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Units of Study

I noticed that 30% of the people (i.e., 27/89) who’ve taken our poll, thus-far, have said they’d like us to post more about units of study. However, since only a few people have commented, I’m not exactly sure what types of things people are wondering about units of study in Writing Workshop. So, I’ll do a general post, for now, and will look forward to getting more direction from the comments people post here.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve taught Writing Workshop, a la the T.C. Method, since my first year of teaching. Ruth and I both have used Lucy Calkins’s Units of Study in the classrooms we coach in and teach in, respectively. However, over the years we’ve both made the units our own, crafting new ones and tweaking the ones that Lucy and her colleagues have published.

A typical year for my students (be it in fourth or fifth grade) includes the following units of study:

  • A Launching Unit, which focuses on Writer’s Notebooks and on an entry students publish quickly. I truly believe that an emphasis on notebooks is a key part to helping kids become better writers since notebooks encourage kids to live like writers daily.
  • This quote reflects my belief when crafting my first unit of study, with my colleagues, each year:

    “We can’t give children rich lives, but we can give them the lens to appreciate the richness that is already there in their lives. Notebooks validate a child’s existence.”
    –Lucy Calkins, Living Between the Lines, 35

  • Personal Narrative
  • Personal Essay
  • Persuasive Letter Writing
  • Short Fiction/Picture Books
  • Literary Essay
  • Poetry
  • Memoir
  • I’ve also taught some other units, though they haven’t been taught every year in my classroom:

  • Journalism
  • Friendly Letter Writing
  • Independent Writing Projects
  • How-To Writing
  • Want to read more about any of these units? Just use the search box, located in the top right corner of our blog, to do a key word search for any unit of study. Or, feel free to go to our website, where you can find more resources for nearly every unit of study listed above. (Just use the left nav bar to find what you’re looking for over at the Two Writing Teachers Website.)

    Stacey Shubitz View All

    I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

    I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

    4 thoughts on “Units of Study Leave a comment

    1. Here is what I would love to hear more about. Can you talk a little about your experience with Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study? I am using it for the first time and, although I have lots of experience teaching writing, I would love to hear your feedback/tips about using it.

      Thanks!! You Rock! Your blog is so helpful and inspirational!!


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