Third Grade Writing in a Coteaching Classroom

Today I want to share a little about the efforts that my coteachers and I are making with writing this year - we are seeing positive results already!

This year my entire morning consists of coteaching writing - in all three of my school's third grade classrooms and one of the fourth grade classrooms.  This is actually my second year of coteaching writing, and I have found that I really enjoy witnessing the progress of my students' writing from where they begin in third grade to where they are at the end of fourth grade!  What growth occurs in these two short years!!

Our third grade team got together at the start of this school year and decided to make two significant changes to our writing program: 

1.  We are teaching the writing process very explicitly to our students.  What exactly do I mean by that?
Last year: We progressed through the writing process and used the vocabulary repeatedly, but the students never took ownership of the writing process.  (This became obvious last year at quarterly assessment time when students skipped the brainstorming and planning stages, and went right to writing a rough draft.)   
This year: We have posters displayed in each third grade classroom, and we move the arrow as we progress through the writing process.  (I purchased these adorable Writing Process Anchor Chart Posters from Sabrina Barr at TpT!)

I also created the tracking sheet below that students keep in their writing folder.  Students fill in each arrow as they progress through the writing process.  Not only do the students love coloring in the arrows as they complete each step, but we teachers find that it is extremely helpful to us, too - at the beginning of our writer's workshop time, we have students hold up their cards.  We catch a quick glimpse of where each student is in the writing process!
Click HERE to download this PDF!
2.  We record conference notes.  Each student has a copy of the Observation Notes sheet below.  They keep it in their writing folder and bring it to their individual writing conference.  As you can see, we record their writing strengths, but also weak areas that we specifically addressed during the conference.  This is very helpful in a writing classroom where coteaching is taking place. This allows us both to be "up-to-speed" on the nature of each student's most recent writing conference.
Click HERE to download this PDF!
Here's an example of how a coteaching classroom in particular benefits from use of this resource: If Miss Henderson (the classroom teacher) discussed using capital letters for proper nouns during the last writing conference, I can quickly glance at the conference notes, and begin the new conference with a statement like "I see at your last writing conference, you and Miss Henderson talked about capitalizing proper nouns.  Let's look at this writing piece to see if you remembered to use capital letters to begin proper nouns when you wrote independently."

Results?  I am pleased to report that we are seeing significant progress... when we write a comment for "developing skill", we usually DO see progress on the next writing piece!!  It also comes in very handy when it's time to fill out report cards and/or have parent-teacher conferences!

I'll update you later in the year with how things continue to progress!


  1. What a great reflection you made on last year - I am sure you are excited to get started on the program this year. I am glad it is having such great results for you! We get better every year we teach!

    Teaching Maths with Meaning

  2. These are great ideas and seems to be working well. I have never loved teaching writing and these ideas make it seem more manageable!
    A Tall Drink of Water