Category Archives: Writing Lesson of the Month


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 […]

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February 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson practices expository/informative writing using the theme of seasons/wind, focusing on why the wind is important in each of the seasons. Overview: Each student will write informative sentences about why wind is important in winter, spring, summer, and fall.  Here’s what you’ll do: Read a collection […]

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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 […]

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January Lesson of the Month


January Lesson of the Month Happy New Year from the Empowering Writers Team. Our entire crew has rolled up its sleeves to continue to make 2017 your best writing year yet! If you haven’t checked out what’s new from Empowering Writers, be sure to visit our website and take a look at what we’re doing […]

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January K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson uses a literature connection as a jumping off point for creating elaborative sentences/paragraph about a snowman.  See pgs 138-141 in the K-1 Guide. Overview: Each student will write sentences and/or a paragraph about a snowman.   Here’s what you’ll do: 1.)   Gather a collection of […]

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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 […]

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December K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson practices who (character), where (setting), and what (object). For more information about these story critical elements, see pgs 138-141 in the K-1 Guide. Overview: Each student will design a “WHO, WHERE, WHAT” FLIP BOOK using some of their favorite characters, settings, and objects.   Here’s […]

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December Lesson of the Month


December Lesson of the Month Perhaps a fun activity for December would be to have students complete the phrase, “Tis the Season to be ___________________, and to provide reasons and evidence!  Then, take a look at the delightful, but still skill-based December Main Idea and Details Gameboard, and have fun sharing it with your students. […]

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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 […]

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November Lesson of the Month


How is it going fellow writing teachers? School is off and running! Are you finding it helpful to incorporate writing in your everyday plans? If you have not begun the daily writing lessons throughout your curriculum, let me encourage you to do so. You will see more improvement of skills in all subject areas than […]

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November K-1 Lesson of the Month


How is it going fellow writing teachers? School is off and running! Are you finding it helpful to incorporate writing in your everyday plans? If you have not begun the daily writing lessons throughout your curriculum, let me encourage you to do so. You will see more improvement of skills in all subject areas than […]

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October Lesson of the Month


Hello October!  Are you enjoying the fall as much as we at EW are? We love cooler weather, football, and the start of a great school year!  This year, we’re focusing on writing ALL day EVERY day. So if you’re not in a self-contained classroom, rein in your fellow reading science, and social studies teachers […]

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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. This understanding leads to planned, organized generative writing as well as discernment for response to text. This month’s lesson can be used […]

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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. First, chart for students their favorite characters, settings and objects around the school. 2.  On separate days, choose a favorite and model a descriptive paragraph about […]

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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 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 […]

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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 and Paste activity, only they will be combining several skills to piece together the activity. It is important to emphasize elaboration using […]

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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 Dragon by Jane Thayer, (HarperCollins), and Popcorn by Elaine Landau, (Charlesbridge) 2) After reading the book, pop several bags of popcorn. If […]

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

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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 Lions Publishing) Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve by Mary Pope Osborne, (Random House Books for Young Readers) The Haunted […]

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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 of writing to support their own text as well as to inform their reading comprehension. In this lesson, students will categorize […]

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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 worry that all of this carefree summer fun causes a little brain-drain – and kids tend to backslide on the skills they’ve worked […]

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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, you know the drama and chaos they can cause until they are caught. In my exaggerated mind, an army […]

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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: The Crayon: A Colorful Tale About Friendship by Simon Rickerty (Alladin 2014), Queen-A-Bella Finds a Best Friend by Lisl Fair (Brainy Connections 2012), […]

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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 your multiplication facts, never come to school without your homework, always shake his/her hand when you walk in the door, raise your hand before you […]

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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, but it doesn’t always work out this ideal. I wanted something less traditional that would lend itself to writing and encourage reading at […]

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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, the air gets crisp and cold while the leaves turn a breathtaking array of color. In the south, the […]

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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 science or social studies unit in my classroom I nearly pulled my hair out in frustration! I’d introduce the topic, then […]

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Writing Lesson of the Month – February 2015 – Heroes after Feb 2015


Click here to download this lesson This month, students will research February’s celebrated heroes with one important question in mind! What type of influences – and/or media – prepared these epic heroes for their courageous roles? Then students will explore their own influences and how they might adjust these for their future. Melody Beattie, a […]

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January Lesson of the Month – Close Strategic Reading Informs Powerful Writing


Click here to download the lesson Everyone is concerned about close reading, and writing in response to close reading. The literary analysis tasks showing up on the latest state tests all involve this kind of deep strategic reading and writing. EW has always stressed close strategic reading through our annotation and analysis lessons, empowering students […]

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Lesson of the Month – December 2014 – Elaborative Detail – Describe a Snowman!


