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Anyone else HATE Lucy Calkins?
Old 10-02-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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Sorry about the bad attitude but I'm about done with this stuff. Our district has "unofficially" adopted the Lucy Calkins CCSS Units of Study...I teach 2nd grade and I can not STAND 10 pages of reading for one mini-lesson. Plus, I'm starting to think her mini-lessons are almost too "heavy" for my kiddos every.single.day as a writing lesson. I know there are teachers out there who love it, but is anyone else struggling with this curriculum? It's driving my team and I crazy!!! Isn't there something with just bulleted points for her lessons instead of ALL THIS READING?!?!?! UGH! Someone out there has got to have something....please???


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Old 10-03-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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I never follow the script exactly.

I read through it so I am familiar and have the language in my head- sometimes I will jot down phrases.

I put teaching points on a sticky note as well as a small version of any charts needed to be made together then I teach and refer to my sticky note as needed.

I like having the script to go from- it helps me know how to word things and get thinking about interacting with the kids.

I sometimes will combine lessons and allow whole days for work time and individual/sm group conferencing.
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Writing
Old 10-03-2013, 03:45 PM
 
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I like teacherpippi's idea. Maybe I should try more of that, her words drive me crazy. I feel like it is so unreal and not genuine. Of course, that is what everyone says is the best writing program. We got the new common core one, so I guess I have to give it another shot.
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Good stuff but turned off completely
Old 10-05-2013, 05:30 AM
 
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I agree way to wordy for me! This would be so much better short and to the point, but because it's so much words. IM done! I don't have time for her.
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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I personally love UoS but I did it my way with the wording and pacing. For me Calkins' verbosity is just a suggestion on how to say things. It is not carved in stone. My students always did very well with it, but I haven't seen the CCSS edition, so perhaps it has changed.

Needless to say, I very much resented the district's (then) new writing gurus implementing the rigid and formulaic writing approach of a Big Publishing Corporation Program and fought it tooth and nail. The principal allowed me to continue UoS with my first graders, while the other teachers had to do BPCP. After the first year of BPCP they blamed the difference in writing proficiency between my students and the other teachers' students on that fact that it was their first year with the new BPCP program. After the second year of BPCP, they could see that UoS worked much better with first graders than BPCP. Sadly, BPCP was continued because the gurus probably had some skin in the game.

I always wonder why districts/schools force programs on teachers and require them to follow them to the letter. It is so counter productive, because teachers will do much better if allowed the freedom to it their way.


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Lucy Calkins
Old 10-13-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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Without training this system can be overwhelming. Stop reading the whole script. I love Lucy but hate her books. Get the gist of the unit, and translate it into your own words to fit the needs of your class.

A short (10 minutes max) lesson on the strategy you'd like them to work on, then off they go.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:14 AM
 
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Lucy Calkins was one of my professors way back when. While hate is too strong a word (and unkind to boot), "strongly dislike" is appropriate. I don't know anything about her CCSS program (I took her class in the mid 90s!), as a person she is self-righteous and condescending.

I hope you find a way to make the program work for you. Her philosophy has a lot of strengths, but it's not the be-all and end-all.
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Hate?
Old 10-28-2013, 06:07 PM
 
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1. Her mini-lessons are quite heavy. I break them up into parts.
2. The lessons are wordy to show you how it played out in someone else's classroom. Not because you have to teach it exactly the same way.
3. Take the teaching point from the book, review the bold sentences, and make your own lesson.
4. Make your lessons follow this formula:
Connection- "Boys and girls we have been working hard at ______. Today I'm going to show you how writers _______"
Teaching (I do)- Use a mentor text to show how a published author has done the skill, use an example from your own writing, etc.
Active Engagement (We do)- Have students try out the skill with a partner. Use turn and talks. Try it out in a class text, in a sample of your writing, or in kid writing from a previous year. I like to also use the kid writing photocopied from the book Writing Pathways.
Link (You do)- “And so I’m hoping that today and every day you will remember that you can…..”

So basically I look at the book for the teaching point, I review the bold words to see how Lucy went about it, and I follow the formula above to make my own simple lesson!

Hope this helps. Don't get discouraged. Writing workshop is really a beautiful thing once you get a handle on it and embrace it.
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Not a Script
Old 11-16-2013, 02:42 PM
 
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Calkins never meant for the Uof Study to be a scripted program. This quote comes form her new Units of Study:

"As you read all these mini-lessons, remember that they are not meant to be a script for your teaching, but rather, they are meant to convey the story of my teaching, providing one example of how your teaching could go."
3rd Grade Unit of Study, Unit 1 Page 5
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Hate Lucy Calkins?
Old 11-16-2013, 02:59 PM
 
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....Dislike Units of Study? Yes.

