This Year’s Launching Unit

Yesterday was our day to work on Writing Workshop at our school’s Summer Institute. My colleagues and I revised our launching unit from last year since it was filled with too many collecting strategies. The calendar we put together is based-off of the work of Vopat, Davis & Hill, Calkins, Buckner, Fletcher, and Lyon.

Here’s what this year’s launching unit looks like (I flipped days 1 and 2 for my classroom.):

Day 1: Writing Workshop Walk Through (Vopat)

Day 2: Quick Publish Assessment: Write a true, one-time story

Days 3 & 4: Writers think about the kind of writer they are. (We left this open-ended so that each teacher could decide exactly how to tackle this.)

Day 5: Notebook Decoration

Day 6: Big talk about taking care of notebooks (Davis & Hill)

Day 7: Writers create entries with feeling by writing from the heart. One way they can do this is by creating a map of the heart and then using that map to help them write with depth of utmost importance. (We’ll also teach kids about plan boxes on this day.)

Day 8: Writers discover ideas for stories in unusual ways. One way to do this is by thinking about strong emotions, such as awe, joy, anger, embarrassment, etc. (M&M’s and Skittles Needed)

Day 9: Looking at Your Place (George Ella Lyon)

Day 10: Writers use strategies to help them craft small moment stories about their lives. One way to get started is by using the Seven Best & Four Worst Strategy. (Buckner)

Day 11: Writers gather artifacts using photographs or artifacts to help them write something new and distinct.

Day 12: Writers are experts about their lives. They can create an expert inventory by starting a “Things I Can Write About List.” (Davis & Hill)

Day 13: Writers choose and develop an entry from their writer’s notebook into a more polished piece of writing.

*Day 14: Writers develop the piece of writing…

*Day 15: Writers revise the piece of writing…

Day 16: Writers understand sentences must a subject, a verb, and a complete thought. (Writers also edit for GUMS.)

Day 17: STAMINA DAY –> Writers create their develop entry into a piece of writing.


*= These days are open-ended so that we can be responsive to what the students need in terms of a drafting and revision strategy for each day.