AAMP UP Writing

In CCSS Standards now require the teaching of writing, grammar, conventions, how to apply language functions in different contexts and making choice in terms of style, to be a shared responsibility across all content disciplines. Those who teach science, social studies, reading and other technical subjects will benefit from this page.

Note: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Literacy are organized into six categories:

1. Reading: Literature

2. Reading: Informational Texts

3. Reading: Foundational Skills

4. Writing

5. Speaking and Listening

6. Language


This page provides (5) writing and (6) language standards resources and is organized around the CCSS Standards:


1. What to Teach:  CCSS Standards

2. How To Teach Writing:  General Resources

3. Developing Language Skills: innovative methods to promote vocabulary development and improve syntax structure

4. Developing Writing Fluency—quick writes, writing prompts, use of mentor texts, etc.
Developing Form and Structure:  The Writing Process, revision, six-trait-rubric

5. Learning Research Skills

6. Teaching Argumentative Writing


Although this website offers many free writing resources, please see PUBLISHER PAGE for links to other writing resources as the books on this page represent those from my personal library and reflect an upper grade bias. If you search “writing” in each of the Publisher’s exceptional websites, you will find a wealth of support materials, not only in authors’ books, but videos, webinars, free documents, Professional Learning Community study guides, and an opportunity to read some or part of books online.

first AAMP


Common Cores State Standards: Writing: K-5  http://tinyurl.com/cmapunf

Common Core State Standards: Writing 6-12


THE SIX TRAIT GURUS: This excellent blog provides a “Spark Notes” clear summary of writing standards.


second aamp


National Writing Project:   http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/922
30 Ideas and instructional strategies for HOW TO TEACH Writing.

Dr. Anita Archer:   http://www.scoe.org/pub/htdocs/archer-videos.html

Dr. Anita Archer, respected literacy leader and author, provides numerous free 4-10 min. videos on “explicit instruction” in reading and writing.   This Sonoma County link includes the videos and many pdf files.

Dr. Anita Archer: Expository Writing Gr. 4-12:


This 20-page document provides extensive information on HOW to teach expository writing. The teacher who took these notes includes a disclaimer that her notes can hardly replace attending a Dr. Anita Archer Workshop.

Kelly1Kelly Gallagher’s Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts:  http://www.stenhouse.com/shop/pc/viewprd.asp?idProduct=9513

(This website allows you to preview the book)

Mr. Gallagher, author of the definitive book, Readicide, How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It , presents a rich argument and on the purpose of teaching writing, “Students who are taught how to write without being taught the real-world purposes behind authentic writing are much more likely to end up seeing writing as nothing more than a school activity-nothing more than a series of obstacles to overcome in order to pass the state test or get to graduation. This book provides multiple innovative, engaging strategies and student examples, with a special emphasis on expository and analytical writing. He admits he do to limited time, “he does not not teach every purpose” for writing. Using informational mentor texts, or resources written by professional writers, Mr. Gallagher trains teachers on how to guide student writing, teaching students how manipulate one idea, and craft it for multiple purposes: Express and Reflect, Inform and Explain, Evaluate and Judge, Inquire and Explore, Analyze and Interpret, Take a Stand/Propose a Solution. This simple process produce multiple, authentic writing products in short period of time. This is an important resource, practically a “training manual” on how to meet all ten Common Core State Standards. See Mr. Gallagher’s website for other powerful writing products:  http://kellygallagher.org/ 

Resources to both Enhance Vocabulary
and Executive Control of Syntax Structures

Harry Noden’s Image Grammar 6-12: Teaching Grammar as Part of the Writing Process:  http://www.heinemann.com/products/E04174.aspx

image-grammer6-12Mr. Noden’s Workshops: http://www.ncte.org/consultants/noden

This is the single most transformative product I have ever used, one that creates student mastery and appreciation for constructing language. Of all the over 1000 resources on this website, this would be the number one product I would buy to enhance literacy in students. This is a comprehensive product which provides unique and novel teaching strategies supported by abundant resources to teach the dynamic interaction between grammar and writing. An extremely useful and practical resource, the book includes a CD Rom with over 350 pages full of easily applied, specific teaching strategies and helpful student resources. The book and CD Rom includes powerful passages from authors providing examples of how professional authors intuitively use their “artist’s eye” to apply image grammar to craft, style and author’s voice. The CD Rom also includes discreet lessons that allow students to practice and apply what they have learned, in addition to Power points on Image Grammar, character and setting analysis. “Never again will grammar be contrived, isolated, and unrelated to ‘real writing’ once you’ve read Harry R. Noden’s Image Grammar!”.