Her Units of Study lasted about two years in our district. Her ideas are great but in this day and age of State testing and heavy emphasis on responding to literature, creative writing and the time required to teach it well, has sadly, taken a back seat.


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Give Me Lucy Anyday
Old 12-01-2013, 05:57 PM
 
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Compared to the new program my district adopted this year, "Being A Writer", I hands down prefer Lucy! We're 15 weeks into the program and still no "mini-lesson". I like the literature base/mentor text approach, but I'm having to supplement the curriculum with mini-lessons my students' writing indicate a need for. If it weren't mandated, I'd have abandoned the new for Lucy already.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:10 PM
 
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I find her text a little self-absorbed and unrealistic for teaching real-world children, at least those in a high-needs school. Isn't this supposed to be an informational (teaching) text rather than a series of personal narratives? I wish I could channel her to be more concise. Right, she has good points, but to having to sift through all her stories find the nuggets that will enlighten my own kids is very time-consuming. I also think she delivers too much, too fast. I have to break the lessons down into 2 or 3 days and do the mid-workshop teaching point and the share on the next day to get it all in. I liked the first version better.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:48 PM
 
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WE ARE FORCED to use BOTH Reading and Writing Units-per script-for special AND general ed. Oh, and it's only with 3rd and 4th grades because it is the principal's baby. Does that answer your question???
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:33 PM
 
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Great way to look at her lessons. Her TE is very wordy and finding the time to figure it all out is difficult, but this makes it much more manageable. Thanks for this advice.
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Lucy Calkins
Old 01-03-2014, 10:23 AM
 
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I teach 3rd grade, and I'm with you! I've gotten used to the writers workshop units...but I leave out a lot of her stuff...too heavy...you could spend two hours on one lesson! This year we have to use her reading units, too...blech! For writing, use Ralph Fletcher's books...one for fiction, one for non-fiction. They are called "Craft Lessons". They are perfect for real mini-lessons. He includes excerpts from books that you can easily copy or show on a document camera.
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Lucy
Old 01-03-2014, 10:42 AM
 
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We have been doing the workshops for years. If you don't have formal training it can be daunting. This is a pet peeve of mine: a district adopts a program but offers no training. That said, read through the units, then teach them appropriately for your class needs.

The newer program is over the heads of my second graders, too. We are ignoring the lab reports cause even Teacher's College says it's nuts, and going with more traditional informational writing.

The personal narrative is good and so is persuasive writing. If you keep to the format of connection, lesson, active involvement, writing/conferencing and sharing, you will be good to go.
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:31 AM
 
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Hate may be harsh but our 3rd grade team can't stand it. It is hard to follow her books.i like something most structured.
I've been using 4 square and 6 traits.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:32 PM
 
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Lucy Caulkins has been my writing guru for so many years, but I am not thrilled with her new units. I am trying to do the second grade science writing unit, but I don't have the time it takes to read through each lesson. I got a great Common Core aligned research report writing unit from TPT and know my kids will find it a lot more accessible and fun.
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Calkins
Old 02-22-2014, 03:51 PM
 
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I agree, she is very wordy, which makes things unrealistic for high needs students. However, breaking things into 2 and 3 days, makes the units drag on forever! Halfway through, I usually say, "Okay, let's wrap this unit up!"
Do you finish the entire unit?
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:15 PM
 
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The first grade units for the common core writing seem to me she had ideas that could have been consolidated down to little 10 page books that would have been straight to the point and useful. Instead she filled the books up with lots and lots of drivel that lists her experience while not having actually taught a class in forty years, all so she could make buck-loads off the sale of her drivel. I think she decided to write writing teacher guides because her writing skills were so poor she needed to learn more about writing and unfortunately was unsuccessful. Does that tell you my opinion?
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:07 PM
 
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Drivel? Earth monkey not sure you know anything about Lucy Calkins. Wow.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:23 AM
 
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Love the units of study. You do have to get past the wordiness and gauge what you want out of the lesson. Also, model, model, model. It really gets students to think outside of the box. The use of mentor text is very important.
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Thankful
Old 06-28-2014, 01:50 PM
 
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I am SO thankful to see this post! I really thought I was a bad teacher for not liking LC!!! OH MY GOSH it is not realistic for my first graders. I went to her workshop and she makes it sound so great but for some reason it's not like that in my class! Everything you all have said i totally agree with! Love to hear OTHER writing ideas!
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:27 AM
 
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Thanks, this helps a little, buts the books ARE verbose, wish I had a cliff notes type flow chart. Thank you.
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Lucy Calkins Reading/Writing Workshop
Old 11-07-2017, 06:21 PM
 
