Unit Design Plan for First or Second-Grade Children
A two-week initial unit to
launch an ongoing writing program for primary grade children
Goals of This Unit
use the knowledge and procedures of Robert Graves in a fun and meaningful experience for children in creating writings and
children will learn the important truth that self-expression is not difficult. Once set in motion – using the initial
conditions of paper, pen, inventive spelling and a daily short period of quiet writing – the process continues spontaneously
for them. 22
will learn the answer to three essential questions:
· Can I write a story?
· Can I make my story interesting enough so that my family will enjoy it?
· How will it feel to create something as "important" as a book?
is this project important at this grade level? How will it benefit the student?
the value of writing can seem non-immediate to a child, when it is not used for something concrete in
their life. Children are taught to respect books highly. For them to create a book themselves,
therefore, puts their self-esteem at a very high level. 37
Standards and Benchmarks Developed:
Council of Teachers of English Standards -
apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience,
their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification
strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g. sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context and
· "Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own
purposes (e.g. learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information)."
"Science of Creative Intelligence"
Depends Upon Inner"
principle of the outer world depending upon his inner experience becomes clear to the child after even the first
five-minute session in writing. He has begun with essentially nothing (paper and pen) and magically has created a sentence
or a paragraph that he can then read back to himself. Where did the writing come from? Not from the outside; so it must be
from the inside! 34
is self-referral "to the second power" for a young writer: “I
can write by myself … and about myself!”
Skill Developed by Unit Activity:
drawing words out from within, the child must generate the appropriate terms to describe his experience; and he must decide
what letters to use to represent on paper any new words which he does not yet know
how to spell. The child alternates, therefore, between author and reader of his own work continuously while creating
it. This structures the very core of personal literacy, i.e. a healthy identification with written language.
of the studio atmosphere to support the child’s individual writing experience shows the child that he or she can write
anywhere – even with several other people around him. This workshop environment is also supportive to various aptitude
levels or learning styles:
· The slower writer is inspired by the sharing of works from more fluent writers at the end of the studio each day. 12
The gifted child is given
unrestricted license 15 minutes, four to five times weekly, to let her boundless creativity flow onto her paper. 13
Even non-writing handicapped
learners can join in by recording letters in any order as “pretend” words, which
can then be “translated into writing" by the teacher as the child narrates his or her story orally. The child can
then enjoy illustrating his or her typed story. 14
restricted children can perform the whole process of book creation – including the selection of clip art as illustration
– on the classroom computer. 9
Overall Supporting Experience
may be written about any topic, from home to school life and beyond. The creation of a book can then begin the creation of
a hundred books over the course of a child’s elementary education. And the
notoriety the child receives for his finished product from family members and friends builds his courage in all future
educational endeavors. 1
To provide the child hands-on experience
in recording his life and circumstances, so that he or she becomes aware of the
tool of writing as a means of self-exploration and fulfillment
· To develop the child’s ability to see himself and his
life in the cool light of common sense which the written word sheds
· To allow the child to employ his self-gained life knowledge
to compare, analyze and synthesize his world by happily writing about it
· To combine aspects of the child’s verbal and artistic
skill in one great work of self-expression – a book!
Performance Rubric for Young Writers Workshop 17
Finished work shows dedication to the project of creating a book.
Child seems to gain from the experience of observing his life in writing.
Child shows desire and confidence to read his book to his family.
Child is able to incorporate great detail in his writing.
Illustrations are colorful or detailed and match the subject matter of the page.
Child is able to create sentences about his chosen topic.
Child enjoys writing his experiences down on paper.
Child is unable to remain with project long enough to begin significant writing.
Child does not enjoy the process of writing
his or her book.
an inspiration toward good themes and great creativity in their personal story-telling, quality books with high idealism and/or
literary skill and quality illustrations should be read to the children daily during the "Young Writers Course":
· "Horton Hatches an Egg" by Dr. Seuss
· "Make way for Ducklings"
by Robert McCloskey