Collaborative Circle Blog

Starting the 2018–2019 School Year with Being a Writer

Being a Writer offers student-centered writing instruction with the dual goals of fostering students’ growth as skilled writers and as caring members of the community. The writing instruction integrates close reading of exemplar texts, critical thinking about texts, and authentic writing for various purposes and audiences.

Collaborative Classroom offers many resources to help you get your year of Being a Writer instruction off to a great start.

Understanding Being a Writer Instruction

The “A Typical Daily Lesson” and “Understanding the Program” sections in the Introduction of your Being a Writer Teacher’s Manual will give you a quick overview of the instruction at your grade level. Before you start the year,

  • Locate the “Typical Daily Lesson” section to learn about the Being a Writer lesson structure: Getting Ready to Write, Writing Time, and Sharing and Reflecting.
  • Locate the “Understanding the Program” section. If you teach grades K–2, read “The Beginning of Writing (K–2).” If you teach grades 3–6, read the “Writing Process, Genre, and Craft (3–6).”

Tips for Planning Being a Writer Instruction

As you think about starting the new school year we’ve put together some resources to help with your planning.

Use the resources in the Teacher’s Manual to help you plan.

The “Teaching the Program” section in the Introduction of your Being a Writer Teacher’s Manual tells you everything you need to know about teaching the program. Before you start the year, locate the “Teaching the Program” section; then go to the “Planning and Teaching the Lessons” subsection and use the suggestions below to guide your reading:

Unit Overview

Read the unit overview summary and identify the learning goals. Review the unit overview chart to gain an understanding of how the learning goals are taught across the weeks and days of the unit.

Week Overview

Review the week overview and identify the comprehension and social development focus for the week.

Daily Lessons

Identify the daily learning goals listed under “In this lesson, the students:”.

 Try out the Being a Writer Planning Tool

Use the Being a Writer Planning Tool for your grade (located on the Learning Hub) to support ongoing planning and reflection for each unit of instruction. 

Get to know your students as writers

Obtain a Beginning-of- Year Writing Sample. Read the guidance provided in Unit 1 of the Being a Writer Assessment Resource Book. This writing sample allows you to determine a baseline for each individual students’ writing ability. The information you gather from the students’ writing can help you determine your students’ current writing skills and can help you plan your instruction in the coming months.

Use the Conference Note (CN1) located in Unit 1 to learn about the students’ ideas and feelings about writing.

Continuing Your Learning

The Being a Writer Online Course (located on the Learning Hub) includes 6 modules that will help you gain a deeper understanding of the program. Modules include topics such as conferring, assessment, skills instruction, and lesson planning and facilitation.


The Being a Writer Facilitator’s Guide (located on the Learning Hub) provides 15 professional learning sessions for specific content needs. The “Elements of Effective Implementation Tool” located in the appendices can be used by teachers for self-reflection and by school leaders and instructional coaches to identify areas of implementation and professional learning support.


Blog Posts to Support Your Implementation

We regularly publish blog posts, which address specific questions or topics of interest to teachers implementing Being a Writer. See them all here, or check out a few of our favorites:

As you continue your journey with Being a Writer, stay connected with us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and resources. Or consider joining our Facebook Collaborative Classroom community group, where educators ask questions and share their experiences implementing their own caring communities. Learn more here.