units of study · writing workshop

Ruth & Units of Study.

Earlier today Stacey posted an introduction about units of study.  I’ll use Stacey’s post as a “mentor” for this one.  First my background:

I was first introduced to Writing Workshop through the All-Write Consortium, which is an organization dedicated to providing classroom teachers with professional development about the teaching of writing.  When the consortium began, they researched the teaching of writing, and landed on Writing Workshop (via TC) as the best way to teach students how to write.  Since then, All-Write has brought in numerous Heinemann, Stenhouse, and Scholastic speakers, some of which have been  past TC staff developers and have offered them free of charge for consortium schools.  Being a coach of one of these consortium schools has allowed me unlimited access to ALL OF THE TRAINERS!  (Lucky me, eh?)  With this + numerous professional books, I implemented writing workshop in my classroom.

I began teaching according to the Writing Workshop philosophy my first year of teaching and haven’t stopped.  I taught seventh grade language arts for four years and have coached k – 8 teachers for the past four years.  This year, in addition to my coaching duties I will teach one section of ninth grade English.

Wow — that was a little long-winded.  Now on to the units.  As a disclaimer, I must say this is ongoing and ever changing work for me.  The units of study seem to have a life of their own and grow and change each year.  Here’s an overview of what I taught when I was a middle school teacher:

  • Launching Writer’s Notebooks
  • Writing Prompt Genre Study
  • Memoir
  • Short Fiction
  • Literary Response Letters
  • Literary Essay
  • Poetry
  • Op-Ed
  • Feature Article
  • Group Multigenre Research Papers
  • Book Review
  • Multigenre Papers = Cumulative Project
  • Punctuation (sans Janet Angelillo)
  • Collaborating as Writers

Since then, in my work with teachers, I have had the opportunity to co-teach these units:

  • Launching Workshop at every grade K – 8
  • Poetry at every grade level K – 8
  • Personal Essays
  • Nonfiction Picture Books (K – 2)
  • Q & A books (kindergarten)
  • Small Moment Stories (K – 2)
  • Personal Narrative (3 – 5)
  • Revision (1 – 8 )
  • Persuasive Letters (3 – 6)
  • Persuasive Essays (8 )
  • Letters to the Editor (4 – 6)
  • Friendly Letter (2 – 4)
  • How To Writing (K – 3)

So there you have it . . . my background on units of study.  Perhaps an interesting post would be along the lines of how I developed these?

3 thoughts on “Ruth & Units of Study.

  1. I am a 2nd year teacher teaching at a new school this year. I have some ideas on a Writing Prompt Genre study. I am the only 7th grade teacher so I don’t have anyone to collaborate with. Could you please give some tips?


  2. I am teaching via workshop for the first time this year to 6, 7, 8th graders having been trained more traditionally in the past, so this is a revolution. Can you share what lessons comprised 7th grade Launching Workshop? I want to start right!! Also is the Writing Prompt Genre Study a study of how to tackle writing prompts?? Can you add on that too??
    Any read alouds at this level you’d recommend? I need all the help I can get.
    Thanks, Sheila


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