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Getting Ready for the Unit: Immersion
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
Pinky and Rex and the Bully by James Howe
Thinking About Ants by Barbara Brenner
Hey Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose
Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg
The Perfect Pet by Margie Palatini
Other Resources to Support Writing Workshop
Give opportunities to take positions and have conversations and
debates about topics and texts.
Students could begin this unit writing letters. Across the first part of this unit, students would draft letters about the characters they’ve met in their books, formulating opinions and supporting their ideas, providing reasons, and using details and examples from the text to support their claims. Of course, you’ll invite students to uncover their opinions about more than just the characters they are getting to know; students will also write about favorite scenes, illustrations across the text, and lessons learned.
During the second part of the unit, students could focus on raising the level of their letter writing. Coach students to engage in some close reading as a way to spark new ideas and to push themselves to deepen their thinking, using their Post-it® notes to elaborate on their opinion pieces. Students will be learning to read and reread closely to come up with more ideas for opinions, more details and evidence to support their opinions, as well as fun conventions that authors and illustrators use to fancy up and make their writing interesting. Before students send their letters out into the world, they will also participate in punctuation inquiry and then work to incorporate the conventions that they are noticing in published books into their own writing.
Making Your Teaching Stick
Supporting Struggling Writers
whole-class testing and opinion forming
Perhaps you’ll bring in a trio of fruits or gummy candies and let the children taste them, rank them, and talk about favorites and reasons why.
In the last part of the unit, students could shift gears, moving away from persuasive letters into more of an essay format as they write to persuade others that their favorite books are worthy of awards. This work will build on the first two parts as students continue to write their opinions about books and support those opinions with reasons and details from the text. However, now they will lift the level of this writing as they learn to incorporate quotations to supply further text evidence, make comparisons between books and across collections of books, as well as add introductions and conclusions, all in the service of teaching and persuading others.
Paper for reviews
a class book fair, where visitors can be invited to listen to students’ book award announcements as a final celebration.
Nonfiction Writing by Linda Hoyt and Tony Stead
A Quick Guide to Teaching Struggling Writers by Colleen Cruz
Making Your Teaching Stick by Shanna Schwartz
Units of Study by Lucy Calkins