Book Review: Projecting Possibilities for Writiers

Listen, Lucy is great. I love the craft lesson in the Units of Study of Writing. I think the authors do a great job of connecting the curriculum to reading and using student-friendly language for students to understand. I think the lessons transfer to many different types of writing and I find it so easy to conference with students because they have common language that they can attach to many genres and ideas.

Unfortunately, we have found that some types of writing, which are important for the students to understand, aren’t covered when and how we want them to be covered in UOSW. Luckily, I had just finished reading a book by Matt Glover (he does a lot with writing especially at the preschool level) and Mary Alice Berry, Projecting Possibilities for Writers. The book was all about how to plan out your own writing unit. I will be using their process with the 3rd and 4th grade teams to develop a “mini” evidence-based test writing unit to use later in the year.

I included a picture below with another of Matt Glover's books (Engaging Young Writers) which I have used to help me understand preschool and kindergarten writing.

WHAT I LOVED:

  • SPECIFIC: They did a really good job of going through each part of the process and explaining what they meant and why it was important. I sort of thought that I could manage creating a unit without much support, but the way they go through each step showed how to think through the big picture and each detail. I like that and I know it will be helpful.

  • APPENDICES: There were extra resources at the back to help with the process including ideas for units and templates.

  • REAL WORLD EXAMPLES: In each chapter, they outlined a real example of a teacher developing a unit of study and the thinking that went into it. It was nice to read through how it all came together step by step.

  • RESOURCES: They reference a lot of other books and authors to look to when coming up with ideas for units and how to think about what to include.

WHAT I WISH WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • RESOURCES: Yeah… I put it in both places. It seemed like a lot of the time they were sending me away from this book to go check out information somewhere else and I ended up feeling like maybe I should have gotten THOSE books instead. If they aren’t adding the conversation, then what am I doing here? Right? I like knowing where other people get inspired and the information they think is important, but I also want to know that I came to right place for what I’m looking for.

MY RECOMMENDATION:

If you’ve got some ideas about what you want to teach already, this is a good place to go in order to get those ideas organized and bulleted out. This book is much more about the PROCESS of writing a unit of study as opposed to developing ideas and lessons for the unit of study - they kind of assume you have a good idea about that already.

I plan to use this book with a couple of teams and from there I can give more information, but I’m a little concerned that we’re going to have a LOT of ideas for lessons and struggle to get it down to just a few to fit into a MINI unit. I wish this book had more direction in that area. They gave lots of great information about developing your learning objectives and I would have liked to see more on the lessons themselves.

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