First Grade Writers: Units of Study to Help Children Plan, Organize, and Structure Their Ideas

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What readers will love about this book is that it offers big-picture understandings of teaching, then it zooms in and offers the details of that teaching.
- Katie Wood Ray, author of About the Authors

First graders have no shortage of ideas. The hard part for them is putting thoughts together into a cohesive draft. Organizing and planning for writing defy simple description and aren't easily modeled for students, making them challenging topics to convey to young children. Where do you find the language and tactics to teach these subtle processes?

With First Grade Writers, Stephanie Parsons will change how you think about teaching the thinking behind writing. Parsons outlines five specific units of study for your writing workshop that help students prepare thoughtfully to write. Beginning with a September unit specially designed to introduce the writing workshop to first graders and build a classroom community that supports risk taking and learning, each successive unit builds upon the previous one and fosters independence. By June your students will know how to plan for writing out loud and on paper, leading to elegant, well-structured pieces. The units also help children to differentiate the planning and organization needed to write:

  • fiction
  • personal narrative
  • nonfiction Q & A books
  • pattern books.
Best of all, First Grade Writers is corner-of-the-desk practical with concise, logically laid-out descriptions of how each unit of study operates, a variety of helpful tables, charts, and assessment diagnostics, as well as elaborations, teaching points for minilessons and conferences, troubleshooting tips, and month-by-month planning assistance.

If you're new to first grade, Stephanie Parsons will give you ideas for top-notch teaching that will be invaluable as you establish your first writing workshop. If you're a veteran, the units in First Grade Writers will augment your existing workshop and help your students clearly conceptualize what high-quality writing looks like. Either way, you'll help them write better by thinking about the thinking behind good writing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325005249
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 8/30/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 800,908
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Parsons is the author of Introduction to Writing Workshop, Grades 3-5, a course on Heinemann's Digital Campus. She knows the big goals we have for students - and the joy and pride we feel when they reach them. As a literacy consultant, a former staff developer with Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and a former teacher, she loves working alongside teachers and children to discover new ways of teaching. She hopes you will feel the power of transformative teaching along with your students. Stephanie is the author of the Heinemann titles First Grade Readers, Second Grade Writers, and First Grade Writers as well as a coauthor with Lucy Calkins of Units of Study for Primary Writing, classroom materials from firsthand. After attending Yale University and Teachers College at Columbia University, she became a first grade teacher at P.S. 321 in Brooklyn. She is now a reading and writing staff developer working with elementary schools in New York City and across the country.
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Table of Contents


Foreword, by Katie Wood Ray Building a Community of Writers Pattern Books Nonfiction Question-and-Answer Books Personal Narrative Fiction Conclusion

Appendix A: Suggested Mentor Texts

Appendix B: Types of Paper

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2008

    Excellent Resource

    This is a great book filled with resources on how to teach writers workshop to first graders in a way that honors their ideas. Assessments, suggested strategies are offered to guide and pace you through each unit described. I recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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