Learning List has reviewed Heinemann’s Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Study
for grades K-5. This supplemental writing program is made up of a set of print resources for teachers with additional materials available on CD-ROM. Based on the work of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, Units of Study
incorporates a workshop approach to teaching writing skills that focuses on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for writing.
At each grade level, content is organized in four 6-week units that include opinion, information, and narrative writing, as well as an additional unit (e.g., memoir). Additional, shorter units are provided in a separate book, titled “If…Then…Curriculum: Assessment-Based Instruction.” Each unit is organized in “Bends” (i.e., bend in the road). For example, the grade 5 unit for research-based argument essays is made up of three Bends: (1) Establishing and Supporting Positions, (2) Building Powerful Arguments, and (3) Writing for Real-Life Purposes and Audiences. Bends are made up of sets of lessons, or “Sessions,” that follow a consistent format across grades K-5. CD-ROMs for each grade level contain additional resources to support each unit (e.g., photographs), printable checklists and handouts for students, and video samples of student work.
Daily writing workshops last 50-60 minutes and foster the development of higher level thinking skills (e.g., synthesis, analysis). Content is organized sequentially within and across grades and learning progressions are provided. Accompanying sets of trade books for each grade level are available from the publisher.
Units of Study uses a system of performance-based assessments to evaluate students’ writing skills. The “Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions” text provides teachers with comprehensive guidance in implementing the system, as well as writing prompts and rubrics to support assessment.
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*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from Heinemann.
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