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amwitlox amwitlox is offline
 
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Lucy Calkins or Write Source?
Old 04-25-2017, 04:40 PM
 
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Would appreciate opinions on Lucy Calkins or Write Source as choices for a K-8 writing curriculum. Our school has never had a formal curriculum and need one that is turnkey with no official training needed.


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Old 04-25-2017, 07:57 PM
 
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I would say not to do Lucy Calkins. We got it, have had no training, and I can honestly say I've heard exactly one teacher in my school say she likes it. I find it absolutely awful. Her text is extremely wordy and some parts are confusing. We have quite a few teachers say that this program has made them really dislike teaching reading and writing. Maybe with training, it would be a different story, but without training, it is horrible.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:52 AM
 
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Ugh, we have Lucy Calkins for writing and they want to get us the reading, but we are resisting! We had a one day training, but that is certainly not enough to implement the program. The program was designed to be implemented with LOTS of training throughout the year.

*It is too verbose. Just give me the teaching points! I don't have time to read this long narrative!

* I hate the writing prompts - they are very broad and my students produce crap when they don't have some guidance.

* It does not really address any of the language standards (grammar/mechanics) we have to teach so we have to supplement that.
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Love Lucy
Old 04-26-2017, 02:38 AM
 
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I love Lucy. I love the program but I have been trained and had time to try out the units. There are ways to trim down the language. We focus on the Connection and the Teaching Point by using the chart in the front of the book. So much easier when you do it that way and make it your own.

The grammar component is usually in bend 3 plus I do teach grammar in my table conferences throughout the unit.

There are no writing prompts except for the pre and post assessment in order to make it uniform throughout your district. I am not required to use them because we are just starting it as a district so we are all at square one.

I love the rubrics and student samples included. My students have benefitted from both of those resources.

The biggest reason we went with TC was because our kids love to write. They are writing about what matters to them within each unit and they are making huge gains.

I know Lucy is over the top but the talent and experience TC has is incredible. I know I could never teach it the way they do but at least I am surrounding myself with the best in the business so I can't mess it up.

Good luck with your choice.
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Old 04-26-2017, 04:38 AM
 
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Quote:
The grammar component is usually in bend 3 plus I do teach grammar in my table conferences throughout the unit.
I don't feel that is enough, and the pieces in there are pretty weak and not explicit enough. I started Mentor Sentences this year and just 15 min. a day and I see a world of difference. Having to add that time into my schedule is difficult.

Quote:
There are no writing prompts except for the pre and post assessment in order to make it uniform throughout your district. I am not required to use them because we are just starting it as a district so we are all at square one.
I was speaking of the pre/post assessments - those are writing prompts - it just doesn't work for my students to tell them to "think of a topic you have learned about or know well" and write about it.

Quote:
The biggest reason we went with TC was because our kids love to write.
Lucy Calkins has sapped the love of writing out of my students! They loved to write and will choose to write when done with their writing, but they groan when we start writer's workshop each day.


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Old 04-26-2017, 01:38 PM
 
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I like Lucy Calkin's curriculum but I agree that training is needed. I've had to do a lot of work at home to prepare for writing workshop. My class loves this time of the day but it's a lot of work to have good lessons prepared everyday.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:39 PM
 
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When doing Lucy Calkin's Units of Study try to think of the language she uses as a mini PD or training. It is not meant to be a script. I think that may be where some teachers get the wrong impression of the program.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:11 PM
 
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I know Lucy Calkins isn't a script, but I think it is just an awful program. There is no student accountability and my students hate it! They don't love coming to the rug to hear the teaching points, turning and talking, and oh my gosh....the anchor charts!!! My students told me I needed to take all that "junk" off of the walls because our classroom was too cluttered! I just have nothing positive to say about it at all. When did Lucy Calkins ever teach in a real classroom in a public elementary school?
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Old 04-27-2017, 02:44 AM
 
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I fell in love with Lucy and everything she has done at TC. I travel into NYC and go to the workshops and training. I follow her staff on Twitter and I read as many of the professional books written by her staff that I can. It is my passion. I follow the blog Two writing Teachers and write weekly so I have my own writing to share with my students. It is what I connected to. I love how TC had to rethink Writers' workshop once CC came out and in my eyes they gave me the opportunity to keep workshop going and still meet the standards. My students love it because I am passionate about it. They write about what matters to them because they hear and see what matters to me.

My students are not bothered by the prompts because they write daily. They are held accountable and they know when their writing will be shared, graded, celebrated or displayed. I am not a turn and talk teacher but my students meet with partnerships that last all year and revise and edit their work. My students are constantly adding to our anchor charts and are using them to guide their writing.

Just like anything in teaching if you do not feel connected your students are not going to feel connected to it. I wish more districts would allow teachers to teach what they love but I know BOE need schools to be teaching using the same resources.

Hopefully you will get to teach the program that you feel the most comfortable with.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:24 AM
 
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Thank you everyone!


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Writing
Old 05-01-2017, 04:02 PM
 
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Lucy is certainly not turnkey. It is not meant to be, but many districts administrators have pushed it that way. We were told when we started with it that we would teach it with fidelity. Like any teacher has time to read 11 pages of Lucy talk every night. We did have training and continue 9 years later to have the same training. We have unpacked the units so many times I want to scream.

I haven't used Write Source so I can't comment on that.
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