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Be Honest

Language Arts | Writing 

AX Pendergast

Senior Member
Our district just announced that they've purchased and are going to "soft open" this program in the coming year.

I've heard good and bad...and want to know your thoughts.

Please be honest. What do you really think about the curriculum? Was it worth the time/effort to learn and implement in your room/school? Could you have done as well without it?

Thanks - much appreciated.

Cat woman

Senior Member
I personally don't really care for the writing units if study, but don't go by me. I don't enjoy teaching writing all that much anyway. It seems like the second
grade UoS are too rigorous for my below grade level students (about half my class) and it is a huge struggle every day:(


New Member
Units of Study

My district has been using Units of Study for 2 years now. I teach 1st grade and what is expected is much too high for my students. Also, just reading each lesson is a major chore. While this program teaches students about different styles of writing, it does not teach them how to write a good, basic sentence. I use it, but have had to modify for my kiddos. Overall, I honestly do not like the program, but do my best with it for my students since that is what our district has adopted. Good luck!


New Member
An honest reply

The WW units of study work best with teachers who get support and training via quality staff development. I have been using the reading and writing projects materials for a number of years and it really does accelerate student reading and writing.

On the other hand, it is a lot of work (but isn't teaching in general hard work?).
I have never worked harder yet I have never had my students do so well.

Teachers who love basal readers and scripted lessons will have a difficult time with WW. Teachers who like to assign and not spend so much time doing direct instruction will have a difficult time.

My honest suggestion is take this in baby steps. Go to NY for one of the summer institutes at Teachers College or have your district hire someone from the project to come out and do some training. Do not expect teachers to do all of the lessons in one unit.

I hope this helps.



Totally agree with booklover. My 2 cents:

The UoS books definitely give you a good scope and sequence but you'll have the best results if you really study your students' writing and design your teaching from there. The first couple of years, I taught with the books on my lap and had trouble finding my "voice" and not copying the authors'. Now, I read the books cover to cover, give a pre-assessment, check out the rubric, and design my own mini lessons. It's a lot less pressure and you know you are teaching to what your kids need. They have some really good ideas in there!

Our first year using UoS, my kids were really below grade level and I struggled. I felt like a failure whenever I saw the student samples they included. Now that my kids have had 3 years of WW by the time they get to me, it is really fun! Their writing is sometimes even better than the samples, and you don't feel like you're playing catch-up.

I cannot stress enough how much the weeklong summer writing institute in NYC helped me! It totally changed me and made me energized and really excited about teaching writing. There are so many grants out there to get you there, or beg your principal.

If you are used to teaching writing through prompts (e.g. Write about a time when you were scared...), I imagine this will be a big transition, BUT I can't imagine teaching any other way now.


Full Member
Ah... I disagree with almost everyone. I've used them for 6 years and have the new units. I teach first grade and I love them! I love how they focus on teaching content. Writing is about communication, Conventions are continually addressed, but not the focus. I've never had training but I feel like I get better each year as I come to understand more about writing. I have never been to NY for training but have a great team who has tackled this with me. I will never teach writing any other way. Can't wait to use them in kinder next year!