I have been getting a lot of questions about the units of study available in my Teachers pay Teachers store. I think it’s great that you all are asking questions!! I love to help teachers in any way I can. So, I decided to create this post of FAQ’s that I have received so that you all can have additional information in one spot. I will add to the list of questions as needed.
Q: I do not have the read-aloud picture books that you recommend for the lessons. Do I need to buy them?
A: Absolutely not! The picture books that I reference in all the lessons are merely suggestions of titles that go along nicely with the reading/writing strategy for that day. The lessons are focused on teaching students reading/writing strategies that they can apply to reading any text or writing in any genre. They are not lessons that teach to the content of a specific text; therefore, any text can be used to model the skills taught. Any read-aloud texts that you have in your classroom can work with these lessons. Some people like to have the exact titles, but it is NOT necessary. It is completely up to you if you would like to use the titles I suggest.
Q: What order do you recommend teaching the units?
A: The order in which you teach the units is completely up to you and how your school/district maps out the curriculum. I do suggest beginning the year with “Launching the Reading and Writing Workshops” (although this unit can be taught at any time; some teachers use it again after winter break). I teach the personal narrative unit next because I have found that students have an easier time writing about themselves than anything else. This unit is a great way to get all students involved in writing! After that I usually teach the informational unit so that I can introduce some nonfiction. Each year varies after the third unit. Again, it is totally up to you and what order works best.
Q: Are you making units for first and second grade?
A: Yes! I am planning to create units for first and second grade! These will take some time though. I do a heavy amount of research before I begin to develop each unit. I take creating these units very seriously as I want to develop the best lessons for the appropriate grade levels. I am hoping to have units for first and second grade by the end of 2013!
Q: Are these units based on Lucy Calkins Units of Study (I get this question all the time!)?
A: I have heard of Lucy Calkins and think she is doing some amazing things with writing! But, I have not studied or taught with any of her units. I have been trained at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA with Irene Fountas and her colleagues as a Literacy Collaborative Coordinator. I believe that many of the ideas from Irene and Lucy are similar and align with best practices in the area of literacy instruction.
Q: Are the lessons the same from grades 3-6 in your units?
A: Yes, the lessons are the same in my units from grades 3-6. The only difference between the grade level units is the Common Core Standards that are attached. Teachers always have the opportunity to change some vocabulary in the mini lesson statements so that their students can understand each lesson. Every classroom is filled with unique students that only that teacher knows best. I would expect the language in the statements to change slightly based on student needs. I have taught these units in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6. They are appropriate for each level. Of course I have found with the older students that I can go deeper with them. I can challenge their thinking a little more, which makes the lessons fun and new each year!
Q: Will your units for grades 1-2 have the same lessons as the 3-6 units?
A: The units will likely be the same genres, but the lessons will be much different. The vocabulary, expectations, and activities will change to fit the needs of first and second graders. I fully understand how different primary is from intermediate and I want the units to reflect the needs of primary. This is another reason why these units will take a while before they are published.
Q: Can you create SMART Board lessons for these units?
A: I would LOVE to be able to create SMART Board lessons for the units. However, I do not have that software.
Question #8 (Added August 16, 2013)
Q: Based on the reader’s/writer’s notebook dividers in your units, how many pages
do you recommend having in each section?
A: This is what I would recommend for Reader’s Notebook:
*About 10 pages for the ‘reading log’ section
*Split ‘mini lessons’ and ‘reading responses’ in half
This is what I would recommend for the Writer’s Notebook:
*The first half for ‘gathering seeds’
*Split the second half with ‘mini lessons’ and ‘word work’
I hope this post has helped answer all your questions about my units of study!
***Please add any additional questions you have in the comments section. I am here to help 🙂