Collaborative Circle Blog

Skills and Conventions: Reflecting on the Skill Practice Teaching Guide Lessons

The Skill Practice Teaching Guide, along with the accompanying Student Skill Practice Book, provides coverage of grade-level Common Core State Standards for language. It includes 30 mini-lessons in grammar, usage, and mechanics skills that can be used to supplement the skills instruction in the Being a Writer program.

Skill Practice Notes in the Being a Writer Teacher’s Manual alert you to instructional moments when a mini-lesson from the Skill Practice Teaching Guide might help strengthen your students’ writing.

  • At grades 1-2, most skill instruction in the core lessons occurs during the shared or modeled portions of the lesson.
  • At grades 3-6, most skill instruction occurs during the revision and proofreading phases of the writing process.

As you are planning for writing instruction, you might want to engage in the two reflection activities that follow. We recommend doing these activities with a partner or in grade level teams.

Prior to engaging in these reflection activities, take some time to review your students’ writing and jot down what you notice as areas of strength and areas of improvement related to skills and conventions knowledge.

ACTIVITY 1: Identify where the skills and conventions are taught in the Being a Writer lessons.

Step 1: Go to your Skill Practice Teaching Guide. Locate the “Skills Correlations to Being a Writer” table in the Introduction.

Step 2: Locate your current unit of instruction in the table. Notice the identified lessons and the weeks in which they occur.

Step 3: Review the mini-lessons and any prerequisite lessons noted at the top of the lesson overview page and determine whether your students would benefit from additional instruction or practice with these skills.

Step 4: Look at your current unit of instruction and locate the Skill Practice Notes. Consider when during the course of the unit you will integrate the additional skill practice mini-lesson(s).

ACTIVITY 2: Integrating   lessons that are not associated with a unit of instruction. 

Step 1: Go to your Skill Practice Teaching Guide. Locate the “Skills Correlations to Being a Writer” table in the Introduction.

Step 2: Identify any skills lessons that are not associated with a unit of instruction.

Step 3: Review those lessons that are not associated with a unit and note any prerequisite lessons. Consider the instruction provided in these lessons and whether your students would benefit from additional instruction or practice with those skills.

Step 4: Look across the units to determine where might be the best place to provide the instruction in these lessons.

Step 5: Place a self-stick note reminder.

Please share with us what you learned from these reflection activities! For me, it was gaining an understanding that the writing instruction in Being a Writer focuses on the content of the writing within the genre first and foremost. The skills and conventions are a means of getting the writing ready for the reader. Visit our Facebook Community page to share your reflections.