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A Year of Curriculum

The number of days varies per teacher and class. These are only guidelines for length needed to complete a lesson. Often the plans take longer then listed. By the time you have shortened school weeks, breaks, institute days, fire drills, assemblies, etc., there are more then enough plans here to get you through the year. AND GUESS WHAT? We are always adding more!


This is an example of what the Grade 5 Curriculum looks like. Other grades have slight variations in lessons. For example, Grade 8 writes a Fable during the Narrative Unit.



Narrative Unit  - Approx. 7 weeks

Make an Entrance is the introductory lesson for the Narrative Unit. The goal is to make writing a visual process the students can transfer to oral writing, and then finally to a written piece. Play it up and show off your acting skills! Kids love this lesson. 1 Day


Where Ideas are Born is the second lesson for the Narrative Unit. The ideas within this lesson will be covered in more depth throughout the unit. Concepts covered: sequential order, word choice, generating ideas, action verbs, plot line, and characters dealing with problems. 5 days


A Small Moment in Time is a lesson that master storytellers have learned well, but it is a challenge for young writers. Most kids move through time too quickly when writing a narrative. This lesson will help fix that common narrative problem. The plans are for one day, but you may just practice it longer. 1 Day


Dialogue-a-rhea is one of my personal favorites. If you have ever read a narrative that rambles on-and-on with pointless conversation then this lesson is for you. Like the above lesson, you may use more than one day to practice this one. 1 Day


Passive Verbs Flatten Your Writing is a lesson that turns average writing into a creation you will be proud to show off. Writing in the Active Voice is something all writers of every age should practice. 1-2 Days


Point-of-View will help students determine which narrative voice they prefer to write in. 1-2 Days


Verb Tense will help students recognize past from present tense. The lesson will also stress the importance of writing in the same tense throughout a narrative. 1 Day 


Write Tight is designed to help students eliminate unnecessary words. Most writers tend to use more words than needed. This can distract readers from the story and slow down the plot. 1 Day


Writing Dialogue in the Correct Form focuses on the proper use of dialogue tags, quotation marks, and punctuation in and around those quotes. You could easily stretch this lesson into two days. 1-2 Days


5 Days of Descriptive Writing breaks the idea of a descriptive paragraph down into three distinct forms: Descriptive Setting, Character, and Object. Your students will see how these three paragraph types interact together. 5 Days


Weaving Narrative and Descriptive Together guides students through the process of mixing narrative (action) paragraphs with their descriptive paragraphs to form a complete narrative story. 5 Days


Writing Historical Fiction will help your students not only write in this challenging genre, but they will better comprehend it when they read it. This lesson is the most challenging in the entire unit. It will use everything they have learned so far. 5 Days

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 Expository Unit - Approx. 8 weeks


Expository Introduction exposes the students to the characteristics that separates expository writing from the other genres. I refer to this type of writing as informational or nonfiction writing throughout the unit. Lots of kids are turned off by that big, scary, teacher word - Expository. 1 Day


Text Features for Nonfiction Writing is the most important lesson in this unit. Some schools cover this during their reading portion. You may teach it in either reading or writing, but make sure that you do not skip this concept. These plans go into detail explaining what text features are and how we use them. 5 Day


Using Headings and Subheadings expands on the last lesson. Depending on how quickly your students catch on to this idea will determine the number of days this lesson takes. Some years I can get through it in a single day, other years it takes longer. This lesson gets the students to start thinking about details to make their informational writing more interesting to the reader. 2-3 Days


Finding and Highlighting Vocabulary helps students determine what words their reader may not know, and how to define it for them. Younger students have a difficult time with this. They assume that if they know a word, then everyone does. This is a great lesson for the students to start thinking about who really is going to read their writing and what information the reader needs. 1-2 Days


Clay Snake is a favorite of mine. This lesson teaches the importance of details when writing sequential text. Your class will love it, just be sure you follow their directions for making a clay snake literally. Do not assume anything. This is the first lesson covering the six paragraph types that we will discuss during this unit. You might just hurt yourself from laughter if you play this one up. Have fun. 1 Day


