Writing Grade 4
Unit: Authors as Mentors
Purposes: Authors as Mentors, 6 Traits of Writing, Writing Strategies, Craft (similes, personification, word choice, metaphors), Poetry and narrative writing
Essential Questions: What can we learn from authors? How can reading help our writing?

The focus during October-December is on lifting the quality of writing by focusing on craft and using authors as mentors. Students will learn about literary techniques and strategies for improving writing through lessons using mentor texts. Students will write a variety of narrative and poetry pieces, selecting at least one narrative to take through the entire writing process.

Desired Results

Common Core State Standards

Text Type and Purposes
3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
a. Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
b. Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
c. Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
d. Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
e. Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
Range of Writing
10.Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes and audiences.
Language Standards K-5
Conventions of Standard English
1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking
2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Knowledge of Language
3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
a. Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.
b. Choose punctuation for effect.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
    • Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

Connecticut Language Arts Grade Level Expectations
  • Use complete sentences in writing.
  • Write a variety of sentence beginnings, e.g., starts with an introductory adverb clause: If you want to see an ant up close, you should use a magnifying glass.
  • Write a variety of sentence lengths.
  • Write a variety of sentence structures, e.g., My dog enjoys music and howls when we listen to certain songs. It makes me laugh. After his song is over, I give him a treat.
  • Write a descriptive anecdote within a narrative to enhance elaboration
  • Write an imagery poem
  • Use literary devices, e.g. personification, metaphor, similes
  • Apply spelling knowledge in writing

Writing Process
  • Plan: choose an appropriate written, oral or visual format based on audience and purpose
  • Draft: complete a draft demonstrating connections among ideas
  • Revise: revise a completed draft, incorporating feedback from peers and teacher, e.g., … helped me understand the topic more clearly, I was confused by…, Be more clear about …, Use a better word for
  • Edit: use multiple resources, e.g., dictionary, glossary, thesaurus, for proofreading and editing
  • Publish/Present: publish and present final products in a variety of ways, including the arts and technology, e.g., book of poetry, a theatrical performance, a newscast
  • Reflect: critique one’s own and a peer’s writing, using established criteria, e.g., I improved on …, This piece demonstrates how well I elaborate.

Connecticut Mastery Test Objectives
Direct Assessment of Writing

Essential Questions
Authors can be mentors for our own writing.
How can reading help us as writers?

The student will know...
The students will be able to...
editing resources
flow and rhythm
variety of sentence beginnings and how they enhance writing, lengths and structures
literary devices and how they enhance writing: similes, personification, word choice, sensory details
techniques for improving writing
Plan, draft, revise, edit, publish/present, reflect

Use complete sentences in writing.
Write a variety of sentence beginnings, sentence lengths and sentence structures
Write poems and narratives using literary devices
Write a descriptive anecdote within a narrative
Enhance elaboration
Apply spelling knowledge in writing

Content Vocabulary
sensory details
word choice
6 Traits:

Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks

Published Story

6 Trait Rubric
Formative Assessments
Six Traits post-it notes
Writing Samples

Summative Assessments

Writing Prompt

Student Self-Assessments
Six Traits post-it notes

Learning Plan
The Writing Fix
Empowering Writers books
Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray
Cracking Open Author's Craft by Lester Leminack
Using Picture Books to Teach 6-Traits
List of Transitional Words

Possible Anchor Activities
Essential Question: Introduce the concept of learning from other authors. Use an example from own life about how you get ideas from other for something you do (gardening, sports, sewing, cooking) Ask "How might reading other people's stories help our own writing?"

Author's Craft Inquiry As students read mentor texts they ask "What do I see the author doing? Why does the author do this? Have I seen this in other writing? What is it called? How might I use it in my own writing?"
Wondrous Words
Cracking Open Author's Craft
Simile City: Students learn how to identify similes and discuss their purpose through inquiry, a skit, and a hunt for similes.
Chris' folder
George's Marvelous Medicine
Hoot and HowlJoan Horton’s book of Halloween poems inspires students to try their hands at writing spooky poems. When your students build and decorate a large enough word bank for their writer's notebooks, they'll feel more empowered to attempt the dense, compacted writing of poetry.
Halloween word cards 2.docx
Halloween word cards.docx
Halloween word bank.docx
Hoot and Howl
Using 90th Street's Advice: First, writers will search for all four pieces of advice that young author, Eva, receives from her neighbors and then uses in her story found in the book Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street. Next, writers will apply the four pieces of advice as they brainstorm details about a person, place, and thing they have chosen to write about. Finally, writers will each create a descriptive paragraph that interestingly describes the person, place, and thing they have chosen.
Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street
Special Places to Love: Students write a paragraph about a special place they remember, then search for prepositional phrases in their rough draft. After a read-aloud of All the Places to Love, students talk about Patricia MacLachlan's use of prepositional phrases to give her sentences flow. Students revise their special place paragraphs to use meaningful prepositional phrases that share memorable details.
All The Places to Love
My Favorite Place The writer will imitate the poetic style of the setting descriptions in Douglas Wood’s A Quiet Place. Using figurative language techniques like simile, personification, and sensory images, the writer will develop a short poem about a setting inspired by our interactive setting generator or a special place from their own lives.
A Quiet Place
Voice Thread Poetry
Silly Animal Problems
Dav Pilkey’s story, Dog Breath, involves a family's distress over their dog, Hally Tosis, and his horrible breath. After enjoying the story, the writer will plan a detailed and sequenced story about an animal with a silly problem. While planning and revising, students will think about their use of memorable details and their story's pacing.
Dog Breath
Ba Da Bing!
This strategy helps the reader almost feel like they've "slipped into the skin" of the writer or character.
It consists of three parts: where the speaker was physically, what they saw, and what they thought.
You're on a Gigantic Roll:
The writer will imagine and compose a descriptive paragraph that focuses on a gigantic object moving through a specific setting and leaving destruction in its wake. The writer will choose an object and a setting in which the catastrophe will take place. Using high-quality details and strong verbs will help the writer create a showing paragraph.
James and the Giant Peach
Adventurous Magic
This writing activity is inspired by Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, and students will be asked to write about an original magical object that they have discovered in the "Elives’ Magic Supplies," just as Jeremy does in the story. Students will need to imagine themselves in the magic store where the proprietor tells them to look around until they find what they "need." The students will then create an organized scene based upon the magical object and how they will take care of it or use it, depending on their choice of objects.
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
4P Homework – The Magical Object.docx
For part one of your story.docx
For part two of your story.docx
For part three of your story.docx
Dragon Description.doc
This is a grocery list.doc