Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Review of Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Writing Workshop

* Update: After you read this, head here for Five Steps to Implementing Lucy Calkins! *

When some of my colleagues and I attended Lucy Calkins' writing workshop in March and found out there was a NEW writing curriculum being published, we crossed our fingers and toes that we could get this curriculum for our writing instruction ... and we did! {WOO HOO!!} 


See, I don't know about you but I found the old K-2 set a little tough to use - by the time my students got to my classroom they either a) had heard it all before or b) the curriculum was too young for them. The new set has a different set of FOUR units for every grade level! The other reason we were hoping for the new units was that we felt, as a team, our writing instruction was suffering because we didn't have a {rigorous and Common Core-aligned} school-wide sytem of rubrics and exemplars on which to base our teaching {like we have in other subjects}. It was holding our kids back from writing at the highest level. It was a no-brainer. This was needed. 

So then we waited for what seemed like forever {until May}. The units finally, finally came in on the last day of school, and I've spent the last couple of days tucked up on the couch "digging in" to some professional development. {What, everyone doesn't anxiously await their summer break so they can ... read more about teaching?! LOL!}

Here's a quick list of three things I love:
  1. Rubrics that span grades K-6 so I can push or remediate my kids based on what they need. 
  2. Student exemplars so my kids have authentic examples of what their writing should look like. 
  3. In-depth mini-lessons that really TEACH my kids to refer back to mentor texts as examples of what great writers do. 
A few visuals of the things I love:

And finally ... my first-ever VIDEO overview of the curriculum. It's a little silly but I think it gets the point across. :) 

So ... do you implement a writing workshop or use Lucy Calkins? Thinking about purchasing or using this curriculum? Let me know what you think!

* Update: After you read this, head here for Five Steps to Implementing Lucy Calkins! *


  1. I've been using Lucy's K-2 units of study for several years. I just recently saw a sampling of her new units. They do look wonderful!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

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  3. Tammy - I would say the new units are 100% worth it, if you could get your school to purchase (and maybe even if you can't!). Really really wonderful and better than the previous units ... and very teacher-friendly.

    Brittany - You will LOVE the new ones too! Super helpful for getting a "feel" for excellent writing curriculum, and you can use that to build if you move to another grade level later.

  4. I am so glad you posted this! I have been using the K-2 for awhile...but this sounds way better. Thanks!
    Two Friends In First

  5. I was just looking at this the other day- it's in my cart at Amazon. I am sure by the end of the summer I will break down and purchase it. It looks fabulous!

  6. I found your blog on pinterest and popped on over to read your review. I love your blog and wanted to share that 4 of my students are featured in the 2nd grade poetry book! Enjoy.

  7. This is so great- i'm so glad you mentioned it on Instagram! :) I'm hoping you'll be posting more about your use of this set next school year since we'll be using it at my school too!
    Learning to the Core

  8. Kheila - It really, really is. You'll love it!

    KinderKarla - I'm the same way ... I have to think about it for a while but I always break down. :)

    Kim - That is AWESOME!! I'm going to pull it out and see if I can find you! :)

    Aylin - I LOVE Instagram - it's just the best. I will 100% be posting about my use of the Lucy Calkins curriculum in my classroom, and many of the resources I build to supplement it! Can't wait to begin!

  9. I just went to our school PD on this awesome new writing curriculum by LC. Now I'm ready to build a pacing guide for implementing it this next school year. Do you have any ideas or suggestions since you have already been "digging in?"

  10. I have just finished reading the K and 1st kits (I'm a literacy coach at a k-2 school) and I TOTALLY agree that this is a great resource, although I haven't yet read the 2nd grade kit - our teachers are fighting over the ones we ordered! Your video highlighted all the great things offered. What awesome professional development! THANKS for bringing this to light for others.

  11. I am so glad that you shared this. My school has decided to use this for our writing this year. I have spent my summer reading the 2nd grade books and researching what other teachers have learned from the writing.

  12. I'm so glad y'all are as excited as I am! I've written a follow-up to this post, with five steps for implementing Lucy Calkins in the classroom. Click here to check it out!

  13. Loved your review- thanks. I was wondering whether there were homework options in the new units, do you know?


  14. Loved your review- thanks. I was wondering whether there were homework options in the new units, do you know?


  15. Hello LC fans! I am doing an action research project on implementing the new LC Units of Study...and I teach 2nd grade. I'm curious, now that it's February and most of you have had the opportunity to teach 2 or 3 of the units, what teachers are thinking about the curriculum now. Any change of thought? Any insights that you might want to share for teachers teaching it for the first time?

  16. Hi there and thanks for all of the great tips!! I am wondering if you have taught "Lab Reports and Science Books", and, if so, how did it go? We are adopting the program next year and I'm overwhelmed by this one. I'm thinking of doing a trial run over summer school. Thanks in advance!!


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