Compare/Contrast Paragraph is the second lesson of the six paragraph types we are covering in this unit. This paragraph (text structure) is used all the time in informational writing. 1-2 Days


Definition Paragraph helps students to identify when there are concepts or words in their writing that the reader may not understand. Once again, this lesson will reinforce to your class that the reader may not know as much detail about the subject as they do. 1-2 Days


Opinion/Fact Paragraph digs into the idea that a writer must support their opinions with facts or research. That is why this paragraph type is written with the opinion first. What makes this challenging for students is the misconception that if they agree with an opinion, they assume it is a fact. 1-2 Days


Problem/Solution Paragraph provides students with a text structure option they may not have used much in the past, yet it is found throughout Expository Writing. 1-2 Days


Question/Answer Paragraph is the last of the six paragraph types we are covering in this unit. Once again, this is a common writing style that is found in Expository. 1-2 Days


Basic Nonfiction Sequential has the students write a sequential paper using their own expertise. No research is needed yet. We are still working with the idea of what informational writing is. The term "Basic" in the title refers to using their own prior knowledge. 2-3 Days


Basic Nonfiction "Expert" Lesson expands on the last lesson. This one though does not just rely on sequential text. The students are able to expand their ideas using the different paragraph types we practiced earlier in the unit. This lesson also relies on the students' own prior knowledge. 2-3 Days


Culture Project will dive into research. This project works great cross-curriculur with your Social Studies or History classes. During this lesson the students will get to dive into the process of answering their own curiosity. The final outcome is to create a class book on different world cultures both current and ancient. 5 Days


Biography/Wax Museum is the culmination of the Expository Unit. It requires research, but also allows the students to have some choice in what they choose for their project. I use this unit every year as a living wax museum. You may choose to do so, or just focus on the research and write a paper. These plans assume that your class will be doing the wax museum and have everything you need to complete the project. 10 Days

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Persuasive Unit - Approx. 6 weeks


Introduction is the start of the Persuasive Unit. This lesson compares and contrasts Persuasive and Argumentative Writing. It also goes through the major characteristics of what Persuasive is. 2 Days


Know the Audience dives deep into understanding who we are writing for. Depending on the topic, the audience will vary. This lesson also discusses human emotions and desires and how they impact our writing. 4 Days


Print Advertisement introduces the idea that visuals are used all the time in Persuasive Writing. 2-3 Days 


Selling a Product takes the ideas we learned in the previous lesson and continues to expand on them. We are bombarded with Persuasive Writing everyday. This lesson will not only refine your student's skills, but make them aware of what we hear and see around us. 3-4 Days


The Power of Evidence teaches students how important it is to back up our opinions and claims with evidence. 5 Days


The Power of Three explores a long-standing persuasive technique used for thousands of years. 3-4 Days


Design-a-Ride lets the students get a feel for what a real-world project might be like. This lesson puts the student in the role of a roller coaster designer. They must persuade people why their ride should be built in a new theme park. 5 Days


Design-a-Restaurant is a continuation of the last lesson. This one asks that the students work in partners to complete the same type of project, but with a restaurant. Collaboration is a major part of the learning process. 5 Days

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Argumentative - Approx. 6 Weeks


Introduction explains what makes Argumentative Writing different. It also helps students understand how and why they make opinions that need supporting. 2-3 Days


The Opposition helps students to identify who may disagree with them and why. 1-2 Days


Argumentative Vocabulary explores how the use of words can make our writing more professional and objective. 1-2 Days


Picture Book Argument uses a popular children's story to write a complete Argumentative paper. It even provides the opportunity for an oral debate if you wish to do so. 3-4 Days


Court Trial is one of my favorites. Students gather evidence from a crime committed at school. They then compile that evidence to present who they feel is guilty. 5 Days


"Hot Topic" Partner explores more controversial issues. Each student will partner up and decide what position they are going to take while arguing against the opposition. 5 Days


Mystery from History has the students research a topic before they form an opinion. This lesson lets the students dig deeper into their curiosity to promote further fact finding. 5 Days


Write It / Speak It is all about the oral presentation. Delivering an effective Argumentative speech is an important skill that will carry through your students' lives. 5-7 Days

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