...sharing thoughtful, mentor text-inspired lessons your students will love!
If you have not looked at Valued Voices by Dr. Debbie Wooten, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is a small book, but excellent and easily implemented. It connects writing with content areas by using picture books. It goes step-by-step in developing thinking by helping students to make connections with the text. Students start small, but grow into metacognitive thinkers and their writing reflects this. Dr. Wooten used this process with her 4th grade students. I used the same thing (tweaking for the age) in my kindergarten classroom. It does work. I was fortunate to be able to attend a 2 day workshop with her. This really does help kids begin to take ownership of their thinking and writing. As you can tell, I was very impressed.
I have also found that students (K-5) have difficulty in organizing their thoughts. I use the 4-square writing for this purpose. It is simple (and can be used for more than just writing) and can be used on all grade levels. I used it in my kindergarten class from the beginning of the year. It was successful. In my current positive as a literacy leader, I have used it in grades 1-5. Depending on the grade level, we come out with writing a simple 5 sentence paragraph to a 5 paragraph paper. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do an organizing for writing with the lowest ability group of 5th graders. They responded really well and found they really could write something besides "My dog is black." As we organize thoughts we also work through the editing and revision process. They found out they could do a good writing without "sweating blood." A couple of students said they would write in their journals now.
I have also worked with teachers on how to use rubrics with their students (even in 2nd grade). I used them in K (simple checklist rubric). The kids knew what they were and how to use them. And we did use them when I conferred with them. In my currect position, I had one of those "moments" after doing a writing lesson in 3rd grade and then teaching the students how to use the rubric to make their writing better. One of the boys said (with wonder in his voice), "Now I know how to write better for my teacher!" (Ah-ha!) I developed (after doing a lot of research) a rubric for our system for each grade k, 1, and 2 and then 3-5 based upon our state's writing rubric - both with education verbage and a "kd" friendly version to use with students. Actually, the teachers frequently use the kid friendly version when the score writing samples. (An added note: Since writing is state tested in grades 5,8, and 11, we do 3 system-wide writing prompts for grades K-5 (with an optional in January before the Feb. state prompt). The purpose is to help students and teachers in all grades be more aware of the expectations.
I hope this is of help for what you are looking for.