Writing Unit #1: Crafting True Stories

Dear Parents,
Each month I will post an overview of each of the writing/reading/math units so that you will know what your children up to during the day. Each reading and writing unit is split up into three parts. I will often also include a few things you can do at home to support them during the different units.

This month, in writing, I am working to get our young writers to be invested in writing workshop. We are spending time establishing the routines of third-grade writing workshop.

In the first part of this month the students are looking through examples of third grade writing to imagine the kind of writing they want to write and set goals for themselves. They will learn ways to generate personal narrative stories. We will use mentor texts, checklists and rubrics to help us ramp up our own writing. This will help them improve their volume, stamina, and attention to craft and conventions.

The second part of this month will be spent helping students see the differences in keeping a writer’s notebook versus a writing folder. They will select one of their stories to develop by story-telling over and over again. This will support them in trying out different ways the story might go, including drafting different leads. Time spent furiously writing on their drafts will allow them more time on revision (which is very different then in 2nd grade). Through the use of Karen Hesse as a mentor the students will investigate how to glean ideas (dialogue, thoughts, feelings, etc) from her writing to add to their own drafts.

The third part of the month emphasizes independence and initiative. The students will begin drafting a new story applying all that they just discovered during the last few weeks of writing workshop with independence this time. This time they will be going through the writing process more quickly to become more fluent in the process. They will then choose between the two pieces they write to determine which is the best to be revised and edited for publication.

We will end the unit with a writing celebration where they will invite other students to our classroom to read and admire their hard work as third-grade writers.

As parents, here are a few things you can do at home to support them during this unit:
-Help them see stories in their every day lives. Point at small moments that happen that they could write about during writing workshop (ie. when the dog ran away with your shoe, when your child’s ice cream falls off the cone).
-When reading together point out crafts the author uses that you appreciate that they could include in their own writing (ie. the way the author describes the setting using metaphors or the word choices the author makes).

-Miss Z

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