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I cant stand Lucy Calkins' reading and writer's workshop....so unrealistic and inauthentic! Especially for kindergartners!
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this program is a farce and somebody got rich
Old 09-03-2018, 03:00 AM
 
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Personally, I think the entire premise of this book denies the education children deserve. It also defies the essence of teaching the whole child by limiting both the teacher and student.
-there are all learner types--doesn't attend to that in lessons, nor pre and post tests
-for all the learner types--the teachers are just "grown up" learners. restricting and limiting their "best" by making them conform to such rigid, non-logical progression in a reading curriculum takes individuality, creativity, and boundless growth out of the classroom. Same extrapolation for students. Restriction of one's unique passion.
To go a step further, it seems they did a great marketing job and someone has made some money while education has just been dumbed down by a "script." ....hmmmmm.....we all teach alike, therefore we should all think alike, etc.... such a shame.
Shame on the creators of this program.
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Old 09-08-2018, 04:51 PM
 
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I so agree with you Danicarb!
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Lucy Calkins
Old 08-29-2019, 02:46 PM
 
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Thanks to this program, Lucy's on my top ten list of unlikeable names. Trump is on that list so maybe you get my point. Remember when we teachers were trusted to teach reading?
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Yes!
Old 10-27-2019, 07:13 AM
 
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Despise it! Her curriculum is forced on us. We have to use reading, writing, and phonics.
I don’t teach the content word for word and I have to supplement often. The lessons in her books do not line up with standards. I feel like I am doing my kids a disservice if I do not supplement.
Oh...the ‘chosen ones’ fly to NY to observe teachers at the Teachers College. Pictures are only shown of them eating, going to shows, touring landmarks, etc. Hmm...
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who are these kids
Old 12-08-2019, 10:06 AM
 
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Our district went through the farce of having a literacy/writing cadre only to choose Lucy's units...I was on that cadre, was there when we brought in the 4 finalists so that they could present their program----AND LUCY WAS NOT ONE OF THEM NOR WAS THAT A PROGRAM WE HAD CONSIDERED OR HEARD OF!!! (it turns out according to our union rep, the district is required to have teacher input to "recommend" but it doesn't mean they have to take the recommendation, they can choose to pick their own thing) A year later, the district started having some schools "pilot a program"...and just like that it was adopted and purchased within the year.

Then the Writing was adopted, then......all of a sudden after many of our kinder teachers voiced concerns about phonics...we were actually given an option of 3 phonics programs. Lucy was one of the programs although at the time we just had to go with what Lucy was telling us it would contain because it was not yet done! Our school chose this program - unseen because so many loved drinking the "Lucy Kool-aid"...The whole idea that if you just teach kids to love books and reading they will learn to read---- THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!! ESPECIALLY children of poverty!!! I want to know specifics of where they use this, the type of school....and as far as I know....the New York Public School District doesn't use this program exclusively!!! (which by the way they don't all use ENGAGE Ny or Eureka or whatever you want to call it! Sorry for the tangent)! When kinder teachers were voicing concerns about the lack of phonics and actual teaching of reading....we were told that the difference between those students who learned to read and not read were the teachers --- we didn't "Believe" and that is why they weren't reading.....

My question is - if RUOS is so great, why did Lucy have to create a phonic component?? Has anyone asked themselves that??? WHY??? I've attended the phonics institute at Teachers College and remember Natalie Louis sharing with the group that Lucy was hounding her to get the phonics program done...they were on a time crunch in order to get it to the publisher! HELLO??!!! Because RUOS wasn't teaching them to read - learning letters, sounds, segmenting, isolation of letter sounds, blending....DUH!!!! Those are all skills that are required to progress in reading which then also spills in writing!! Her phonics program is a joke....have you tried it? Who in their right mind thought that was a great program. You can totally tell they have not been in a classroom in years because they would have asked themselves, "Do teacher have a spare 12-24 hours to organize this monster kit?" the phonics program seems to recycle RUOS pages...how is that teaching reading?????

Let's also not forget if you have a spare $30,000 sitting around - you could be a TC Lab school where they come in and teach you how to teach "their" reading. We've gone back to Whole Language teaching which was dangerous and detrimental then and it's happening again! I hate it all! It works with those students that come from rich literacy environments, where parents take their kids out to have experiences, they are read to every night!! I can't wait until this "fad" comes to a close and we get back to actually teaching reading! And before I hear those Lucy Lovers say, "this person obviously knows nothing about reading or the units" I have followed to them to a tee....it is absolutely horrible and I am so glad I had a strong background in phonics. You need a balanced approach...a little of both....but that is not Lucy!
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