Focus Lesson Topic Writing Is Decision-Making (grades 3-5)

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Focus Lesson Planning Sheet

Focus Lesson Topic

Writing Is Decision-Making (grades 3-5)


Chart paper

Several texts from various genres to use to demonstrate a variety of decisions writers make (including at least one example of a nonfiction, a fiction and a poem dealing with the same topic), enough so that pairs or small groups of students could use a few to discuss some of the decisions the authors made

Texts for students to explore authors’ decisions during IW


You have all become experts at Readers’ Workshop over the past few years. One thing that I know you have talked about a lot is that Reading Is Thinking. When you are reading, you are constantly using a variety of thinking strategies to help you do a better job at understanding and making meaning of the text you are reading. Today we are going to talk about the variety of things that writers have to do.

Explicit Instruction
Create Anchor Chart

Writing Is Decision-Making

List a variety of things writers have to make decisions about including




-point of view








Writers have many important things to think about and decide about when they write. That is why I like to say that “Writing Is Decision-Making.” All of those many decisions that a writer makes while writing his story combine to create the story that comes out in the end. Along the way, if the writer had made different decisions, had chosen to do things differently, the story would come out differently. Adding up all the decisions is what makes the whole story. There are many decisions a writer makes constantly throughout the course of writing a story. Let’s look together at some of the most important ones. (Add to anchor chart as each is discussed.) First a writer must decide what to write about. Here are several texts about different topics. Some are about animals. Some are about people. Some are about characters and what happens to them. (Substitute based on the books being used.) Each writer had to decide what to write about. A writer also has to decide why she is writing this particular text. Is she trying to teach readers some information like in this book? Does she want to entertain readers and make them laugh? Does she want to share her experiences? (Model based on texts you have.) What is her purpose in writing this text? A writer also has to decide what form or genre to use. Will the text be a story like this one? Will it be an article? Will it be a poem? Model with texts.

Continue with a few other types of decisions authors make.

Guided Practice

Let’s look more closely at some decisions writers make. You will now work with a partner (or in a small group of __). I will give each group a few texts. Look through them and see if you can find what decisions the writers made, based on our list here on the anchor chart, or on others you might notice.

Hand out texts and allow groups to talk for some minutes. Gather them back together and share some of the other types of decisions or other examples of types of decisions they identified. Elicit as many as possible to add to anchor chart. You may wish to track on a two-column chart the title of the text and the decisions the author made and then students could use this same format during Independent Writing while exploring other texts.

Send Off [for Independent Practice]

Today during Independent Writing you will continue to explore texts written by authors who made decisions while they were writing. Jot down (on sticky notes or on a piece of paper or a two column chart: text/decisions author made) some of the decisions you think the author of the texts you are exploring made while he or she was writing that text. Switch the texts around your table (group) when you need some more texts to explore.

Group Share

Students could share how they made their decisions of what stories to tell one another.

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