolkit of strategies (use anchor chart)

    • Time to release students with “off you go”

Management system

Management System What did you notice?

“Who doesn’t have trouble with classroom management? How could it not be tricky to build an environment in which 20 or 30 youngsters each pursues his or her own important project as a writer, working within the confines of a small room, each needing his or her own mix of silence and collaboration, time and deadlines, resources, and one another?”

Managing the minilesson
Managing the Minilesson What did you notice?

  • Convening for . . . attention getting signal, countdown with compliment as transition (up to 3 min.)

  • Management during. . .

    • Connection: invitation to talk

    • Demonstration: imagine in own minds as they “watch”

    • Active Engagement: have write in the air, turn and talk with partner

    • Note: Conduct explicit teaching about expectations (students knowing “their jobs”)

  • Sending students off . . . with variations like disperse one cluster at a time, have start writing on rug, or assign writing spots where students return to write.

Architecture of the conference
Architecture of the Conference What did you notice?


    • Individual

      • Aim for 3 a day (4-5 min. each)

    • Small Groups

      • Varies

      • Improvise based on student signals

Refer to Chapter 8, pp. 70-72 in Guide.

Video conference
VIDEO (Conference) What did you notice?

The architecture of a conference
The Architecture of a Conference What did you notice?

  • Research

  • Decide

  • Teach

  • Link


Research the conference
Research (The Conference) What did you notice?

  • Begin with an open ended question to invite the student to talk.

  • Look at the student’s writing to gain a deeper understanding.

  • Learn what the student as writer plans to do next.

  • Help the child articulate and explain his or her intentions.

  • Make sure to pursue more than one line of questioning.

Decide the conference
Decide (The Conference) What did you notice?

  • Choose one teaching point that will help the writer become better.

  • Teach every student to become someone who has intentions for his or her writing, assesses, sets a course, and acts deliberately.

  • Try to rally the child to take on a new intention and then equip the child to realize that intention.

  • Teach toward growth always—and eventual independence.

Teach the conference
Teach (The Conference) What did you notice?

  • Follow the architecture of a minilesson

    • Connect: Be explicit.

    • Teach: Use one of four methods.

    • Active Involvement: Nudge student to begin.

    • Jot conferring notes as you go.

  • Teach and coach, reducing the scaffolding as you work together.

Link the conference
Link (The Conference) What did you notice?

  • Step back and name what the writer has done that can be replicated in the draft and another piece of writing.

  • Clarify the work the writer still needs to do.

  • Repeat the teaching point.

  • Make sure the writer leaves wanting to write.

Unwrapping the units vertical
Unwrapping the Units (Vertical) What did you notice?

  • Looking at expectations for student writers across the K-5 Continuum

Bend I

or “part” of unit’s

instructional pathway

Bend I

White Handout

(Partial Unit Table of Contents)

K 5 writing units of study training

“Although it is entirely reasonable to plan a detour in your unit of study, I want to advise you against stretching out a unit to longer than six weeks. That is, if you do bring some supportive instruction into a unit, lop off the last bend. Always, the most sophisticated work in a unit is what comes in the final stretch. Youngsters need to be finished with a chunk of work and to have the chance to get a fresh start on some new work.” Writing Pathways, Chapter 4, p. 34

Narrative writing unit 1 bends
Narrative Writing: Unit 1 Bends your unit of study, I want to advise you against stretching out a unit to longer than six weeks. That

Unwrapping the unit grade level activity
Unwrapping the Unit (Grade Level) your unit of study, I want to advise you against stretching out a unit to longer than six weeks. That Activity

  • Take a look at the first unit of your grade level for the following:

    ❸… ❷...❶

a-ha moments or new learning

points of validation

question or concern

  • As a table group, identify your 3-2-1’s and have a volunteer jot these down to share.

Web resources to support the k 5 writing units of study
Web Resources to Support the your unit of study, I want to advise you against stretching out a unit to longer than six weeks. That K-5 Writing Units of Study

  • Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (Check Facebook and Twitter for latest updates/webinars.)

    • http://readingandwritingproject.com/

  • Heinemann

    • http://www.heinemann.com/authors/430.aspx

  • National Writing Project

    • http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource_topic/teaching_writing

  • ReadWriteThink

    • http://www.readwritethink.org/

  • Teaching Channel

    • https://www.teachingchannel.org

Needs assessment evaluation
Needs Assessment/Evaluation your unit of study, I want to advise you against stretching out a unit to longer than six weeks. That

Blue Handout