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Lucy Calkin Writing


Full Member
Does anyone else use the Lucy Calkin writing program? Please share how you like it and any ideas you might have teaching it.

I teach first grade.


Our school just started using Lucy Calkins this year and I LOVE it! Some of our teachers who preferred the old way of prompts in writing journals are struggling with it a little bit, but I had previously done Writers Workshop so it was an easier transition for me I think.

Basically we ordered for our 1st grade the Units of Study which comes with a set of teacher manuals. These include mini-lessons and a CDrom with parent letters and masters for the writing paper. I would strongly suggest getting it!

I'm not sure what exactly you're looking for but I'll just give you an overview of the program and feel free to ask if you have any other questions. Basically at the beginning of the year we talk about what a good writer does, work environment, stretching out words, sketching pictures, using the word wall to spell, etc. Those are the brief mini-lessons, then they go to their groups and get their basket out. In their basket they each have a folder, some blank paper and a cup of markers and pens. They share these between a group of 4. They work on their writing and pictures (Lucy says pictures come first!) After their writing we meet back together as a group and share. I ask certain students to share who I noticed used what I taught in the mini-lesson, that way it is focused and doesn't take too long.

At this point in the year we switched to a paper with more lines and less space for pictures. We also switched to only pens so that the kids would be spending less time drawing and more time writing. They also work with a partner now instead of in a group of 4. In the next few months we'll learn how to edit and revise, write poetry, use correct grammar, etc. for the mini-lessons.

Hope this answers your questions!


Full Member

Does the Lucy Calkins program apply to all of elementary or is it best suited for Division 1 (K-3)? Thanks :)


Full Member
Lucy Calkin

Lucy Calkin is done in grades K - 5 in our county. I love the program too. I was just interested in seeing what others thought about it. Many of the traditional teachers are like the ones described in the previous post. The only concern that I have heard expressed in our school is that by the 5th grade (6 years of LC writing) many students seemed tired of writing.

I like the way it builds; however, there are a few of the suggested books thqt are not exactly a good example of a certain idea being taught. For example: Owl Moon is used to demonstrate dialogue but there is only one place in the entire book where quotation marks are actually used. We have the teachers from New York come and do training and also we had a summer institute for training last summer and again the summer.


Junior Member
Love It!

I've just started it with my Kinders here in Australia. We are here in our 4th week of school and I am amazed at the things that the children know about writing already! I love the way that the lessons are so explicit and that we are teaching both the process and the skills of writing. The model allows you to work with the whole class yet support individual needs. Can't get much better than that! ALthough it is written for K-1 the ideas, concepts and strategies are applicable throughout all of the grades. I guess it is about looking at where you want your children to be/understand as writers and planning teaching and learning experiences to get them there. The program has been more than worth the investment!