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Lucy Calkins Personal Essay

Launching Personal Essay

byStacey Shubitz

It’s nearly November, which means it’s time for me to start teaching my students how to craft personal essays. I use Calkins and Gilette’s book for my teaching points, but deviate from their text when it comes to teaching the actual lessons since I’ve tweaked every lesson each year that I’ve taught it.

I recall dreading personal essay when I was about to teach it for the first time in 2004. What could be so exciting about a five paragraph essay, I wondered. If you’ve read this blog for the past year or so, you already know that something magical happens to students’ writing during this unit of study. It becomes much more reflective and thoughtful. Hence, I’ve grown to LOVE teaching this unit.

Tomorrow, I’m going to immerse my students in this genre by sharing five of my former students’ personal essay. They’re going to fill out this form (whose lines & page breaks got slightly distorted when I converted it with Scribd) as they read each one.

Like this:



Product Description

This kit includes 30 resource pages to supplement your Personal Essay Unit. It is a common-core aligned unit that is based on Lucy Calkins Units of Study in a Writer's Workshop Grades 3-5.

9 Beautiful Posters:
Personal Essay Definition Poster
Thesis Statement Poster
Boxes & Bullets Poster
Parallel Structures Poster
Essay Introductions Poster
Introduction Starters Poster
Angled Mini Story Poster
Essay Conclusions Poster
Conclusion Starters Poster

19 Printables:
What's the Big Idea?
Narrative vs. Essay
Personal Experience Stories Worksheet
Personal Experience Stories Examples
Personal Experience Stories Mentor Texts (2)
Write Your Thesis Statement Worksheet
Write Your Thesis Statement Examples
Using Boxes & Bullets Worksheet
Using Boxes & Bullets Examples
Write Your Introduction Worksheet
Write Your Introduction Examples
Angled Mini-Stories Worksheet
Angled Mini-Stories Examples
Write Your Conclusion Worksheet
Write Your Conclusion Examples
Essay Writing Cheat Sheet
Edit and Revise Worksheet
Edit and Revise Checklist
Includes a checklist for Editing and Revising

4 Essay Samples:
Don't Be Afraid of Hard Work
Speak Up!
Be A Friend
Mistakes Are Good!


***This product is included in my new Writer's Workshop Units of Study Bundle which includes:

Personal Narrative Resources
Essay Writing for Grades 3-5
Writing Realistic Fiction
Writing Informational Text -- Common Core Aligned


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Kathy O

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