Students develop an “author’s eye” in writing by “painting with these brushstokes?”  

    • Painting with participles
    • Painting with absolutes
    • Painting with appositives
    • Painting with adjectives shifted out of order
      Painting with action verbs

“IMAGE GRAMMAR” POWER POINTS, created by other authors: If you “Google” “Image Grammar” you can find many teacher-created power points on Image Grammar. These are two of the best I have found.

 UTAH EDUCATION NETWORK: Over view of IMAGE GRAMMAR, lesson plan with teacher created Power Point: Outstanding!!  http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=20826 

Direct link to just the Power Point: Image_Grammar_Intro_to_the_5_brush_strokes.pptx  

ORANGE COUNTY GATE WORKSHOP: DAVID CHUNG:Lesson plan and power point: This internet slide share gives you links to multiple other slide shares on other syntax strategies such as sentence combining.  http://tinyurl.com/96nlmae


mechanically-inclinedJeff Anderson’s Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage and Style in a Writer http://tinyurl.com/yebozca
This website allows you to preview the book
Mr. Anderson’s workshops:  http://www.writeguy.net/
This is an equally powerful resource from Stenhouse.  This book expands on Harry Noden’s ideas and adds some more grammatical twists, such as introducing the anagram memory-gimmicks such as FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Yet, So), to teach coordinating conjunctions and to teach students to create sentence variety with NTSCBWTSW  (No Two Sentences Can Begin With The Same Word).  He provides this tool, AAAWWUBBIS, (Although, As, After, When, While, Until, Before, Because, If and Since), to encourage students to open sentences different ways. This book “…shifts the negative, rule-plagued emphasis of much grammar instruction into one which celebrates the power and beauty these tools have in shaping all forms of writing. “
Jeff Andersen’s power point teaches how to add details at the beginning, middle and end of the sentence. As good as this Power point is, it is no substitute for the book.  This slide share links to many other grammar Power points created by other teachers.  http://www.slideshare.net/ebrand21/sentence-patterns-2497228

Mary Ellen Ledbetter’s English Workshop Activities for Grades 6-12: 180 Lessons Mary-ellen-englishIntegrating Literature, Writing & Grammar Skills: Magnificent starters neatly organized around a different set of skills associated with a specific writing mode such as the vignette, character sketch, how-to paragraph or poem. Can be used orally, as a warm up, class review. Includes an excellent glossary and “Smiley Face Tricks”, techniques students should use in their writing to impress their teacher, techniques like “magic 3”, using three verbs, participles, etc. in a rowhttp://tinyurl.com/8zx5cwu



Resources: Writing Prompts and Ways to Generate
Writing Ideas

(CCSS Standards 1-3, building fluency in different text types: narrative, persuasive
(argument), and expository/informational. Standard 10, spontaneous writing


To build fluency students should write a minimum of ten minutes every day. Below are some of many wonderful resources that provide engaging prompt ideas:

100 Quickwrites: Fast and Effective Freewriting Exercises that Build Students' Confidence, Develop Their Fluency, and Bring Out the Writer in Every Studenthttp://www.scholastic.com/browse/search?query=100+Quick+Writes


Outstanding resource for “silent sustained writing”. This resource serves two purposes: reading and writing. A short poem or essay precedes each prompt, inviting students to use the “found idea or borrowed line from a text, responding to something that sparks a reaction in the mind of the reader/listener”. This book explains how to use Quick Writes in class. These frequent non-graded writings that build amazing fluency and creativity: Any of the “quick write” could be converted to a published piece.  

This link to allows you to preview this resource:  http://tinyurl.com/98wxcft

Scholastic offers some sample preview pages.



dont-forget-to-write-blueJennifer Traigs’s Don’t Forget to Write For the Elementary Grades: 50 Enthralling and Effective Writing Lessons-Ages 5-12 http://tinyurl.com/9ne4lek 

Jennifer Traigs’s Don’t Forget to Write For the Secondary dont-forget-to-write-yellowGrades: 50 Enthralling and Effective Writing Lessons-Ages 11 and Up.  http://tinyurl.com/8j3xszt

The titles say it all. I recently purchased these books and am simply overwhelmed by the joyful focus of these writing prompts. “This book offers 50 creative writing lesson plans from the imaginative and highly acclaimed 826 National writing labs. Created as a resource to reach all students (even those most resistant to creative writing). For elementary students the lessons range from goofy fun (like "The Other Toy Story: Make Your Toys Come to Life") to practical, from sports to science, music to mysteries. For secondary students “the off-beat and attention-grabbing lessons include such gems as "Literary Facebooks," where students create a mock Facebook profile based on their favorite literary character, as well as highly practical lessons like the "College Application Essay Boot Camp." These writing lessons are written by experts and favorite novelists, actors, and other entertainers pitched in too. The author’s state: “There's a particular emphasis on fun, yes, but also on building blocks: the fundamentals of narrative, character development, self-expression. How do you communicate clearly? “ A delightful discovery. A new jewel in my treasure trove.

