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All posts by Art Jureller

September Lesson of the Month


September Lesson of the Month In building a foundation for writing, students need to understand the key concepts of each of the genres, from the planning frameworks to the techniques used by authors....
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Essays, Reports, and Response to Text – Workshop Resources


Essays, Reports, and Response to Text  Click here to download the resources.    
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May K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson: This month’s lesson reviews the three sources of elaboration, character, setting and object. The assignment will take multiple days and modeled segments. Here’s what you’ll do: 1....
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May Lesson of the Month – Search and Research


Have you noticed how we live in an “insta-learn” world? From 4 year-olds playing on Mom’s phone,  teen-agers stuck to their phones like glue, school children searching their iPads for...
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April K-1 Lesson of the Month


For this month’s K-1 lesson, let’s create a class book based on Sue William’s book, I Went Walking and the NO GO word cards. Here’s what you’ll do: First, read the book by Sue Williams...
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April Lesson of the Month – Revising for Success!


Any writing teachers out there who don’t have writing assessments on their minds? If you teach writing in a tested grade, it probably never strays far from your thoughts. Often times, at this point...
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MRA Handout 2016


Session Title:  How Writing Informs Close Reading Featured Speaker:  Barbara Mariconda Thursday, April 7, 2016  Session Time:  10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Click the link below to download the...
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ELAR TEKS Cross Referencing Guide – The Comprehensive Expository and Opinion Writing Guide 6-8


ELAR TEKS Cross Referencing Guide – The Comprehensive Expository and Opinion Writing Guide 6-8 Grade 6:     Grade 7:     Grade 8:    
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March Lesson of the Month – Subject/Predicate “Gone Silly”


How many times have you gotten a new class of students and after a few short writing lessons, this thought comes to mind. “What did they teach these children last year? I can’t teach them to...
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Summarizing Frameworks K-1


Click the link below to download summarizing frameworks for K-1.  
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How to Approach an Assessment or Assignment with Confidence!


The first time my students took a writing assessment in my classroom I cringed.  It looked like all of the instruction that had taken place had flown right out the window!  Every one of them read...
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February Lesson of the Month – How to Babysit “Grandpa/Grandma”


Some of the greatest memories for most of us are the times spent with our grandparents. I love to think back on the pleasant, and sometimes goofy, experiences I had visiting my grandparent’s house....
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February K-1 Lesson of the Month – Suspense with Prepositional Phrases


This month’s lesson combines suspense with prepositional phrases. First, read a book to the children in which the author uses a variety of prepositional phrases. Some suggested titles are: Bears in...
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January Lesson of the Month – BURRR!


My favorite time of year is when it’s cold outside and I am curled up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. For many of you, the cold lasts way too long for you to love it. In Texas, we get just...
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Five Tips to Improve Writing to Literary Analysis Tasks


In order for students to respond effectively to 21st century literary analysis tasks and response to text challenges, we must use every reading experience as an opportunity for close reading, and...
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December Lesson of the Month – Dream Big!


Let’s dream and dream big! December is a special time for kids to “wish upon a star”, “dream the impossible dream,” or “hope against hope” for the big gift. This month the students will...
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K-1 December Lesson of the Month


Best wishes to all of you from all of us at Empowering Writers. December is that time of year when children begin dreaming about what they want for holiday gifts, what they hope to do over the winter...
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November Lesson of the Month – Cut and Paste – Inside Out


Time marches on! Here we are already in November and the writing process should be in full swing! This month, the lessons will stress the reading/writing connection. Students will be creating a Cut...
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November Lesson of the Month – K-1 Lesson


1) Read a book about popcorn to the students, such as The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola, (Holiday House), Popcorn by Frank Asch, (Aladdin), The Popcorn Shop by Alice Low, (Scholastic), The Popcorn...
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Spooky Suspense


Boo! It’s that time of the year again. As Halloween looms on the horizon, now’s a perfect time to challenge your upper elementary and middle school students to write a spooky story filled with...
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“Cheer Station” – Expository Sample


Teaching expository writing is difficult to do with a student who has not been taught specific writing skills.  This young author is a perfect example.  It’s clear that this child is passionate...
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“Beach” – Expository Sample


  This author young author has attempted to write an expository piece about the beach.  There are some things that he has done well, but there is also room for improvement, especially when it...
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An Adventure – A Narrative Writing Sample


We’ve all had them.  You know, the student that comes to you will a lot of writing talent?  The author below is a prime example.  But there is a misconception that advanced writers do not need a...
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October Lesson of the Month – Spooky Snapshot


Lesson of the Month – Spooky Snapshot It’s a fact that elaborative detail brings writing to life. Often times, student’s writing samples lack elaboration. They add a string of adjectives, size...
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October K-1 Lesson of the Month – Suspense Haunted House


