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Citation: Calkins, Lucy. (2007). Seeing Possibilities: An Inside View of Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. (DVD).


Title: Seeing Possibilities: An Inside View of Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5
ISBN:
ISBN-13:
Edition:
Year: 2007
Publisher: Heinemann
City: Portsmouth, NH
Medium: DVD
Author(s): Calkins, Lucy
Grades: Third Grade to Fifth Grade
Category: Units of Study for Writing Genre-Based Units of Study Responding to and Publishing Writing Minilessons Writing Conferences
Annotation: If you are an intermediate teacher who is using "Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3 – 5," you’ll definitely want to have this DVD in your room or in the professional library at your school. Coaches will want to use this powerful DVD with study groups who are implementing the Units of Study by Lucy Calkins and her colleagues. Teachers who are not using “units” can still benefit from viewing these masterful writing minilessons and conferences in action. Teachers and literacy coaches have begged for video clips of strong minilessons and writing conferences in intermediate grades. Now we have them from Lucy Calkins and her colleagues. This powerful DVD is a product that supports the Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3 – 5. The focus is on four of the units: “A Guide to Writing Workshop,” “Launching the Writing Workshop,” “Raising the Quality of Narrative Writing” and “Breathing Life into Essays”. The DVD includes live clips of seven minilessons and seven writing conferences in actual classrooms where teachers and students are fully engaged in writing workshop. As a learner, you can view the minilesson or conference in its original form and reflect on what you learn to apply to your own teaching. Then you can watch and listen to Lucy’s commentary in which she shares what she did in the lesson or conference, names each of the teaching moves, then reflects about her insights and decisions. You’ll be able to actually see the “architecture” of a minilesson – “connection, explicit teaching, active involvement and link to independent work.” And you will listen in on her predictable conference structure of “research, decide, and teach.”

Teachers and literacy coaches have begged for video clips of strong minilessons and writing conferences in intermediate grades. Now we have them from Lucy Calkins and her colleagues. This powerful DVD is a product that supports the Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3 – 5. The focus is on four of the units: “A Guide to Writing Workshop,” “Launching the Writing Workshop,” “Raising the Quality of Narrative Writing” and “Breathing Life into Essays”. The DVD includes live clips of seven mini lessons and seven writing conferences in actual classrooms where teachers and students are fully engaged in writing workshop. As a learner, you can view the minilesson or conference in its original form and reflect on what you learn to apply to your own teaching. Then you can watch and listen to Lucy’s commentary in which she shares what she did in the lesson or conference, names each of the teaching moves, then reflects about her insights and decisions. You’ll be able to actually see the “architecture” of a mini lesson – “connection, explicit teaching, active involvement and link to independent work.” And you will listen in on her predictable conference structure of “research, decide, and teach.”

Whether you’re a classroom teacher or a literacy coach, it’s really useful to view each minilesson and conference several times since that helps to internalize the conference language and to hone the fine art of identifying teaching points from each conference. Watching the DVD will help you begin to craft your own lessons and conferences to meet your student needs. For years we have taught our students to “show not tell” in their writing. At last, we have a way to “show not tell” teachers what solid writing instruction looks and sounds like. All of us will be better writing teachers from studying these examples of master teachers working alongside students.