In Part 1 of this blog, we offered planning and pacing suggestions for K-2 teachers who are implementing the Being a Writer program. Here, we provide pacing guidelines for the teachers of grades 3-6. We first share general information related to the program’s design and then offer specific recommendations for implementing the program in classrooms where students take summative writing assessments in the spring.
In grades 3-6, the Being a Writer program consists of nine units of instruction:
Units 1 and 2
Unit 1 (The Writing Community) and Unit 2 (The Writing Process) should be taught in order at the beginning of the year.
The genre units focus on personal and fictional narrative, expository nonfiction (informative writing), functional nonfiction (explanatory writing), opinion writing (grades 3-5), argumentative writing (grade 6), and poetry. The genre units may be taught in any order, although we recommend that the expository nonfiction unit (and the argumentative writing unit in grade 6) be taught later in the year.
Unit 9, the last unit, is taught at the end of the year to help the students reflect on their growth as writers and as members of the classroom writing community.
The units outlined above comprise 30 weeks of instruction, which allows time to:
A grade-level specific Sample Calendar is provided in the Introduction of the Being a Writer Teacher’s Manual (Volume 1). You might refer to the Sample Calendar as you make your long-range writing plan for the year.
New state standards commonly emphasize three genres of writing including narrative, informative/explanatory and opinion/argumentative. Accordingly, summative writing assessments may assess students in one or more of these three genres. Below are a few guiding questions you might ask yourself as you plan your instruction and an example of how the instruction could be paced throughout the year to ensure that students are well prepared for the demands of your state’s summative writing assessment.
When thinking about long-range writing plans for the year, you might consider the following questions:
One district answered the guiding questions as follows:
Given the above information, the Being a Writer units for Grade 4 might be paced as follows:
Take a few moments to answer the guiding questions and review the Sample Calendar for your grade level. Based on your answers to the guiding questions and the information gleaned from the Sample Calendar, how might you pace the Being a Writer units this year for your grade level?
We invite you to share your planning successes, reflections, and questions so we can all learn together. Happy planning!
Co-authored with Jackie Jacobs