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Strategic Writing Mini-Lessons for All Students, Grades 4–8

Strategic Writing Mini-Lessons for All Students, Grades 4–8

Edited by:

Foreword by Jane Hansen

November 2012 | 264 pages | Corwin

Power up writing instruction with short, differentiated lessons!

The hard reality? By the time they reach middle school, many of our students still lack basic writing skills, and this may be one of their last opportunities to get up to speed before they reach high school. There's no better resource for you to help them do so than Strategic Writing Mini-Lessons for All Students, Grades 4–8.

Covering all four essential writing strategies—inventing, drafting, writing, and editing—these differentiated mini-lessons follow an easy-to-navigate, consistent structure, including:

  • A schematic linking lessons to the grade-level goals of the Common Core 
  • Adaptations for struggling writers, English Language Learners, and even advanced writers with every lesson
  • Support for different types of learners through use of color-coding techniques, charts, art, and other visual tools
  • Specific guidance on developing your students' confidence as writers and their ability to work independently

Within no time, your students will write with a newfound competence and confidence, better equipped to meet the demands ahead of them.

"This book is the most useful writing resource I have encountered in all my years of teaching. It is filled with practical strategies to produce writers with high-quality work product and high interest in the craft of writing."
—Linda Sarver, Teacher
Excelsior Springs, MO

Foreword by Jane Hansen
Introduction: Meeting Your Students’ Needs With Specific Writing Strategies by Janet C. Richards, Cynthia A. Lassonde
Section I. Strategic Inventing: Contemplating Ideas
1. Color-Coding Sources by Cynthia A. Lassonde
2. Developing Students’ Awareness of Their Strengths as Writers with an I-Can! Chart by Joanne Durham
3. Using a Blueprint Graphic Organizer to Build a Story by Jennifer A. Fontenot
4. Using Genre Charts to Guide Planning and Writing by Gabe Horn, Susan D. Martin
5. Reciprocal Text Structure Mapping for Expository Writing by Joyce C. Fine
6. Thanks for the Memories! Using a Sensory-Details Chart to Prepare to Write by Sandra Gandy, Mariah Kraus
7. Organizing an Expository Essay: Using Big Idea Checklists to Support Writers by Allison Stone, Joyce C. Fine
Section II. Strategic Drafting: Putting Ideas on Paper
8. Quilting Together an Expository Paper in Four Steps by Cynthia A. Lassonde
9. Team Writing to Foster Students’ Motivation to Write: Moving From Group Work to Independence by Janet C. Richards
10. Use Your Words: Learning to Paraphrase by Janet C. Richards
11. Creating Rounded Characters through Cartoon Connections by Krishna Seunarinesingh
12. Applying the Structure Strategy to Write Persuasive Texts by Bonnie J. F. Meyer, Jennifer Ireland, Melissa Ray
13. Buddies Build It Stronger: A Sentence-Combining Strategy by Todd Sundeen
Section III. Strategic Revising: Attending to Organization and Cohesiveness
14. Deconstruct Then Reconstruct a First Draft by Cynthia A. Lassonde
15. Portal Writing: A Strategy to Help Writers Rethink Their Writing by S. Rebecca Leigh
16. Conferring with an Avatar by Chase Young, Lynda Swanner
17. Writing Aloud: A Sound-Savvy Approach to Writing by Sandra K. Athans
18. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Revising With Photographs by Noreen S. Moore
Section IV. Strategic Editing: The Finishing Touch
19. Revising and Editing Through Primary Sources by Nancy Williams, Kathleen Muir
20. Code Switching, an Editing Strategy by Rebecca Wheeler
21. The Imagine, Describe, Resolve, and Confrim (IDRC) Strategy by Lindsay Sheronick Yearta, Katie Stover, Lynne Newton, Karen Wood
22. Probable Passages: Using Story Structure to Write and Revise a Predictive Passage by Katie Stover, Jean Vintinner, Crystal Glover, Karen Wood
About the Authors
About the Contributors

“Teachers often worry about how to teach writing to students at different levels, especially to students who seem to struggle as writers. With those teachers in mind, this book provides tips about how to tailor instruction.”

Jane Hanson, Director
Central Virginia Writing Project

“This book is the most useful writing resource I have encountered in all my years of teaching. It is filled with practical strategies to produce writers with high-quality work product and high interest in the craft of writing.”

Linda Sarver, Teacher
Excelsior Springs, MO

"A true resource for the teacher of writing. The plethora of strategies is accessible and appropriate for each grade level and learning ability.”

Gary L. Willhite, Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

"Great resource! A variety of helpful strategies are offered by teachers in authentic classroom situations. Modifications of these lessons for struggling, ELL, and advanced students enable all to benefit."

Marsha Basanda, Fifth-Grade Teacher
Bell's Crossing Elementary, Simpsonville, SC

“As a Middle School Literacy Specialist with many years of experience in teaching reading and writing, I appreciate this book and highly recommend it as a tool for educators. The authors have compiled the most reliable and best proven practices for teaching writing and made them easily accessible for students’ immediate use. This book not only has tested methods that work for teaching writing, it has modifications for all students, including struggling and advanced writers. Best of all, you’ll discover practical approaches that provide actual mini-lessons with integrated Common Core Standards and ideas to generate purpose for writer motivation. Whether you teach English, Science, Reading, or any other area, your students can benefit from learning the writing strategies in this book.”

Bonnie Snyder, Literacy Specialist
Schoharie Central School, Schoharie, NY
Key features
  • Presents a model for teaching writing that is derived from various theoretical frameworks and based on the authors' extensive experiences teaching writing to primary students and students in the upper elementary grades.
  • Includes mini-lessons that allow teachers to meet students' writing instructional needs through 15- to 30-minute differentiated, direct-instruction lessons that they can connect to any district, school, or classroom writing program.
  • Features grade-specific instructional strategies that are clearly scaffolded for learners at various levels
  • Includes chapters written by practicing teachers that include authentic scenarios and effective classroom strategies
  • In addition to being classroom-tested, each strategy is linked to sound research
  • Includes strategies that can be easily adapted for cross-circular lessons

Sample Materials & Chapters

Foreword by Jane Hansen

Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781452235011

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