Friday, April 15, 2011

Writing with Units of Study & Lucy Calkins

Have you ever been at a loss for what to post about? You've had ideas but they just develop too slowly? Well that is what I've been going through. I think it is because work has been very busy, I'll have to post about that another day too. I should start making a list so I don't forget these. Anyway, today I got an email asking about a comment I made a few weeks ago on another blog. Inspiration hit, I suddenly remembered about something I wanted to post about. Writing! More specifically Lucy Calkin's Units of Study.

Last year my school district implemented a new writing program. It was a program that was written in house using Lucy Calkins writing program. We all got a handbook with pre-written lessons, a set of Lucy's books & a box of mentor texts. I have to say that although it was a bit difficult at times to get used to a new writing program it felt like Christmas to get all those goodies.

We got a set of each of these.

AND we got a box of mentor text for each grade. I can only share grades K-2 because I don't have those titles.
Mentor Texts for:
Good Dog Carl, Library Mouse, Scaredy Squirrel, It Looked Like Spilled Milk, Ducks, Yo! Yes?, Do's and Don'ts, When I was Little, When I was Five, Kids Poems: Teaching Kindergartners to Love Writing Poetry, The Hello Goodbye Window, Bunny Cakes, Chimpanzees Living in Communities, My Steps.
1st Grade
A Chair for My Mother, Sumi's Frst Day of School Ever, Kissing Hand, Owl Moon, Koala Lou, John Willy and Freddy McGee, Kids Poems: Teaching 1st graders to Love Writing Poetry, Shortcuts, Knufflebunny, Seahorses, Too Many Tamales, Alexander and the No Good, Very Bad Day.
2nd Grade
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, Fireflies, Marianthe's Story, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Piggie Pie, Amazing Grace, Wolves, Bat Loves the Night, The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry, Cook-a-Doodle-Doo, Chicks & Salsa, If I Build a Car.

So I said I would share and I am going to do just that. Below you will find 2 lessons from each quarter so that you can get a sample of how the lessons are set up.
*The yellow arrow shows the Grade (0 is Kinder). Quarter. Lesson # & state standard.
*The purple arrow shows the title of the lesson & what you will cover
*The green arrow tells the area you will be teaching/ or mode your in
*The orange arrow tells if you will address any writing traits.
*The blue arrow states the objective

I think the rest is kind of self explanatory, here are the lessons I scanned. I picked 2 lessons from each quarter for the grades I teach, Kinder, 1st & 2nd.
Kinder UoS Writing

1st Grade UoS Writing

2nd Grade UoS Writing

Have you used Lucy Calkin's program? Do you like it? If not what kind of Writing program do you use?

Hope your having a good weekend. :)

Ms. M


  1. Wow, this was awesome of you to share! I would love to use Lucy Calkins but my district doesn't and I can't afford to buy the units of study on my own. My plan is to overhaul how I teach writing for next year so this is a great start.

  2. I purchased U of S three years ago when I was single and living with my parents! Haha! It's really expensive, but I felt like it was a worthwhile investment in my classroom. Especially considering that my district doesn't have a core writing program.

    I absolutely love Units of Study. It has changed the way I approach writing, and although it's been difficult at times (without another teacher in the building to bounce thoughts off of), my students have become brilliant writers year after year. I will be presenting at a workshop for my county in June, so I'm in the process of getting information together for that. When I do, I'll post about it!


  3. Jenn, What if you wrote a Donors Choose grant for the set?

    Amanda, I think you will do a wonderful job as a presenter. :) It is very telling that they chose you. :)

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  4. I use U of S in my classroom & LOVE it! Thanks for posting these!

    Primary Inspired

  5. We use a program called Write from the Beginning which integrates Thinking Maps . I love it because it is developmental and recognizes the importance of drawing to help a child structure their thinking. Thinking maps are more than just graphic organizers since they can be used with linguistic patterns to build a child's vocabulary. Our kids are ELL's and this really scaffolds their learning.They have an opportunity to do all kinds of writing I might not have tried in previous years-response to literature, personal narrative, and expository writing.

  6. Fran,

    I will have to check that program out.

    Meanwhile, I checked out your blog & your fantastic! You have some wonderful activities & ideas I know my ELL students will just adore. Thank you for sharing them.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  7. I feel like a total stalker on your blog tonight, but I'm SO excited to find a blogger who loves workshop/lucy caulkins!! love this post =)

    mrs. Tabb

  8. Hello!

    Is there any possible way you could email me the document for first grade. I am also an ELL first grade teacher and my students are struggling with certain concepts. I'd love to refer to the document for ideas. Thank you!

    1. Hi Maddie,

      I am not sure what document you were looking for. I did post the names of the Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grade mentor test and some sample lessons. I have been told I can't share my whole curriculum because it belongs to the district I work in. Sorry.

      If there is any way I can help please feel free to contact me at msk1ell(at)gmail(dot)com.

      Hope that is helpful to you.

      Ms. M

  9. Thank you so much for this great info, we are integrating this into our writing curriculum now! I wanted to take a more detailed look at your K lesson plans, but Scribd won't allow me to download it. Would you mind emailing it to me? That would be so greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
    MOORE Fun In Kindergarten

  10. I just got U of S and would love to look at the K lesson plans, but I'm also having a hard time getting it from Scribd. Would you mind emailing it to me? Thanks for sharing your ideas!


  11. I love lucy calkins and have been implementing it for 5 years now very successfully. You could buy used copies of individual books on amazon. I highly recommend the small moments and poetry units from primary grades. I also recommend the realistic fiction one for upper grades.

  12. Can you tell me the differences between the 2 boxed sets you posted pictures of above? I can't enlarge them to read the titles better. I've been researching prices for the used books both separately and as sets and I think I'm starting to get confused between different editions. If you have a list of the titles in each set and publishing dates and ISBN numbers, that would be SO helpful! I'm trying to figure out if the ISBN numbers are different for each book, or the entire set, etc. Can't wait to try them out!

    1. I am sorry I don't have all that information now, but I can tell you that each box set has 5 or 6 books plus one CD. Also one box set is for K, 1, & 2 and the other is recommended for 3, 4, 5. At least it is what I have heard. Hope that helps.

  13. Lucy calkins is amazing. Love the units if writing! One bit of advice I have for those of u who mentioned not being able to afford them is to buy individual books used through amazon. My favorite being small moments and poetry. I discovered this when I lent one of my books out and needed a replacement. I got it used for $20 or $30. Worth the investment.

  14. I LOVE Lucy Calkins Units of Study! I had the opportunity to go to NYC over the summer to the writing institute at Columbia University and meet her (and learn from her) in person! I felt like I was meeting a celebrity! Such an amazing experience. As a result, my school purchased her newest, more grade level specific U of S. So no more k-2, but Kindergarten specific! Truly amazing! This is my 3rd year implementing and my first year implementing after being trained. My kids LOVE writers workshop time, they cheer when I say it's time for it. Music to a teacher's ears :)

  15. Hi,
    I cannot download fromScribb, can you email me the .pdf's instead?

    Looking forward to them.

  16. Hi!
    Just looking over your post on the writing unit for 1st grade. Was thinking about ordering it and have a question. Does the handbook and the pre written lesson come with the kit or is that something you have to purchase separately?


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