Skip to main content Skip to main content

Inside Writing Communities, Grades 3-5

Program 7: Teaching the Writing Craft

This program examines whole-class instruction in the writing workshop, looking at why teachers choose this type of instruction and how they integrate it with other instructional strategies such as working with individuals and small groups.

View Transcript


Watch the 30-minute video “Teaching the Writing Craft.” If you prefer to watch the video in segments, you can stop at the times suggested below or use the Video Guide (PDF) — a detailed outline of the video — to help you determine places to stop for discussion.

Answer the questions that follow each segment, jotting down your answers in your notebook or using them as discussion starters.

Exploring Genres With Whole-Class Lessons

In the first segment, Mark Hansen and Latosha Rowley use whole-class lessons to begin immersing their third-graders in new genres. Mark relies on an inquiry approach to help his students analyze the elements of persuasive letters, while Latosha provides a framework her students can use to categorize the poems they read and write.  (Stop after Latosha’s segment. You will find find this image at the end of the segment, approximately 19 minutes into the video.)

  • What are the advantages of presenting a sample piece of student writing on the overhead, as Mark does? What other ways could you and your students share and analyze writing samples?
  • What evidence do you see that Latosha’s students have absorbed her lesson about “feeling” and “seeing” poems? How do you think the lesson will help them read and write poetry in the future?
  • What strategies do you use to encourage all students to participate in whole-group discussions?

Mark Hansen: Lesson Background (PDF)

Latosha Rowley: Lesson Background (PDF)

Learning About Leads Through Whole-Class Instruction

In the final segment, fifth-grade teacher Lindsay Dibert uses whole-class instruction to help her students write new leads for their personal narratives.  (Play to the end of the program.)

  • Summarize the sequence of activities you observe in Lindsay’s lesson on leads.
  • According to Jack Wilde, whole-class instruction allows students to learn from one another’s responses. How does Lindsay organize her lesson to maximize this experience?
  • Think about your own writing instruction. During a typical class period, how many different activities are your students engaged in?

Lindsay Dilbert: Lesson Background (PDF)