I’m plowing through the questions Katie asked, last week, methodically. Here are the two I’m going to answer today:
Which genres do you teach during the year?
Approximately how long do you spend in each genre and how many published pieces do you expect from them at the end of it?
Here’s a list of all of the genres I’ve taught as a fourth and fifth grade teacher, along with an approximate amount of time I’ve spent on each one:
• Small Moment Stories (Launching W.W.): 3 weeks
• Personal Narrative: 4 weeks
• Writer’s Notebooks: 2 – 4 weeks
• Personal Essay: 4 weeks
• Literary Essay: 4 weeks
• Persuasive Letters: 2 – 3 weeks
• Short Fiction: 4 – 5 weeks
• Journalism: 2 – 3 weeks
• Conventions: 4 weeks
• Test-Taking: 2 weeks
• Memoir: 4 weeks
• Poetry: 4 – 6 weeks
• Independent Writing Project: 2 weeks
The items towards the top of my list have tended to come first, while the items at the bottom have tended to come towards the end of the school year. I’ve changed around the placement of literary essay, persuasive letters, and journalism depending on the year, but they usually happen in the winter months.
With the exception of Poetry, Journalism, and an Independent Writing Project, I require each student to publish one piece of writing. Poetry is always done as a portfolio assignment. When I taught a Journalism Unit, which was just once, I recall publishing a class newspaper where each student had 1 – 3 pieces included in the newspaper depending on the “beat” they were assigned to for the unit. An Independent Writing Project’s final product depends on the nature of the project.
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).