Writing Groups: Teacher Time & Writing Bin

I'm excited today to tell you about how I teach my minilessons in writing using small group instruction in Writing Groups.

If you haven't read my previous posts, check them out here:

Teacher Time

This is where the main teaching in writing happens and why I am completely in *love* with Writing Groups! I use Teacher Time in both reading and math, so the format is similar for my students to recognize.

Each group is divided into about 6-8 kids and this has allowed me to gain the most insight into their writing and challenge them where they need it.

Having such a small group allows me to see their writing, give instant feedback, allow kids to share in a small, similarly-leveled group (so I can give recommendations that will help all kids in the group) and extend or reteach when necessary. For example, for our recent Halloween Onomatopoeia pieces, I worked with my lower group on the elements of story and ensuring their conventions were okay. With my high group, we worked on adding in additional onomatopoeia and delving into additional figurative language.... It was great!

What's Inside My Teacher Time Writing Bin?

I have a Teacher Time Writing Bin (similar to my Reading Bin) that I bring with me to the meeting area when I meet with my small groups that helps. Inside, you will find the following:

Here's what's inside of the smaller basket:

The links are for teaching transition sentences {future blog post}, the hamburger coasters came from Target, and the toy came from Amazon.
I *love* using hands-on reminders for teaching writing whenever I can (evidently!) ;)
I keep the laminated anchor charts in here to remind kids of previous lessons as the year goes on.

What do I teach for minilessons?

When it comes to the minilessons themselves, I pull from all over. We use the Being a Writer curriculum, but there are many times I want to reinforce something or provide some additional practice with hands-on activities, so I diverge from the scripted lessons pretty frequently.

I am a *big* fan of Ralph Fletcher and his Teaching the Quality of Writing packet. I've had this packet for years and think it's the perfect go-to resource for quick, purposeful and engaging minilessons. Plus, he writes tons about boy writers, so I have found his lessons do the perfect job of hooking even my most reluctant writers.

I have a few packs in my TpT Store that also help to teach some of the more challenging and common writing lessons. You can find them HERE. These usually pair with my hands-on materials and I always kee a copy of the anchor charts in my Writing Bin.

When do kids do writing?

As we talk through the lesson, I have kids sitting in a semi-circle around me, so I can give them quick assignments and check their progress as they write in Teacher Time.

After Teacher Time, the next rotation is always Independent Writing (read more about that HERE) and I always send kids off from Teacher Time with a writing task to complete. For example, we recently planned our Calendar Descriptive Writing Pieces in Teacher Time and we worked on introductory sentences. Now, students are responsible for drafting the paragraph during Independent Writing and we will talk about some revising strategies in the next Teacher Time.

Click to download the PDF of this schedule HERE.

Since there is a day in between Teacher Times (there are Monday/Wednesday groups and Tuesday/Thursday groups), if they don't finish during the Independent Work times, they can work on it more during Catch-Up & Pickle Time (click HERE for details). I have found, though, that kids typically finish in the allotted time and still have time to free write.

I hope this helped explain Writing Groups more and if you're interested in Chevron Writing Groups signs, they are available in my TpT Store HERE.

Let me know if you have any questions and have a wonderful weekend!


  1. I am SO excited to start this in my classroom. Thank you for presenting it so clearly with pictures and examples.

    I have a question- the first day you start center rotations, what do you have group 4 do during 'independent writing' time?
    Thank you,

    1. Thanks so much for your kind feedback and question!! I have my Writing Ideas Bin always available for kids to use to help stir-up ideas, or they can free write or even use the covers of their Writer's Notebooks to generate ideas. Be sure to check out links to all of these suggestions in my Independent Writing post :) Thanks again and enjoy!!

  2. I absolutely love your blog and your small group writing. I am going to start on Tuesday and I so excited. I am working on a planning sheet for my lessons during teacher time. Before I reinvent the wheel do you have a planning sheet that you use as you are planning your lessons for teacher time? I have to turn in lesson plans to my principal so I was hoping to create something that would last the whole week and I could put each small groups plans and activities on it. Thanks in advance! I think I have been on every inch of your blog. I am new to third grade this year and your blog has been a life saver!

  3. I have been toying with the idea of doing small groups for writing for a while now, but couldn't figure out what it would look like. How much time do you have for writer's workshop? I love your ideas! Thank you so much for sharing.
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

  4. Certainly, This website is a fabulous resource of financial market and very important for us.so, I like your web site. Thank's very much for this informational website. If you want more informastion about stock charts to visit stock charts As we discussed, the chart's time schedule is actually a straightforward, not to mention fundamental, item of one's planning knowledge. Them offers a huge rebound with your inexperienced persons stock options buying and selling abilities.