I attended the Literacy for All K-6 Northeast Literacy Conference here in Providence today. Specifically, I attended “Guided Writing in Small Group Settings,” which was led by Kerry Crosby, Heather Morris, and Helen Sisk. It was an informative workshop. Here are some of the highlights:
Guided Writing is an opportunity to provide explicit instruction to a small group of students with similar writing needs (not writing levels). These groups meet just once, making them similar to strategy lessons. However, they’re LONGER than strategy lessons since you’re literally guiding the writers in front of you through the steps to attain a writing principle over the course of 30-35 minutes. While you’re working with that small group, the rest of the class is engaged in independent writing. Guided Writing, like Guided Reading, is about small group instruction. Ideally, Guided Writing groups should have 4-6 students in them. Unlike Guided Reading, Guided Writing groups are based on need, not writing ability (read: heterogeneous grouping). Students use their own writing while they’re with the group. After the teacher delivers the writing principle and goes through the procedural steps, s/he confers with each student while the rest of the kids are working on their own writing.
I worked with three women to create a guided writing lesson plan: Marilyn from Mineola, Nicole from St. Louis, and Janet from Rochester. The lesson plan we created can be found at the top of this post (page 1) and at the bottom of this post (i.e., the fourth and fifth step of the procedures). I thought it might be helpful for you to see what something like this looks like. NOTE: The group members’ names are not on here. Instead, we used letters to identify students and the writing samples of theirs that we looked at today.
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).