How Writers Work Unit
This unit was created to introduce students to writing workshop, to the writing process, and to getting to know why writers write in the ways they do. The mentor texts in this unit of study will help students think about what authors and illustrators are thinking and feeling when they write and draw. They will also help students to notice how authors incorporate personal experiences, emotion, and details to enhance the experiences of readers.
In order for writing workshop to run smoothly, students will need to know what is expected of them. Procedural conversations such as how writing workshop will go, what writing tools are and how they will be used, where these tools will be stored, and how they will discuss and share their ideas are also presented in this unit.
Personal Narrative Unit
Personal narrative is telling the big and small stories of our lives. Personal narrative is typically the easiest, most natural form of writing for children because the stories are already complete inside of them, enabling the words to flow more easily onto the paper. It is this easy flow of words that supports a student’s efforts to produce a complete piece of writing. This also allows students to refine their writing because they better understand the heart of their piece.
Constructing meaningful personal narrative helps students to discover important things about who they are and what they hope to be like in the future. This type of writing also helps students make sense of their life experiences and discover that others may share similar experiences, even when they may have little else in common.
Schoolwide’s Fiction unit of study emphasizes the imaginative nature of fiction while encouraging students to see how fiction writers often draw their inspiration and material from real life. The fiction books in this unit offer imaginative plots and creative casts of characters that touch on real themes to which students will readily relate. The problems the heroes encounter and solve and the life lessons that they learn are all age-appropriate experiences that will mirror feelings and events first grade students are undergoing in their own lives. When young readers feel a real connection between themselves and the stories they read, they are much more eager and motivated to create their own stories for others to read.
This unit of study will not only allow students to enjoy many popular pieces of fiction but also form opinions about the books they have read. In their book reviews, students will describe the book they have read; offer an opinion about that book; supply a reason to support their opinion; and provide some sense of closure.
Children are naturally curious about their world. They often question and wonder about things they see, hear, and experience. They love to learn new information and share it with their friends, family, teachers, and anyone else who is willing to listen! How often do we find ourselves listening to students tell us fact after fact after fact about their new pets, the incredible place they visited over the weekend, or their most favorite toy?
The information they know and the facts they learn are what make up Nonfiction: All-About Books. Hearing the lines, “Did you know that . . .” or “Want to know something really cool?” are common phrases that echo in the classroom all day long. Writing all-about books allows students to take the information they know, gather some new “research,” and teach someone all about a topic of interest.