1) Read a book about a haunted house to the students. A suggested list of books is provided, but also check out your school library for more titles. At the Old Haunted House by Helen Kettleman, (Two...
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Getting Started with your Essential Guide – Month 1


You’ve received your new Essential Guide to writing and wonder, “How do I get started?”  Here’s a short powerpoint loaded with hints and tips to help you through month one.
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Argumentative – Rubric


Click Below for the Argumentative Rubric When rubrics were first introduced in education the initial reaction from teachers was along the lines of, “Yes! This is just what I need!” Quickly...
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5 Questions to Assess Your Writing Instruction


Now that we know what the new standards are and have seen the assessment, we have a better understanding of what’s required from our students in the area of writing.   The question now becomes,...
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Writing Compound and Complex Sentences


Quick. What’s wrong with the paragraph below: It was nearly midnight. He was lying on his stomach in bed. The blankets were drawn right over his head like a tent. He had a flashlight in one hand. A...
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Boogie Boarding – Narrative Writing Sample


Writing is a process, not a destination! It’s very easy for us as teachers to get overwhelmed by the task of helping young writers improve.   The challenge seems daunting at times.  Take the...
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Annotating Expository Writing


Annotating Expository Writing Close reading.  Deep comprehension.  Strategic reading.  Skimming. Scanning.  We all know it’s important – that kids will be tested on it in ever more rigorous...
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Teaching Writing through Team Teaching


When I was teaching second grade two of my grade partners and I wanted to integrate our curriculum through learning stations.  We planned for three thirty-minute stations twice a week, with creative...
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Lesson of the Month – August 2015


Lesson of the Month – Interactive Genre Study One of the first strategic skills taught to all writers in every grade level is genre. Students must have a clear understanding of the different types...
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Editing and Revising Slides


Below you can download slides to use in your classroom.  
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Exemplars for Expository/Informational Writing


If you’re like me, you schedule all your doctor’s appointments, your teeth cleaning, car servicing, and every other annoyingly time-consuming task for the summer or during school breaks.  Or, if...
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Catherine’s Paper – A Narrative Writing Sample


This child was taught the Empowering Writers skills but has not used them all.  Is this normal?  Absolutely!  It is very possible that your students will forget to apply all of the skills at once....
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The Value of Summarizing


“I would have written less, but I didn’t have the time.”  One of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain makes me imagine that the witty author foresaw the world of information overload that we...
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Homeschooling and Writing


With its characteristic emphasis on experiential learning and flexibility, homeschooling offers plenty of opportunities for students of all ages to develop excellent writing skills.  After all,...
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The Real World of Writing


“Why do we have to learn this?”  What teacher hasn’t heard that dreaded question wailed at top volume by a bored student?  While you have to admire their effort to find real-world...
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10 Tips for Teaching Writing to Your Dyslexic Students


You would think that someone who struggled to learn how to read, would struggle even more to learn how to write, right?  But, as a person with dyslexia, I have to say, I found learning how to write...
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If You Can’t Say it, You can’t Write It!


I love all things Italian – the food, the country itself, the people, the music, the melodic sound of the language.  The only Italian thing I’m not too crazy about is my ex-husband, but that has...
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So You Want to Write a Children’s Book


by Barbara Mariconda You’ve been a teacher for a long time, spent countless hours reading a variety of beloved children’s books to your students.  Or, perhaps you’re a parent or grandparent...
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Critical Questions for Directed Reading


Click here to download the lesson I have a confession to make – I hate football. I know it’s un-American, in fact it’s almost sacrilege. But every time I try to sit and watch with a good friend...
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Making Annotation and Analysis Fun – Text Detective Kits!


It would be great if there was a sexier name for annotation and analysis.The term conjures up images of students slumped at their desks, the teacher pressing them to a task that sounds as though it...
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Summer Musings – A collection of Summer Writing Activities


Click here to download the summer activities   Summer conjures up images of lazy sun-filled days, hanging around the pool and splashing at the lake or beach.  But both parents and teachers...
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Lesson of the Month – June 2015 – A Mouse in the Schoolhouse!


