Classroom Connection

Kicking Off Unit #2

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A Note From Liz...

Wow! It's such a great feeling to talk with teachers and hear about all the celebrations you had with your students during writing 1st quarter. I love when you share stories and pictures of your successes with me! You have each worked so hard this year to dig into the new writing materials and now that you have one unit under your belt it's time to begin our next writing unit.

Please remember I am here as a resource for you. I'm happy to come in and teach a lesson, co-teach with you, help you gather resources, or meet with you to plan. Let me know what I can do for you!

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A New Type of Writing

This quarter grades 1-6 are embarking on a journey into a new type of writing. You are switching gears to informative or opinion/argument writing.

To help students become familiar with the writing you should consider sharing many samples of mentor texts to help students learn the structure of the writing. You might consider keeping a "Mentor Text Bin" in your classroom. This can be a great way for students to independently grab a book and study an author's craft and attempt it in their own writing.

You also received a mentor text book list from me during 1st quarter. If you would like another copy of the list, please email me.

New Students

Do you have any new students that did not take the on demand writing assessments at the start of the year? If so, please do what you can to give them the assessments ASAP. This is valuable data that will guide your daily instruction as well as aid you in tracking student growth.
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Reflecting on Writing Workshop

There is so much to remember about writing workshop! Use the questions below to reflect on your own classroom implementation and determine if there are any areas of your writer's workshop that can use refining. I'm happy to come in and support you with any of these points.

  • Are your materials set up in a way which allows students to independently access anything they need during writing time? Doing this will free you up to pull small groups and confer with students.

  • If you have writing folders, have you cleaned out the materials from 1st quarter so students have a fresh start for quarter 2? Perhaps you can start a separate folder to store all the pieces that didn't make it to publishing.

  • How will the student checklist be shared with students? It's important for students to articulate their next steps in writing. These can also be used to help students set writing goals.

  • When will student writing samples be shared with students? There are samples available in your Pathways book. It's powerful to show students exactly what they are aiming for early on in the unit.

  • Where will you post anchor charts so students can easily reference them? When your charts are posted students will be able to use them as they independently assess their next steps in writing. (You'll probably want to take down the charts you created during unit 1 that do not apply to unit 2. Put them in a safe place as they may be referenced later in the year)

  • Are your transitions during writing time short? Students should quickly prepare for writing and be able to quickly begin their writing. Sometimes providing a list of materials needed on the board can support students in getting their materials ready quickly.

  • Do you need to review some "What happens when..." with your students? What happens if my pencil breaks, my partner is absent, I left my writing notebook at home, I need more paper, I was absent yesterday, I need the teacher's attention, etc. Reviewing these with your students will allow them to take more ownership in being productive during writing time.
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Elizabeth Epley

Instructional Resource Specialist

Meadowview & Edgewood