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Incorporating Researched-Based Instructional Methods in a 5th Grade Fictional Narrative Writing Unit
The California ELA/ELD Framework places a clear emphasis on the importance of developing written communication skills as an inherent necessity to prepare fifth graders for their next phase of their educational career. While the framework goes on to explain the need for systematic, engaging and purposeful instruction few directives on how to go about achieving this are offered. At my school, as is the case in many other schools, there is no writing curriculum. This lack of writing instructional materials leaves the task of developing a curriculum, grounded in research and theories of engagement, in the hands of teachers who may not or may not be prepared or experienced to go so (Dostal & Gabriel, 2015). The purpose of this project was to develop a fifth-grade fictional narrative writing unit that, with deliberate planning for the use of research-based instructional strategies, used the basis of improved motivation, engagement, and writer identity to illicit academic growth (Zumbrunn & Krause, 2012). This fictional writing unit includes ten days of ready-to-use lesson plans, instructional materials, and methodology. It also provides planning materials in the form of blank templates so teachers of all grade levels can model their instruction similarly. Using the resources and approaches outlined in this unit have the potential stimulating significant academic gains as students begin to change their perspective toward writing and their role as a writer.