501 WRITING PROMPTS (Learning Express Skill Builder in Focus) http://tinyurl.com/ccfbree

 Wonderful, powerful resource. Includes persuasive, expository, narrative and literary response writing prompts, all with rubrics and writing models, (benchmark examples.) The entire book is available, free, in the pdf file link below. Because I used this pdf so frequently, I honored the authors by also purchasing the book.  http://tinyurl.com/98uoeb9


write-sourceWRITE SOURCE: is a group of teachers and writers who develop materials for students and instructors from kindergarten through twelfth grade.   This resource could go under How to teach, as it is a “classic” literacy textbook; however it is in this section due to its marvelous free writing prompts. To see their 24 core products, including a resource for college writing, go to this link: http://www.thewritesource.com/ 


 http://www.thewritesource.com/writing_topics/ Over 30 writing prompts for each grade level, K-12 This is followed by a more expanded explanation of some writing prompts with outstanding student exemplars.  http://www.thewritesource.com/studentmodels (The five paragraph friendship personification on the sixth grade link was one of the most successful writing prompts I used last year.) Under their Multimedia Reports, this website demonstrates CCSS technology standards providing exemplary student models through either Power point, or Slide share.


Developing Fluency: Using Mentor Texts

“Mentor” texts covering a wide variety of genres, are read-alouds or articles written by professional writers. They provide strong models of each of some or all of the six traits of good writing and are critical in the scaffolding needed to stretch student writing and bring them to mastery. While students listen ore read, they seek out how the professional writer developed ideas, sentence fluency, organization, voice, etc.


Writing Next, a comprehensive meta-analysis of more than 200 writing studies, found that one strategy that consistently works in teaching writing is having emerging writers study models of writing, (Graham and Perin 2007_. Specifically, Writing Next suggests three steps students should take when looking at models: they should read them, they should analyze them, and they should emulate them.  Kelly Gallagher     http://kellygallagher.org/


 Read. Analyze. Emulate.

The Writing Fix: Home of Interactive Writing Prompts.
Picture Book Lessons, Grades 3-12

Extensive website developed by the Northern Nevada Writing Project which explains how they used picture books to train students to listen for specific writing traits (focus/details, organization, word choice etc). Includes writing prompts, and links to other teacher websites.

The Busy Teacher Café:  http://busyteacherscafe.com/literacy/writing_workshop.html

This page provides many details and links on how to inspire writing through “mentor texts” –picture books or author’s excerpts that model a particular writing trait: focus, organization, sentence fluency, voice, details:


MENTOR TEXTS: TEACHING WRITING THROUGH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, K-6: A book full of lists of outstanding books to read aloud and to use as models to inspire writinghttp://tinyurl.com/8b36jj7



(CCSS STANDARDS 4-6, dealing with the “production and distribution” of writing: i.e.: using the writing process to create design and publish. Standard 10: on demand writing)  

The Writing Process: Describes the typical workflow of writing: Prewriting, writing, revising, editing, publishing: The website below includes multiple prewriting strategies, and directions for each stage of the writing process. The CCSS place a strong emphasis on the writing process.   http://www.angelfire.com/wi/writingprocess/prewriting.html


The Writing Process: This website offers a college version of the Writing Process:


The Writing Process Power points:
Multiple “slide shares”, from elementary to high school, teaching both the writing process and various domains of writing. . These provide excellent online training for both teachers and students. The only downside of “slide share” is the annoying advertisements.  http://www.slideshare.net/gskeesee/writing-arguments






Ms. Calkins, well-respected leader and champion of the reading and writing workshop model, trains teachers to lead students in how to write in a variety of genres which helps foster a love of writing.  The Writing Workshop allows teachers to meet student needs by differentiating their instruction and gearing instruction based on information gathered throughout the workshop. Ms. Calkins has published many books and material. In addition she has created materials specifically dedicated to Common Core State Standards K-8. The website above provides links to all her books and materials.

Launching Writing Workshop: K-4  http://elemed.ucps.k12.nc.us/writing/LaunchingPacket%202007.pdf
This nine-page document provides detailed information on how to set up a writing workshop



If a teacher provides trait-based instruction, they are already helping students develop skills they need to meet CCSS standards. Providing students an analytical focus to recast their writing and revise it around specific features of each type of prompt (narrative, persuasive (argument), expository/informational), promotes significant improvement in achieving or exceeding grade level standards. Most importantly, by teaching them through exemplar texts, training them on how to assess, students then will develop cognitive tools to self assess their own work. A student’s ability to self assess measures .7 on visible learning effect size, which translates to nearly a two-year gain.

