Monday, August 12, 2013

A Year Long Writing Guide


Writing is one of those subjects that is taking a backseat to math and reading.  It should be a major part of the curriculum since it is how students express themselves and demonstrate their knowledge of the standards.  Writing is the first subject I plan each year so it doesn't get overtaken by the subjects that have test scores tied to it.  Each unit is planned with Common Core Writing and ELA standards.  Then other Common Core standards are pulled into each unit.  This way several standards are able to be taught in multiple subjects.  I have created Common Core ELA guides to help organize my ELA standards.

Common Core Connections - Grade 1 
Common Core Connections - Grade 3
Common Core Connections - Grade 4

Here is my plan each year:

Weeks 1-3 - Poetry Unit - This is a great way to get students creativity flowing without having to worry about all of the rules.  Students focus more on word choice and ideas in poetry.  Poetry is also a quick and easy way to get a bulletin board up for Back to School and Open House nights. Since poetry assignments (both reading and writing) are shorter you can get grades quickly.  If you need a unit on teaching poetry check out these two:

Poetry Unit - Second Grade 

Poetry Unit - Third Grade 

Coming Soon - Upper Elementary Poetry Unit

Weeks 4-8 - Personal Narrative Unit - Writing personal narratives is an excellent way for your students to learn about you, and tell about themselves.

Unit available soon for grades 2-6 at

Weeks 9-15 - Fiction Narrative Writing Unit - Now that you have the ideas, word choice, and narrative organization down, it is time to combine these into a fiction narrative.  This is always a fun unit to teach and the students really enjoy being creative.  If you need a unit for writing Fiction Narratives check out:

Writer's Workshop - Fiction Narrative

Weeks 16-20 - Informational Writing - By now you have taught several science and social studies units. Create a list of these topics for students to research.  A unit will be coming soon to help you teach this topic.  However, if you are ready to teach informational writing now, read this to help get you started:

A webpage I created to help guide teachers and students in writing informational pieces.

Weeks 21-25 - Persuasive Writing - This unit combines all of the skills taught in previous units.  It gives the students a chance to show their thoughts and feelings and support it with what they have learned.  A persuasive writing unit will be available soon at

Weeks 26-29 - Writing Dramas - Too often dramas (plays) get overshadowed each year.  The new Common Core standards stresses an importance on understanding dramas.  A great way to get students involved in writing dramas is to allow for performances.  To help reach all students offer a variety of ways to perform: live, videotaped, or use apps for performances (Puppet Pals and Puppet Pals 2 are great apps for those students whose fear of public speaking keeps them from showing their best.)

Weeks 30-36 - Writer's Workshop - Student Choice - Allow students to choose any of the writing genres taught this year and write what they want.  By now your students know your writing routine so the class can handle everyone being on a different page.  Plus most of the standardized testing is behind you!


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