Elementary Instruction News V.2

Updates from the Elementary Instruction Department

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National Day on Writing

Why Writing?

People in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age write more than ever before for personal, professional, and civic purposes.

  • They write through text messages and IMs, they use video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even traditional pen and paper.
  • The social nature of writing invites people in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age to make meaning through composing.

New technologies expand the possibilities for composing in multiple media and for speaking to wider audiences than ever before and at a faster pace than ever before in our history.

  • Young people using forms of digital media are leading the way in new forms of composing.
  • Writers continue to learn how to write for different purposes, audiences, and occasions throughout their lifetimes.

Why a National Day on Writing?

In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, NCTE established October 20 as The National Day on Writing. The National Day on Writing

  • points to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university
  • emphasizes the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions, and
  • encourages Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.

Continue reading the article from the National Council of Teachers of English

National Day on Writing in SVUSD

What Is the National Day on Writing?

Every October 20, NCTE celebrates the importance, joy, and evolution of writing through a tweetup, using the hashtag #WhyIWrite and events hosted by thousands of educators across the country. Last year there were more than 60,000+ tweets with a reach of millions of people. The hashtag #WhyIWrite trended on Twitter all day long.

In order to showcase all the amazing writing happening in classrooms across Saddleback Valley Unified School District, we will also be using the hashtag #SVUSDWriters.

Instructional Coaches will be documenting why members of your school community write leading up to the National Day on Writing. Next month we will showcase all the amazing responses in our November Newsletter. Check in with your Instructional Coach to coordinate efforts to celebrate the National Day on Writing in SVUSD.

Link to SVUSD Writers Template

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Revised Writing Benchmark Assessment Calendar

Performance Task 1: Informative/Explanatory

  • Testing Window: October 17th-October 21st
  • Recommended Scoring Window: October 24th-October 28th
  • Illuminate Deadline: November 4th

Once again, your Instructional Coach is a resource and can help you design, plan, co-teach, or help you locate your writing resources on Haiku.
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Instructional Coach Corner

Ask an Instructional Coach


I am looking for a way to build my third grade students' writing stamina. Is there a strategy that you would suggest?

~ 3rd Grade SVUSD Teacher

Answer: One strategy I would recommend to increase writing stamina is called Pencils Moving from Doug Lemov’s book Teach Like a Champion 2.0. The goal of the strategy is to gradually increase students’ sustained writing time in order to develop the habit of writing productively for an extended amount of time. There are two expectations to the strategy; pencils should be moving the entire time and NO erasing. Set a classroom goal/challenge and graph their progress to not only increase motivation but so students can see how they are increasing their stamina over time. Start with posing a question or prompt after you have read a story or watched a science/social studies video. Tell the students that you will be giving them three minutes to write, then set the timer. Reinforce the writing using consistent language (“I need to see all pencils moving”) and non verbal reminders. Gradually increase the writing time each time you do the strategy until you meet your goal time and remember to record their progress. Depending on your class and grade level, you would modify the time accordingly.

For more information on building your students' writing stamina I recommend reading Doug Lemov’s Blog Notes.

Teaching Tip: Katie Wood Ray on building writers' stamina

Do you have a question for an Instructional Coach?

Please send us your questions and perhaps we will answer it in our next newsletter.

Connecting Writing to Science

NGSS Phenomenon Connections

The links below contain lesson ideas by grade level that will help you connect the new science standards to engaging phenomena.

Link to Power Learning Site

Kindergarten NGSS Phenomenon Connection

1st Grade NGSS Phenomenon Connection

2nd Grade NGSS Phenomenon Connection

3rd Grade NGSS Phenomenon Connection

4th Grade NGSS Phenomenon Connection

5th Grade NGSS Phenomenon Connection

6th Grade NGSS Phenomenon Connection