Click here to download the lesson So, how about a lesson of the month that includes it all – holiday cheer, a fun art connection, and solid instructional value that will enhance student writing? This lesson, taken from “Easy Art Activities that Spark Super Writing”, involves the creation of a Snowman and an elaborative detail […]

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Writing Lesson of the Month – November 2014 – Lesson: Voice Bubbles to Quotation Marks


Click here to download the lesson Teaching quotation marks – not an easy task! Where do the quotes go, what about that pesky comma? What to capitalize? What about punctuation inside the quotes – when is it a comma, a period, question mark, exclamation mark? I learned the skill as an author, thanks to a […]

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Writing Lesson of the Month – October 2014 – Fun At-Home Writing Activity


Click here to download the lesson Halloween is a great time to engage kid’s imaginations with a fun, at-home project! Find an old book-bag, satchel, or suitcase, and get ready for some excitement! The idea is to fill the bag with all the makings for a class “Monster Field Guide” as well as other monstrous […]

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Lesson of the Month – September 2014 – Characterization – Showing, rather than Telling Character’s Feelings


Click here to download the lesson This month’s lesson can be adapted for all grades, and is a terrific vehicle for you to get to know students and for them to get to know one another.  It involves a skill we refer to as “What feelings look like?”  – the writerly way of showing rather […]

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Lesson of the Month – May 2014 – Using Word Referents to Affirm Others


Click here to download the lesson Spring is in full swing and teachers, parents, and students alike are looking forward to summer! Whether school is nearly out, or you’re in the final two month stretch, May is a month to enjoy. It’s time to engage students in some fun springtime activities that empower them to […]

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Lesson of the Month – April 2014 – Writing a Diamante Poem


Click here to download the lesson Happy spring from all of your friends at Empowering Writers! Did you know that April is officially Poetry Month? The Academy of American Poets designated April as poetry month back in 1996, with the intention of celebrating poetry. And it’s easy to see why they picked April – plenty […]

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Lesson of the Month – March 2014 – Researching and Writing about Irish Folklore


Click here to download the lesson March is the month in which everyone is Irish, at least for a day!  Join the EW team in celebrating all things Irish with some fun and fact-filled activities that call to mind the folklore of the Emerald Isle.  Erin go bragh!  May the forty shades of green suggest […]

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Lesson of the Month – February 2014 – Descriptive Detail in Expository Writing


Click here to download the lesson Have you ever read an expository piece of writing and then said to the student, “Give me more detail.” I know I’ve done that plenty of times. Here’s what they write: a string of very’s, or a color word or size word. They have no idea how to write […]

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Lesson of the Month – February 2014 – Writing Opinion Pieces about Cold Climates


Click here to download the lesson Not sure whether this newsletter finds you bundled up in front of the fire, the wind and snow howling outside, or basking in the sunshine…but here at the Empowering Writers home office in Monroe, CT we’ve been grumbling about the latest “Arctic Vortex” that’s brought single digit temperatures and […]

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Lesson of the Month – January 2014 – Crafting Powerful Elaborative Detail


Click here to download the lesson (Click here to see the Student Sample: Cover and Segment) Wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive New Year from Barb, Dea, and the entire EW team!  After devoting most of 2013 to developing our online digital video support series we’ve finally come for air – and our first […]

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Lesson of the month – December 2013 – Describing a Story Critical Object – A Gingerbread House


Click here to download this lesson Warm holiday greetings from Barb, Dea, and the entire EW team! We know you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, and trying to keep a million balls in the air. So, how about a lesson of the month that includes it all – holiday cheer, […]

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Lesson of the Month – November 2013 – Creating Suspenseful Segments with Gobbling Turkeys


Click here to download the lesson In fact, this is one of my all time favorite lessons! Living in New England, out in the woods means that wild turkeys are regular visitors in my backyard. They strut around in the grass, and they roost in the trees in the evening. And, trust me, they do make […]

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Lesson of the Month – October 2013 – Autumn Research


Click here to download the lesson   The air has just a bite of cold and it’s time for wearing warm, cozy sweaters. That’s what autumn looks like here in New England. But is that what autumn looks like around the world? This lesson inspires students to research an area and then describe autumn in […]

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Writing Lesson of the Month – September 2013 – Lesson: Getting to Know You


