Category Archives: Uncategorized


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, sometimes suggests didactic drills, formulaic tricks, and a “basalization” of the writing process.  Having young writers work on skills may seem tantamount to stifling their […]

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December 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


December K-1 Lesson of the Month: Winter Animals – Where they Live Based on the lesson: Informative Sentences – Where they Live (Reading, Writing, and Art Connections for First Grade) pp. 90-95 Objective: Students use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/expository texts. They name what they are writing about and supply […]

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November 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


November K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 November lesson encompasses a dinosaur theme along with making messes. The idea for this lesson came from the authors of the book, What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night, a Very Messy Adventure by Refe and Susan Tuma. They shared in a brief note “About the […]

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October 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


October K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson is also based on a haunted house theme. The book Haunted House, Haunted Mouse by Judy Cox is the inspiration for this activity. Teachers will read the book to the class, but when the author ends the page with a question (which is often), […]

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September 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson is based on a horse theme using a newly published narrative book entitled A Horse Named Steve by Kelly Collier. It is paired with an expository book, Horses by Gail Gibbons or Horses by Laura Driscoll. There are many potential writing lessons possible using these […]

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June 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson is a take-off on the Main Lesson – Where Am I? Suspense Overview: Students will write a suspenseful segment about one aspect of a favorite summer activity. Here’s what you’ll do: 1.)   First, read through alternate lesson for grades 2 and up. Then choose a collection of […]

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April 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson is based on different forms of media; technology, magazines, commercials, advertisements, newspapers, etc. The lesson will showcase media and author’s purpose at the same time, pairing the purpose with a popular emoji. Overview: Students will learn about different media outlets and recognize the author’s purpose […]

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March 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month


K-1 Lesson of the Month: This month, the K-1 lesson provides an opportunity for youngsters to describe a story-critical character – a leprechaun! Overview: Students will look at pictures of leprechauns and respond to detail generating questions to come up with specific details that describe this story critical character. Here’s what you’ll do: 1.)   Gather […]

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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


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 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


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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What’s Happening In Education – October 2016


Teachable Moments – Writing Across the Curriculum Date: September 20, 2016 Magazine: Scholastic Article: How Will Pokemon Go Play Out? Author: Jennifer Maring Walters In this article How Will Pokemon Go Play Out, by Jennifer Marring Walters, the issue is raised as to the appropriateness of the game, Pokemon Go. Ms. Walters discusses the history […]

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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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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. […]

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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 write if they don’t even know how to write a sentence.” This thought is universal. It seems like we […]

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

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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 the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstein, (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1971), Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins, Alladin, 1971), or Around the […]

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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 assist them in deconstructing texts to glean deeper meaning. Here are five tips that will help make every reading experience a pre-writing experience, and vice versa.   […]

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

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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 break, or where they wish they could visit on their school holiday! For some, this will only […]

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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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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 spine- tingling suspense. Here are a few tricks to help them create their very own narrative treats   1. Create a dramatic setting […]

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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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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, these lucky learners usually have the freedom to work at their own pace and to choose topics that fascinate them to research and write about.     Here are a few […]

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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 much easier than learning how to read. This is probably because writing requires some skills, like vocabulary […]

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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 belongs in the same category as sentence diagraming. In other words – deadly boring. I’m happy to say that […]

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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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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, sometimes suggests didactic drills, formulaic tricks, and a “basalization” of the writing process.  Having young writers work on skills may seem tantamount to stifling their […]

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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 in the bunch, the savory aroma of a gourmet meal cooking, mingling with the fragrance of a pot […]

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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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