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Lucy Works
Old 03-31-2009, 04:49 PM
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I have used Lucy's units of study for primary writing for 3 years now with my first graders. What I have found out is that the model allows each child to grow at thier own pace and individually practice the skills and strategies they need to become effective writers. My first year teaching these units it was tough. I spent each day taking home writing and trying to keep up with where each student was at. However, by the second year I knew what to expect and could manage my time better.

I feel the problem a lot of people have mostly a whole language approach in thier schools and not enough of a mix to meet all the language needs of diverse populations. For example, if a school uses patricia Cunningham's month by month phonics and also Lucy's writing the children aren't gaining any "direct" skills and strategies to use during writing workshop time. For the struggling or ESL child this is a disgrace because they are not being allowed to access the curriculum.

I am fortunate that my school uses an Orton Gillingham phonics program called Fundations. This in conjunction with Calkins is an unbelievable combination. Fundations teaches phonics rules systematically. In addition, children learn to hand write and spell "trick words" or non-phonetic high frequency words. This program is proven to aid in the language development of struggling readers and writers and a uses many ESl strategies.

When studenst learn a new rule in Fundations, they must carry it over into Lucy's workshop. Therefore the students get both the systematic direct instruction, but are also able to practice it in their own writing and be creative, independent thinkers. Which if done properly throughout the grade levels will give students early exposure to the writing process and make mandatory testing not such a miserable chore in the future.

With that being said, do what is best for your studenst. If you hate Lucy's program but have no choice, them mix your own style in their.

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