We use the Basic Writing Skills program by Dr. Judith Hocman. The students love this program because it is based on a lot of modeling of metacognitive strategies and fun group writing activities. Most of the parents love it because the kids are not coming home with torturous writing assignments that THEY have to write but some have asked why we don't do a lot of creative writing. One of the biggest complaints of the upper grade teachers before we started this program was that, since most of the writing in school is expository ( and in every other area of our lives) why do elementary teachers keep stressing journals and poetry writing. Then, the students go to middle school totally unprepared for real writing assignments. This approach is DEFINITELY an improvement instructionally but I get some parents that tell me some other districts are letting the students do free writing for an hour a day with one to one conferences. I can't beleive in this atmosphere of high stakes testing districts are still allowing this. One on one conferences, even at a minute a pop, take up a huge amount of intstructional time. It just seems to make sense to teach to the group. The higher end students model great oral language for the more challenged group and writing is modeled so much more efficiently. I always learned that writing and thinking were tightly linked. What would you say to parents that want to know about poetry and non-structured writing instead of research based writing instruction??