Category Archives: Grade 6-8


June 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


June Lesson of the Month Connection: Read a Scholastic article titled: “5 Ways to Keep Your Student Writing All Summer Long“. Make journaling a fun summer activity!

read more

June 2017 Lesson of the Month:


June Lesson of the Month: This “just for fun” assignment encourages students to practice the skills they’ve acquired in the narrative and expository genres to create a writing piece worthy of sharing with their peers. It’s entitled “Where Am I?” and it not only requires specific writing skills, but is dependent on knowledge and/or research […]

read more

May 2017 Lesson of the Month:


May Lesson of the Month: Isn’t May like a breath of fresh air?  For some of you May marks the end of another school year, for others it’s the month that wraps up high stakes testing.  For all of us it signals the glory of spring and teases us with the promise of summer.  This […]

read more

April 2017 Lesson of the Month:


April Lesson of the Month: This month’s lesson is based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg entitled The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. This 1984 picture book is filled with a collection of Van Allsburg’s images inspired by the mysterious author Harris Burdick. For more information and a collection of pictures from the book, search the […]

read more

April 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


April Lesson of the Month Connection: This month’s lesson of the month dealt with revision.  Here’s an interesting article on one teacher’s revision strategies that you might find interesting.  Notice the use of modeling – the most important tool teachers have for preparing students to become confident, capable writers. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/4-strategies-teaching-kids-how-revise-rebecca-alber

read more

March 2017 Lesson of the Month Connection:


March Lesson of the Month Connection: Our lessons this month can easily be connected to geography.  In a recent National Geographic-Roper Global Geographic Literacy Survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States. Sweden scored highest; Mexico, lowest. The United States was […]

read more

March 2017 Lesson of the Month:


March Lesson of the Month: This month’s lesson links a St. Patrick’s Day research project with persuasion. The students will learn facts surrounding the Irish holiday. They will combine their acquired facts with a bit of untruth. Thereafter, try to convince their audience to believe a light-hearted ruse over true facts. Overview: Students will research […]

read more

February 2017 Lesson of the Month:


February Lesson of the Month: Your students are writing an information piece about a topic of interest – perhaps a science or social studies theme, or an essay on a favorite season, holiday, animal, or activity. The common student pitfall in this kind of piece is that they simply present a list of facts. When […]

read more

January Lesson of the Month Connection:


January Lesson of the Month Connection: Keep in mind that the best instruction happens when every subject is in some way integrated.  Using a “Make it Your Own” approach, teachers can always drop their own thematic or topical material into a writing lesson, “customizing” it so that the writing draws upon relevant cross-curricular study.  Here’s […]

read more

December Lesson of the Month Connection:


December Lesson of the Month Connection: Many schools are being asked to supplement classroom instruction with station activities. The lesson this month can be used as a classroom activity and then placed in a station (learning center) to further reinforce the skill. There are a number of activities in each of the Empowering Writers Guides that […]

read more

November Lesson of the Month Connection: “The Writing Revolution”


November Lesson of the Month Connection: Read the amazing article in the Atlantic entitled, “The Writing Revolution” to see the impact of writing all day everyday. The following web address will take you to this poignant read about the success of New Dorp High School, a school in which many teachers had lost their desire […]

read more

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 information, to adults looking up every tidbit of data on their devices. We can’t function in this techno generation without several gadgets plugged in and […]

read more

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 in the year, you feel as if you’ve done all you can do and now it is up to the students. […]

read more

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:    

read more

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. I would sit on the back of the couch, with my grandfather seated in front of me. I tied his hair […]

read more

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 the right amount. The cold and snow always bring about a […]

read more

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 research their dream destination or ambitious activity they have forever wished for and put it into writing, including facts about the […]

read more

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 or color words, or a repetitive series of words to strengthen their sentiments, none of which enhance the story.  In this lesson, students will […]

read more

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 you’re lucky you might be using that time to hop a plane to some wonderful vacation destination. What do your doctor’s, dentist’s, shrink’s, veterinarian’s offices, […]

read more

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 understand.  I analyze and annotate writing with students to discover the organizational pattern and structure that authors use.  When we analyze published […]

read more

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 was blue she would argue that it was really shades of gray. I called her my little defense attorney, […]

read more

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 buses line up, bus numbers are called, and the kids file out to board. Not enough time to […]

read more

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 years and recently reopened, bringing together educators from the thirteen existing schools throughout the district. And everyone brought with them the writing lessons […]

read more

Author’s Group Model


Author’s Group Model  Click here to download the Author’s Group Model Where would I be without my Writer’s Group?  Alone in my office in my pajamas, probably, which is where I spend most of my work days.  This an occupational hazard of being a novelist.   The antidote to this professional solitude is the Writer’s […]

read more

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 salient qualities and features of each genre. The good news – there are skills that can be taught in one genre that will transfer to the other […]

read more

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 mirrors the Expository Pillar with minor shifts in language. Due to the similar structure and expectations for opinion writing, students need to have […]

read more

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 in which the reader can easily grasp, information must be arranged and presented in a logical, sequential manner, with like details grouped together. Often times, students, when writing about a […]

read more

The Narrative Writing Diamond


Narrative Writing Diamond Click here to download the Narrative Writing Diamond We encourage students to use the Narrative Diamond as a pre-writing graphic organizer to plan their narrative stories. This provides a simple, basic story plan on which to build. Student’s can use organizers like this to help them translate their story summary or pre-writing […]

read more

Comprehensive Argumentative Writing Guide – Grades 6-8 – Scope and Sequence


Click here to download the Unit by Unit Approach 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 years and recently reopened, bringing together educators from the thirteen existing schools throughout the district. And everyone brought with them the […]

read more

Comprehensive Expository Writing Guide – Grades 4-8 – Scope and Sequence


This scope and sequence is designed for use with the Comprehensive Expository Writing Guide for Grades 4-8. It is divided into two separate units, each unit is eight weeks in length. Follow this recommended timeline when planning for expository writing. It is not necessary or advisable to complete every page of a section, but rather, […]

read more

TEKS ELAR – Comprehensive Guide – Expository – Grade 2-8


  TEKS ELAR – Comprehensive Guide – Expository Grade 2:     Grade 3:     Grade 4:     Grade 5:     Grade 6:     Grade 7:     Grade 8:  

read more

TEKS Alignment – Expository Guide – Student Expectations – Grade 2-8


TEKS Alignment – Expository Guide – Grade 2:   Grade 3:   Grade 4:   Grade 5:   Grade 6:   Grade 7:   Grade 8:  

read more

TEKS Alignment – Narrative Guide – Student Expectations – Grade 2-7


TEKS Alignment with EW Comprehensive Narrative Guide-  Student Expectations Grade 2: Grade 3: Grade 4: Grade 5: Grade 6: Grade 7:    

read more