This school year, Berlin Elementary School piloted the Writing Units of Study authored by Lucy Calkins and her colleagues at the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia Teachers College. Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers are all teaching at least one full unit.
The curriculum includes units of study that allow students to practice narrative, informational and opinion writing. What makes the curriculum unique is that students learn the writing process that is practiced by authors. Teachers start with mini lessons, to break down the different pieces of writing.
First grade teacher Stephanie Henry has worked with the units for many years and said, “The units have pushed the depth of writing for students. The language is consistent for every grade providing cohesive writing instruction throughout all grade levels.”
Henry’s class recently published their informational writing pieces in which students taught their readers about a topic of their own interest. As an extension of informational writing students are currently conducting group research projects on various sea creatures. Students will use Chromebooks as well as other resources such as nonfiction texts and articles to gather information. Students will then synthesize their information and create a final product using Google Slides.