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(Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory)




DDN Curriculum Unit Components and Clarification:

Unit of Study Title – Writers in Evolution

Topic Area – Language Arts / Writing

Grade Level – Third through Fifth

Time Frame – Six one week sections

Key Words: ideas and organization, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, presentation, traits 

Unit Designer Name - Stacy Oltmanns

Unit Designer E-mail – 

Peer Reviewer Name – Nikki Bartscher      

Peer Reviewer E-mail –

3rd Grade
model the use of different elements of style. (example: word choice, voice, sentence structure)

Fifth Grade
describe how an author’s choice of vocabulary and style contribute to the quality and enjoyment of selections.

SD Content Standard Indicators

Indicator 2: Students will use appropriate style, organization, and form in technical, transactional, creative, and personal writing.

Indicator 2: Students will evaluate the use of patterns of organizations, literary elements, and literary devices within various texts.

SD Content Standard Benchmarks

Students will…

  1. use appropriate organization based on the established writing purpose and intended audience.
  2. use appropriate writing style based on the established writing purpose and intended audience.
  3. use the writing format required for a specific type of publication.

Students will…

  1. explore the organizational techniques authors use to create reader interest, e.g., sequence.
  2. identify literary elements and devices are used in various texts, e.g., character, setting, plot; alliteration, rhyme.
  3. explain what authors accomplish through the use of both literary elements and devices, e.g., theme/imagery; character/personification.

Brief Summary of Unit (Include curriculum and unit goals.)

This unit will explore the six traits of writing, ideas and content, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.  The students will examine each trait using writing samples, their own writing, and published works.  The students will be asked to do different activities that will clarify and refine their abilities to perform each trait.  The students will also be using different forms of writing to emphasize the importance of each trait.  Lastly we will be using published works of literature to point out the use of the traits.

Students will understand? (What enduring understandings are desired?)

The students will…

understand each of the six traits.
be able to use each trait in their writing.
identify the use of each trait in published works of literature.

What essential questions will guide this unit and focus teaching and learning?

What makes writing something that you want to keep reading?
How can narrowed ideas make a piece of writing more clear?
Why is organization so important in writing?
How can voice emphasize a piece of writing?
How does word choice make writing more visual?
How can poor sentence fluency make a piece of writing unreadable?
Why are conventions so important in any type of writing?

What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit?

The student will understand the roll and the importance of the six traits.  They will be able to define and identify each trait. 

Assessment Plan

The students will be writing using different forms and styles.  Their writing will be assessed using rubrics concentrating on the trait or traits that are currently being studied.

Learning Activities

  • select a narrowed topic that will be a manageable amount.
  • make an outline of writing in order to show organization
  • write a persuasive paper  to show voice
  • make a alphabet book full of colorful words
  • make a booklet to replace the dull overused verbs
  • write poetry using rhythm
  • create interview questions
  • put those questions into a piece of writing

Internet Resource Link

Official 6 + 1 Trait of Writing Sight
This is a premiere sight for the 6 + 1 writing traits.  It gives detailed definitions of each trait plus excellent lesson plan ideas.

6 + 1 Writing Traits A variety of links to excellent 6 + 1 Traits of Writing sights. It contains sample units, lesson plans for each trait, picture book connections, and assessment formats. 

6 + 1 Traits of Writing Rubric
Excellent printable rubric for writing.  It contains of rubric for each trait.

Lesson Plans using the Traits
The following are lesson plans and activities that are focused around the 6-Traits. Many of these ideas were created for classes with access to computers

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