A Gift From Lucy

Did you get your Christmas gift from Lucy Calkins and the TCRWP Community today? Well I did and it is awesome! They have videotaped a few teachers ranging in grades teaching specific common core lessons. Here is the email they sent me with the link to the videos-

Dear Friends of the Project,

In honor of the holidays, we are writing to let you know two pieces of good news. The first is that we're completing work on a new Units of Study series—Units of Study in Teaching Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing: A Common Core Curriculum. You can visit Heinemann's website to get more information about the series, view sample minilessons, etc.-- 

Our second announcement is that we have compiled almost 40 video clips of Common Core aligned teaching and learning and want you to know this is a resource you can have, use, share. You'll see that this provides more than 6 hours of classroom videos to support you and your colleagues. To ensure that Pathways to the Common Core: Videos from Inside Classrooms can be helpful to as many people as possible, we've put the videos online in Vimeo albums. This is the link to the website on which you can watch all of the clips:

You'll notice the videos are organized by major aspects of the Common Core State Standards—Reading Literature, Reading Informational Texts, Opinion/Argument Writing, Informative/Explanatory Writing, and Narrative Writing.  Within each album are clips of teaching which aim to help children reach that aspect of the standards.

We offer these snippets of instruction, these scenes of classrooms, not as a final answer, but as a laboratory of sorts. We think these classrooms represent an important pathway to the Common Core. That is, we make no pretense that the methods of teaching that are shown here are those a teacher must use in order to align to the Common Core. The Common Core does not mandate any one particular method of teaching and in fact, explicitly says that decisions about teaching and curriculum must be left in the hands of practitioners.

Know that we've put this together on a shoestring budget. Unlike other CCSS video collections, this was not funded by an outside organization. It's the result of just a few days of filming…and we don't think for a minute, that this is perfect. The teachers you see didn't suggest that their teaching met some special gold standard—they simply said yes when we asked if we could stop by, video camera in hand. Some of the snippets were filmed long before the CCSS came onto the scene and we'd do things differently if we could, but we included them because they, nevertheless represent a pathway to the CCSS. We hope you appreciate the teachers featured here for opening their doors to us, and for welcoming critique. We've provided our own critical comments, and explained connections we see to the Common Core in commentary.

This is our gift to education---no profits will be made from the distribution of these clips or of the DVD on which they are compiled. We share these with thanks for all you do each day. You are invited to share this with whomever you'd like. It is our hope that these clips will be the start to conversations across grades, buildings, districts, states—all of us putting our heads together to find ways to help all children to reach the Common Core State Standards.  Special thanks to Kelly Boland Hohne for editing this collection.

Have a beautiful holiday break—well-deserved!

Lucy Calkins and the TCRWP community

Don’t you just love Teacher College and the Writing Project? It is my dream to one day attend in New York City!
I have only watched a few of them so far, but I really enjoyed watching the first grade teacher teach the lesson of comparing and contrasting fairy tales. I love how she encourages them to dig deeper.
I am off to make cookies I have a huge Christmas planned. This year both my brother’s and their families will be here. I don’t think my kids have ever been with both Uncles on Christmas. It should be a fun filled, story filled, laughter filled, Christmasy good time. AND we are expecting snow!

My wish for you is much of the same. I hope that your Christmas is filled with family, fun, precious new memories, and a blessedly safe New Year.   



  1. I hope we get some snow!

    I’m having a giveaway! I’d love for you to buzz by and enter :)
    The Busy Busy Hive

  2. TCRWP is FAB! I havent' opened my email yet, but am definitely going to over the break! Smiles - Lisa
    Growing Firsties

  3. I'm jealous. Lucy did not send this to me! I too would love to visit her in NYC. How many pennies must I save up for that I wonder?

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. I'll return to read more thoroughly, Tammy, but wanted to say Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Hope it's wonderful!