Lesson of the Month: Sept 2013 Getting to Know You (Opinion/Argument) Click here to download this lesson This month’s lesson can be adapted for all grades, is a terrific vehicle for you to get to know students and for them to get to know one another. It involves a skill we refer to as “being […]

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Close Reading – the Antidote to the Slumber – Inducing Book Report


Click here to download the lesson I remember, as a student myself, and then later as a young teacher, how much I dreaded book reports.  As the “reportee”, the task always felt like letting the air out of a brightly colored balloon – taking some charming story or fascinating nonfiction book and watering it down […]

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Lesson of the Month – May 2013 – Sensory Detail


  Click here to download the lesson If you’re like me you get a terrible case of spring fever every year. Up here in Connecticut spring seems to come later and later or maybe I am less tolerant. I am always ready to launch into a spring writing lesson that evokes a hint of the […]

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Lesson of the Month – April 2013 – Research, Poll Taking and Opinion Writing


Click this link to download the lesson   Spring is in the air and everyone is a little itchy to get outside. My students need something engaging to keep their mind on school. I always love a good craft project so I set my students on a research quest to find a class project that […]

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Lesson of the Month – May 2011 – Figurative Language to Describe Mom


Click here to download the lesson   May is a good time to celebrate the people in your life, mothers and grandmothers especially. It’s hard to find the words sometimes to tell the people who are important to you how you feel. This lesson gives students a chance to share the love in a greeting […]

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Lesson of the Month – April 2011 – Researching Signs of Spring – Narrative and Expository


Click here to download the lesson Spring has sprung – and along with the budding trees and blooming flowers we’ve got a lesson for you that you’ll want to use year after year when April rolls around. We often think of research as relating mostly to expository texts. But, in fact, authors of all genres […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – March 2011 – Writing an Irish Folk Story


Click here to download the lesson Top of the morning to you! It’s a great time of year to celebrate all things magical. Leprechauns and fairies take center stage in this month’s lesson. Using the season as a springboard to writing a “fairy” tale is an engaging way to teach the skills of narrative writing […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – February 2011 – Alliteration and Onomatopoeia


Click here to download the lesson Alliteration-Action-Alluring-Aspire-Alliteration This month you will stretch your student’s repertoire of author’s craft by including a lesson on alliteration and adding a simple twist using onomatopoeia. Have fun with words this month. Here’s what you’ll do: 1.) Explain to the class that it’s time for a little fun with language.  […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – January 2011 – Test Prep and Response to Text


Click here to download the lessons This month we’re actually offering two lessons!  Last year in January, with state testing around the corner, we offered test-prep strategies, and thought it was worth running these again.  Also included will be a mini-lesson on “response to literature” that can be applied to whatever your students are reading. […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – December 2010 – Writing and Research – Penguins


Click here to download this lesson Whether you live in the sun-belt or the north pole, everyone loves the image of a snow covered Arctic landscape.  Everyone’s favorite Arctic inhabitant is, quite possibly, the penguin.  Regardless of the grade you teach, students will enjoy researching fun facts about this comical, flightless bird.  The class will […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – November 2010 – Research and Writing – Wild Turkeys


Click here to download the lesson As thoughts turn toward Thanksgiving, our lesson of the month will encourage a bit of research and inspire some fun!  Students will research and take notes on the wild turkey, write an informational paragraph, and then make their own wild gobbler.  Here’s how… 1.)  Explain that they will research […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – October 2010 – Side by Side Narrative and Expository Writing – Autumn


Click here to download this lesson It’s hard to believe autumn is here – the time of year when students and teachers both settle into a comfortable routine and, together, explore and enjoy the many changes fall brings!  Thinking about a new season in life is always invigorating and fun – this month’s lesson uses […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – September 2010


Click here to download the lesson   As exciting as a new school year can be, it is often also surrounded by a wide range of feelings and emotions.  Often students (and teachers!) feel a mix of emotions at the prospect of beginning a new year.  Of course, the best way to explore feelings is […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – June 2010 – Persuasive Writing – Summer Plans


Click here to download the lesson Persuade someone to make one summer dream plan come true!  For sure, persuasive writing is a sophisticated genre – but – just ask parents – even the youngest students can present their arguments in a compelling (although not always the most convincing) way!  This lesson will suggest age-appropriate ways […]

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Lesson Plan of the Month – April 2010 – Writing Springtime Haiku


Click here to download the lesson Spring Inspiration (In 17 syllables!) Do these numbers mean anything to you? 17:     5 – 7 – 5 Hint: think poetry… If you guessed Haiku, you are right!   Our April lesson of the month will feature this ancient Japanese form of poetry.   Haiku gets its […]

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