  The idea for this month’s lesson was inspired from a recent encounter with a mouse in my house. If you have ever had the privilege of having one of these little creatures inside your home,...
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Taking Advantage of the Reading/Writing Connection


Analyzing and Annotating Lesson:                                           Strategic Reading Lesson: At a recent writing workshop, one participant raised her hand. “You...
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Quick Tips – May 2015


  Color coding is a fun technique that allows students to be accountable to applying the skills they’ve been taught.  For example, if they’re writing an expository piece, you might ask them...
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K-2 Expository Lesson: How to Be a Good Friend


Click here to download the lesson   Celebrate friendship by sharing a book about friends. Locate a friendship book in the school library, or your own class collection. Some suggested titles are:...
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Lesson of the Month – May 2015 – How to Survive Third Grade


Click on the link to download this lesson.   Here’s what you’ll do: First, have the students brainstorm some survival instructions to recommend to the in-coming class. For example: learn...
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Argumentative vs. Persuasive Writing with Student Worksheet


Click here to see the rest of the worksheet above! Are you confused about the difference between argumentative and persuasive writing?  If so, you are certainly not alone.  Many teachers struggle...
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Free Writing vs. Skills and Practice


Given the demands of 21st century standards, teachers of writing will need to be much more skills-centered in their instruction.  However, the word “skills”, when used in relation to writing,...
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5 Tips for Expository Writing


Need a quick guide to expository writing?  These 5 tips are the building blocks of learning to write information.  TIP # 1: ORGANIZATION A disorganized piece of writing is hard to read and...
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Grade 7 Argument Sample


 Click the link to see the annotated sample of argument writing by a 7th grader.    Laptops in School  My daughter Hayley can argue anything!  When she was in middle school if I said the sky...
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Teaching Grammar and Mechanics in those Extra Ten Minute Slots


You’ve just wrapped up a reading lesson, and in about ten minutes it’ll be time to head off to art. Or music. Or wherever. Or, it might be the interminable stretch of time between when the school...
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Reading and Writing Workshops


Picture this – a group of close women friends, sitting around a sunny library, a fire in the fireplace, a bottle of red, a bottle of white, a Macallan scotch on the rocks for the one scotch-drinker...
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Comprehensive Narrative Writing Guide – Grade 4-8 – Scope and Sequence


 Full Year: Unit by Unit:     In my school we used to say, tongue-in-cheek, that our over-all approach to writing was “curriculum by folktale.” Our building had been closed for many...
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Comprehensive Narrative Writing Guide – Grade 2-3 – Scope and Sequence


Unit by Unit:     Full Year:     In my school we used to say, tongue-in-cheek, that our over-all approach to writing was “curriculum by folktale.” Our building had been closed...
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Getting Ready To Write – Kindergarten – 1st Grade – Scope and Sequence


Kindergarten 2007 (First Edition):     Kindergarten 2013 (Updated Edition):     1st Grade 2007 (First Edition):     1st Grade 2013 (Updated Edition):    ...
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Comprehensive Expository and Opinion Writing Guide – Grade 2-3 – Scope and Sequence – (2014 Edition)


If you’re interested in beginning the process of establishing consistency across and between grade levels through reasonably paced writing instruction, have a look at these ever-evolving scope and...
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Conference Handouts


Please click on the link below to download the complete handout of lessons.   MRA Conference Handout:  
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Grade 1 Narrative Writing Sample


1st Grade Sample after 2 years of Empowering Writers instruction Click here to download the sample “One Day at the Beach” The prompt: “The waves crashed against the sand. I plopped my pack down...
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April Lesson of Month – Terrific Writing Ideas for Spring


Reading and Writing – They go together like peanut butter and jelly! This month’s April newsletter was inspired by the April calendar. I always try to gain motivation from the monthly calendar,...
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What is Expository Writing?


Expository writing comes in a variety of forms, but, in general it is factual writing for the purpose of informing others.  The straight information report, a how-to piece, compare/contrast writing,...
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What is Narrative Writing?


Teaching Narrative Writing What exactly is narrative writing? What specific skills are involved in teaching narrative writing? What can we expect in narrative writing from student authors? How can...
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Grade 4 Narrative Writing Sample


Narrative Student Writing Samples The best way to see what Empowering Writers can do for your students is to look at what our students are able to produce. The following narrative writing samples...
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Before and After – Grade 2 Narrative


#1 Before and After Here is a second grade student writing sample prior to instruction. This was a required timed assessment, administered at the beginning of second grade.  Click story to enlarge...
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Sample Lessons to Empower Student Expository Writing


Here are just a few of sample lessons used to empower this student’s writing, all taken from The Comprehensive Expository Writing Guide:   Click for ‘Writing Effective...
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Teaching Voice in Writing


Teaching Voice in Writing by Barbara Mariconda We’ve all heard teachers talk about “voice” – how a piece of writing somehow has it – or doesn’t. Often referred to as “author’s...
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Graphic Organizer for Primary Grade Expository Writing


 The Simplified Expository Pillar Try using the Simplified Pillar in your classroom, and see how easily it makes clear thinking visible! Many primary grade teachers wonder how to help their little...
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A Graphic Organizer for Primary Grade Narrative Writing


The Simplified Writing Diamond – the Shape Stories Take! Click here to download the writing diamond As a kindergarten teacher it was always tricky to translate what I knew was important as an...
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A Graphic Organizer for Opinion Writing in K-1


Click to download the Graphic Organizer for Opinion Writing in K-1 If there was one thing my own children had at age 5 it was strong opinions. My son Glenn (who today is a fashion designer designing...
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What Do Book Covers Tell Us?