A teachers application of the six traits when evaluating student work, serves as powerful descriptive feedback, a transformative instructional tool, to help students revise their writing to mastery. There are many outstanding resources to train both you and your students, free and “fee-based”.


 http://educationnorthwest.org/Education Northwest; Official 6 trait website. Provides a broad array of research and free support materials. Their product link ( http://educationnorthwest.org/catalog/61-trait-products) lists over 49 book resources to train both the student and the teacher.

 http://www.azed.gov/standards-development-assessment/six-traits/ Provided by the Arizona Department of Education; The opening page describes the features of the six traits. If you click on each of the categories on top, you will link to six high school writing samples, with scores ranging from 1 to 6 in each of the six traits, for a total of 36 writing samples.

 http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/ Six Traits Writing Assessment: A Site for Teachers Using the Six Traits;   Many helpful links on this side, in particular excellent ling to “Strategies on how to teach each of the traits”, also link to words for “said”, adjectives for the 5 senses, etc.

Ruth Cullum: Benchmark Papers K-8: Like the free high school resource above, these books provide multiple samples of student exemplars and benchmarks ranging from 1 to 6 scores. These samples provide strategic training in helping students develop writing skills. This unique resource is organized and evaluated around one specific trait, although each writing sample is ultimately evaluated on all six traits. To help students achieve, they need to see models of excellence, or anchor papers. Scholastic and Ms. Cullum created this marvelous series of benchmark essays, 4-8, that greatly enhance the understanding of how to write.

In teaching students how to focus on the intricacies of writing, I rate this as one of the more effective materials in my professional library. All benchmarks and models are on a CD Rom available for interactive whiteboards. The CD Rom includes interactive training on evaluating traits.  http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/ruth-culham-writing-program/




CCSS Standards 7-9: Research to build and present knowledge: exploring ideas, gathering information, and synthesizing that information in a way that makes large volumes of information shareable.


 http://www.procon.org/ This website presents 43 controversial issues with many articles supporting or refuting the issue.  

Many websites and resources provide training in how to do research:

READ WRITE THINK: Comprehensive website for all types of writing: http://tinyurl.com/22w3b4q

Purdue Online Writing Lab: For Grades 7-12

Teacher Vision:  http://tinyurl.com/9m4aavj Good materials, but the website is cluttered with advertisements. 




George Hillocks, Jr: Teaching Argument Writing: Designed for middle and high school students. Mr. Hillocks provides many handouts, activities and models of classroom discussions that will enable students to write strong arguments and evaluate arguments of others. They will able to meet the demands of Common Core State Standards: “Delineate and evaluate an argument and specific claims…including the validity of the reasoning (and) the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.” The activities start with simple and move to complex instruction, teaching students how to write and evaluate arguments of fact, arguments of judgment and arguments of policy.


 JANE SCHAEFFER WRITING PROGRAM: Many school districts across the nation, in AP and standard classes, have adopted Jane Schaeffer’s Writing Program. Through color-coding she teaches students the skeleton of exposition through a Topic Sentence (TS), Concrete Detail (CD), Commentary (CM) Commentary (CM) and Conclusion. If you do a “Google” search, you will find hundreds of links, and Power points to learn this system; however, the material is copyrighted. Please contact this website for costs. A teacher in another school district reports the Jane Schaffer Workshops are very helpful. www.janeschaffer.com  

SLIDE SHARES: See this and many other slide shares teaching how to establish and support a thesis;

YOU TUBE: Many videos on how to write and essay or argumentative essay:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v3uiCBUZfE 


Below are memory tricks used by writing teachers to help students think about writing, and/or scaffold reasoning and structure a thesis, argument or literary analysis.

“APE”: Answer, Proof, Explain

“ICE”: Isolate your idea, Connect, Explain

“PIE”: Make your Point, Illustrate it with an Example, Explain  http://tinyurl.com/8zbjbw6

You Tube Video explaining the PIE Method: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v3uiCBUZfE 

“ABC”: “The ABC method helps students prioritize information in their essays so that their main points are strong and support their thesis:


PLEASE”—Pick a topic, List Idea, Evaluate, Activate with a Topic                   Sentence, Support Sentence ,Ending Sentence, Evaluate

                   Also:  http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/de/pd/instr/strats/raft/

The RAFTs Technique is a system to help students understand their role as a writer, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the expected content. It is an acronym that stands for: