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Inside Writing Communities, Grades 3-5

Program 15: Writing Across the Curriculum

This program explores how teachers incorporate writing into other subjects and bring subject-area content into the writing workshop. It includes examples from several classrooms including fifth, fourth, and third grades.

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Watch the 30-minute video “Writing Across the Curriculum.” 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.

Writing Authentically in Content Areas

In the first segment, Katie Wood Ray and Christine Sanchez point to the importance of teaching students to write in a variety of forms and for many purposes. (Stop at the end of Christine’s lesson. You will find this image at the end of the segment, approximately eight minutes into the video.)

  • What do you imagine the writer’s notebook of a mathematician might look like? A scientist? A historian?
  • What kind of writing, learning, and questioning might you find in these notebooks?

Christine Sanchez: Lesson Background (PDF)

Preserving Student Choice When Writing in Content Areas

In the final segment, Nicole Outsen encourages her students to choose their own writing topics within the parameters of a social studies unit on the Lewis and Clark expedition and a writing unit on newspaper articles. (Play to the end of the program.)

  • What are the possible benefits of allowing students freedom of choice when writing in various content areas?
  • What are some possible genres that students might choose when writing about science? Social studies? Mathematics?

Nicole Outsen: Lesson Background (PDF)