Writing Workshop Architecture Assessment Mentor Texts and Charts Sample Lessons
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Sample Lessons
by Genre

“Sometimes little things make a big difference. With young students’ writing, paper choice is one of those little, but important things.”Lisa Eickholdt


Planning is an integral part of the writing process. We teach older students to make a plan before they write by using some sort of graphic organizer such as a web, timeline, or boxes and bullets. Teachers of younger writers (students in kindergarten through about mid-third grade) will want to provide students with various types of paper to write on instead. For these beginning writers, the paper is the plan.

Young writers do not understand how to transfer information from a graphic organizer to their writing like older students. When asked to use a graphic organizer before writing, most young students write the whole story on the organizer and later transfer it to their paper. This is simply a waste of time. In addition, when given a whole notebook page to write on, young students try to fill up the paper. This leads to unfocused writing or in the case of a narrative, a “bed-to-bed” story (Anderson, 2009). Instead, when we provide developmentally appropriate paper choices, say three pages of paper stapled into a small booklet for a narrative piece, the paper scaffolds the student’s plan (this little booklet supports writing a beginning, middle and end).
You will notice teachers on this website teaching students to plan in little books by first orally rehearsing their writing (“touch each page and say your story aloud”), sketching pictures (to hold their ideas), and finally writing (see Shannon’s Minilesson Video on Planning a How-to piece and the charts module for examples of this procedure).
To assist you with this work, we have included a variety of paper choices on this page. It is our hope that you and your students will find these useful and develop new paper choices of your own as you work in various units of study.

Supporting Documents/Paper Choices:

(click on a link to download a sample writing paper)