Upper Elementary Instructional Resources

Upper elementary students benefit from practicing all types of writing, but often argument writing is not a part of the elementary literacy curriculum. As a result, young students tend to think in terms of sides when they write arguments, resulting in writings that include words like for, against, bad, and good. C3WP's Upper Elementary Instructional Resources help young students think beyond pro/con views, beyond trying to persuade a reader about something, and engage students in understanding and exploring the complexities of contemporary issues. The resources support teachers as they model an inquiry stance, reminding and encouraging students to consider multiple perspectives before asserting a claim. This inquiry stance is in contrast to the more common practice of teaching students to form an opinion first and then approach sources with the aim of finding evidence that supports the opinion. Through carefully planned opportunities for frequent argument writing, young students learn how to approach the complexities of a substantive issue, engage in conversations about the issues, and compose arguments based on evidence.

Because “writing floats on a sea of talk” (1970, Britton), multiple opportunities for discussion plays a key role in the C3WP Upper Elementary Instructional Resources. Thomas M. McCann’s book Turning Talk into Text: Argument Writing, Inquiry, and Discussion, also influences each resource's use of purposeful talk as an important instructional strategy for teaching argument writing, and writing in general, at the elementary level. Repeated opportunities for discussion help students understand and paraphrase texts, as they learn to use the language of argument in their writing. For the same reasons, peer response processes are purposefully threaded throughout the resources.

Each resource:

  • Focuses on a specific set of skills or practices in argument writing that build over the course of an academic year
  • Provides text sets that represent multiple perspectives on a single topic, beyond pro and con
  • Engages students in iterative reading and writing practices that build knowledge about a conversation focused on a single topic
  • Supports the writing of recursive claims that emerge and evolve through the reading and writing process
  • Supports students in creating intentional organizational structures that are designed to advance the argument, not based on formulas (e.g. five-paragraph theme)
  • Provides formative assessment opportunities embedded in classroom practice and professional conversations that identify areas of strength and inform next steps for teaching and learning

This rich set of instructional resources work in conjunction with National Writing Project professional development and frequent C3WP formative assessment opportunities that are embedded in classroom practice and professional conversations.

To access each instructional resource, ctrl+click on the title.

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