Reading on my iPad is great! Except for one thing! I rarely know the title of the book I’m reading because I do not see the cover.  This is a problem for me because the book cover serves as the...
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Narrative/Expository Text Sets by Genre – for Literature Connections


Looking for just the right books to teach a unit or theme is often quite a process. I always look in my classroom collection first but then I know I will need more. Off to the library I go! I search...
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Building Authors’ Thinking


Click on the link to access the building blocks of author’s thinking in narrative, informative, and opinion writing. I have watched in fascination how a five year old can build a sophisticated...
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Carrot Soup – Using Literature to Teach Writing


“Carrot Soup” by John Segal Click here to download this lesson       One of the best ways to inspire little ones to write is by using a great picture book as a springboard. And,...
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What’s Hatching From the Egg – Using Literature to teach Genre


“What’s Hatching from the Egg” (Side-by-Side Comparison) Click here to download this lesson   Children often have difficulty determining genre and purpose – is the book they select from...
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I Need my Monster – Using Literature as a Vehicle for Teaching Narrative Writing


“I Need My Monster” by Amanda Noll   Click here to download this lesson Who doesn’t love a monster? “I Need my Monster” by Amanda Noll is a wonderful, evocative picture book...
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The Abominable Snow Teacher – Using Literature to Teach Narrative Writing Skills


“The Abominable Snow Teacher” By: Lisa Passen Click here to Download this lesson Imagine changing into a snow monster! What a problem! This many-faceted lesson based on author Lisa Passen’s...
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By the Light of the Harvest Moon – Using Literature to Teach Writing


“By The Light of The Harvest Moon” By Harriet Ziefert illustrated by Mark Jones Click here to download this lesson Autumn is such a wonderful time of year no matter where you live! In the north,...
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Bear Feels Sick – Using Literature to Teach Writing


“Bear Feels Sick” By: Karma Wilson Click here to download the lesson Spending many years teaching in the primary grades, I became obsessed with children’s books. My family has even accused me...
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Roger the Jolly Pirate – Using Literature to Teach Writing


“Roger the Jolly Pirate” By: Brett Helquist Click here to download the lesson           Ahoy Mates! What better way to set sail on a pirate adventure than to begin with...
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The Little Scarecrow Boy – Using Literature to Teach Writing


“The Little Scarecrow Boy” by Margaret Wise Brown   Click here to download the lesson Fall is in the air, my favorite time of year! School begins, and the students are eager to...
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Exploring Poetry – Sports Poems


Have some fun teaching parts of speech! This lesson sparks creativity while also teaching students the parts of speech; nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. It also appeals to a wide variety of...
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Poetic Devices


Objective How does poetry improve writing as a whole? When students learn to use expressive language to pain a picture using precise words they learn how words function. Students will learn to use...
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Expository/Argument Chart – Grade 6-8


Expository/Argument Chart – Grade 6-8 How do expository writing and argument writing compare? What similarities and differences do you need to teach your students? This chart identifies the...
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The Developmental Stages of Writing: K-1


Click below to see all the Developmental Stages of Writing Narrative:     Expository:     Where do I begin writing instruction in my k-1 classroom when my students are all over...
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Literature Connections for grades 3 – 6


Click here to download Middle Grade Literature Connections   The most powerful way to teach author’s craft is to have students become aware of the way authors use it in their best work....
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Multicultural Literature Connections for Elementary Grades


Download the list, keep a copy for yourself, and pass one along to your school media specialist.   Twenty-first century students will increasingly see themselves as citizens of the world. Having...
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Literature Connection – Stories with Opinion/Persuasive Elements for Elementary Grades


These days, in response to the most current state standards, students are expected to be able to write convincing opinion and argument pieces. The books on this list can support your efforts in this...
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Literature Connection – Recommended Picture Books for Teaching Writing in the Primary Grades


Download this list of mentor texts and share a copy with your school media specialist. Refer to “Getting Ready to Write” to discover all the mileage you can get from these, and any of your...
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Close Reading for Well Organized Writing


Close Reading for Well Organized Writing If you’re interested in these strategies, click the link below to download the full lesson plan! Every time I started a new research project or even a new...
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The Opinion Pillar


The Opinion Pillar Click here to download the Opinion Pillar Opinion Writing requires the author to respond to an issue or question with logical reasoning in an organized fashion. The Opinion Pillar...
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The Expository Pillar


The Expository Pillar Click here to download the Expository Pillar Organization – Expository writing, by its very nature, requires careful organization. In order to deliver information in a way...
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