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180 Days to Successful Writers

180 Days to Successful Writers
Lessons to Prepare Your Students for Standardized Assessments and for Life

February 2006 | 296 pages | Corwin
In today's high-stakes environment, standardized test scores determine much more than student performance. Scores are linked to school status, the amount of funding a school receives, and ultimately a teacher's job security. Which means teachers not only need to teach their students how to write well for practical purposes-they must also teach them how to write well on timed tests. Luckily, it is possible to do both using one curriculum.

This book provides teachers with a writing curriculum that prepares students for standardized writing tests while helping them develop skills for lifelong writing success. Adaptations for gifted students and for low-performing students are also provided. Finally, a way for teachers to provide direct quality writing instruction that allows them to meet testing demands in time and with confidence!

About the Authors
1. No-Brainers and Bosses: Laying the Foundation
Curriculum Overview


Instruction Framework

Preparing to Teach

Week 1 Lesson Plans (Focus: Pretests and Prompt Differentiation)

2. Pickle Sandwiches and TCUPSS: Beginning Expository Writing
Week 2 Lesson Plans (Focus: The Expository Writing Process)

3. Rainbow Words and Awe-Inspiring Adjectives: Enhancing Expository
Week 3 Lesson Plans (Focus: Author’s Voice)

Week 3 Lesson Plans (Focus: Author’s Voice)

Week 5 Lesson Plans (Focus: Pace and Independence)

4. It all Started With a Tier Cake: Directing Narrative Structure
Week 6 Lesson Plans (Focus: Narrative Story Structure)

5. Ask for Likely Similes and Vivacious Verbs: Enhancing Narratives
Week 7 Lesson Plans (Focus: Syntax)

Week 8 Lesson Plans (Focus: Strong Verbs)

Week 9 Lesson Plans (Focus: Similes)

6. Dressing Things Up: Independent Writing
Week 10 Lesson Plans (Focus: Metaphors)

Week 11 Lesson Plans (Focus: Quotations)

Week 12 Lesson Plans (Focus: Sensory Details and Skeleton Plans)

Week 13 Lesson Plans (Focus: Hooks and Correcting Slang)

Week 14 Lesson Plans (Focus: Timed Writing)

Week 15 Lesson Plans (Focus: Anecdotes)

7. The Improvement Process: Diagnosing and Fixing Problems
Week 16 Lesson Plans (Focus: Grammar and Using a Rubric)

Week 17 Lesson Plans (Focus: Clarifying Problems)

Week 18 Lesson Plans (Focus: Elaboration)

Week 19 Lesson Plans (Focus: Conferencing and Self Reflection)

Week 20 Lesson Plans (Focus: Organization)

Week 21 Lesson Plans (Focus: Planning Difficult Prompts)

Week 22 Lesson Plans (Focus: Common Grammar Problems)

Week 23 Lesson Plans (Focus: Style, Voice, and Elaboration)

8. Timers and Deadlines: Preparing for a Test
Week 24 Lesson Plans (Focus: Reviewing the Basics)

Week 25 Lesson Plans (Focus: Writing Papers from Given Plans)

Week 26 Lesson Plans (Focus: Cooperative Writing)

Week 27 Lesson Plans (Focus: Studying for a Test)

9. Beyond Tests and Essays: Applying Expository Writing Knowledge
An Overview of the Projects

Adapting the Original Framework

Planning the Remaining School Year

Expository-Related Projects

Project #1: Newspaper Writing

Introducing Newspaper Journalism

Editorials, Part One

Editorials, Part Two

Interviews and Feature Articles, Part One

Interviews and Feature Articles, Part Two

Breaking News Articles

A Mini School Newspaper

Project #2: Subject Reports

Introducing Subject Reports


Writing Subject Reports

Project #3: List Poetry

Personal List Poem

Contrasting Lists Poem

Object List Poem

10. Beyond Tests and Stories: Applying Narrative Writing Knowledge
Narrative-Related Projects

Project #1: Autobiography

First Few Years

Family, Home, School, and the Future

Project #2: Chapter Books

Character Sketches

From Outline to Story Draft

Project #3: Plays

Introducing Plays and Sketches

Three-Act Plays (Group Lesson)

Three-Act Plays (Independent Practice)

Project #4: Narrative Poetry

One Sentence Narrative Poems

Humorous Story Poems

Real Life Ballads

11. Writing Outside the Lines: Advanced Lessons
Using This Chapter

Advanced Narrative Writing

Point of View: Who Is Telling the Story?

Tense: Once Upon a Time in the Future

Characterization, Part One: Nose Pickers and Football Quarterbacks

Characterization, Part Two: What Color Are Your Socks?

Setting: It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Hooks: Beyond Bangs

Plot and Pace: And Then What?

Plot and Pace: And Then What?

Symbols and Themes: What’s Your Drift?

Putting it all Together: The Complete Package!

Advanced Expository Writing

Essay Topics: My Own Prompts

Non-Prompted Writing: Organized Free Writing

Knowledge-Based Writing: I’m the Expert – Listen to Me

Contemplations: What’s Your Theory?

12. Going School-Wide: Ideas to Create a Spiraling Curriculum
Specific Writing Goals

Adapting the Curriculum


The Graphic Organizer

Sample Lessons

Suggested writing Topics

First Grade

The Graphic Organizer

The Graphic Organizer

Suggested Writing Topics

Second Grade

The Graphic Organizer

Sample Lessons

Suggested Writing Topics


"Teachers who lack a clearly articulated instructional plan for teaching writing skills will appreciate this year's worth of lessons presented in a logical, linear format."

Curriculum Connections, Fall 2006
School Library Journal

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

Please contact your Academic Consultant to check inspection copy availability for your course.

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ISBN: 9781412924498
ISBN: 9781412924481