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The Long and Winding Road: Implementing the New Lucy Calkins Units of Study Writing Curriculum in 2nd Grade

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Bob Hauser

on 21 June 2014

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Transcript of The Long and Winding Road: Implementing the New Lucy Calkins Units of Study Writing Curriculum in 2nd Grade

The Long and Winding Road

Implementing the New Lucy Calkins
"Units of Study Writing Curriculum"
in 2nd Grade

35% Unemployment

59% Incomes <$25,000

57% Criminal Justice History
2012 Statistics
Community & School Context
Bob Hauser
Legacy Charter School

What happens when I implement a new writing curriculum in my 2nd grade classroom?
Pre-K through 8th grade
1. School-wide Mandated Writing Curriculum

2. Want to Become a Writing Teacher

3. Creating Good Writers is an Essential Life Skill
Poet: Quintin
"Just The Sweet Sounds Of Music"
by Quintin

Music is as sweet as honey
Music can sometimes be as cute
as a bunny
Or music can be sweet and funny
It can be beyond joyful
It's just the sweet sounds of music.
Lady Bug
by Soule

A Lady bug a lady bug they are cute
A Lady bug a lady bug just like you
But...Lady bugs are insects too.
Their skin is soft and
they do have a shell too.
And they are sweet
Genre Journey
Sep/Oct: Narrative
Nov/Dec: Opinion
Jan/Feb: Info Books
Mar/Apr: Lab Reports
May/Jun: Poetry
Poetry Unit of Study
Reading Audience: Mr. Hauser
Integrated with Science Unit on Insects
Poet: Soule
503 students
97% African-American
92.4% low-income
12.5% homeless

What is Writing Workshop?
Independent Writing
What Do Teachers Teach
During Writing?
Poet: Marcus
by Marcus

That Bee
That Bee
Stuck in a tree
His wings are up
His wings are down
His legs are side to side
like a fly his yellow and black stripes
go pass like a mouse
With a compound eye like a fly.
Lucy Calkins
Writing Workshop Guru
The Writing Process
Rubric for Narrative Grade 2
Narrative Unit of Study
September - October
Reading Audience: Not Specified
No integration with other subjects


scholar writing?

teacher instruction?



Skill: Exceeding
Motivation: Low
Stage: Editing
Skill: Struggling
Motivation: Moderate
Stage: Revising
Skill: Meeting
Motivation: High
Stage: Researching
Skill: Meeting
Motivation: Moderate
Stage: Editing
Skill: Struggling
Motivation: Low
Stage: Drafting
Skill: Exceeding
Motivation: High
Stage: Illustrating
Skill: Meeting
Motivation: High
Stage: Revising
“Conferring...often creates a feeling of anxiety -- even panic -- in us, whether we are new to workshop teaching or we are workshop veterans… Teachers have told me they have doubts that they can learn to confer well…”
Anderson, C. (2000). How’s it going? a practical guide to conferring with student writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Me & My Scholars
Teaching for 6 years
Only 2nd year teaching Writing
26 Scholars
12 Boys / 14 Girls

What I learned from the Narrative Unit...
Curriculum tries to be a curriculum and a story simultaneously.
Result: Very difficult to use.

Mentor text,
Owl Moon
by Jane Yolen was a poor choice for my students.
Result: Took focus off of learning writer's craft.

No specific reader audience.
Result: Limited engagement.
Opinion Unit of Study
November - December
Reading Audience: Judges (Principal & Academic Leader)
Integrated with Reading

What I learned from the Opinion Unit...
Navigating curriculum still clumsy.
Result: Took too much time to sift through and "mine the gems."

Establish a clear reading audience.
Result: More energy and enthusiasm from scholars and the teacher.

Ensure early on that ALL scholars have selected a book they really like and include both fiction and non-fiction as writing choices.
Result: Provided more student choice = engagement!
Info Books Unit of Study
January - February
Reading Audience: 1st graders
Integrated with Social Studies Unit on Slavery & The Underground Railroad

Lab Reports Unit of Study
March - April
Reading Audience: 1st graders
Integrated with Science Unit on Balance & Motion
Non-fiction Writing
What I learned from the Information Unit
Modification of curriculum to match our science & social studies units.
Results: Enabled us to extend these units while creating authentic writing units.
Specified reading audience.
Results: Increased motivation during writing -- 2nd graders became teachers.
Give writers ample time to revise and edit.
Results: Lower quality of writing; don't penalize writers!
Teaching 1st graders created engagement
INFO BOOKS: The Underground Railroad
Cars, Ramps, Meter Sticks, Oh My!
Lab Reports: Experimenting with Friction
Reading an Excerpt from the Lucy Calkins Narrative Unit of Study
And there's 8 more pages of this...just for
1 day's lesson!
should make no additional purchases of the Lucy Calkins Units of Study Writing curriculum until the authors create a teacher-friendly outline for each day’s lessons. Publisher should make these daily lesson outlines available online so teachers have access to them immediately .
Policy Recommendation #1
Policy Recommendation #2
Districts and/or Schools
that already have purchased the new curriculum, be sure to alert teachers to the unusual format; provide teachers between 4 to 8 hours per unit to:
integrate with other subjects
make the curriculum work for their student population
comprehend the density and complexity of the curriculum
Policy Recommendation #3
Prior to teaching each unit of the new Lucy Calkins Units of Study Writing curriculum,
have a reading audience in mind for their students to ensure higher student engagement with their writing.
ensure that the supplemental mentor texts are appropriate for their student population to ensure a keen focus on the craft of writing.
We've reached our destination!
I thought attendance limited writing success...

Quarter 3

Kashiah 13 days absent:
Info Books
/ Lab Reports

Marquial 11 days absent:
Info Books
/ Lab Reports

Soule 9 days absent:
Info Books
/ Lab Reports

Makai On Conventions...
Kamon Discusses 2nd Grade Writing...
Makai Has One Last Bit of Advice...
Kashiah Shares A Writing Challenge...
Full transcript