Teaching Writing: Grades 4-6

Teaching Writing: Grades 4-6

Learn how to motivate and facilitate developing writers from an experienced educator. This course provides an overview of the writing basics and demonstrate how to organize materials and lessons to establish an inviting and supportive writing environment for middle grade students.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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In this teacher-training course, you will learn from an experienced educator how to motivate and assist developing writers. You will get an overview of the writing basics, focusing on the importance of the task, audience, and purpose. You will also discover how to organize your materials to create an inviting writing environment.

This course will discuss each step of teaching writing and the strategies you can use with your students. You will learn how to strengthen your students' writing using technology. Along the way, you'll develop engaging lessons for literary response, narrative writing, expository writing, and persuasive writing. You will also discover the secrets of effective writing assessment as you learn about evaluation tools like portfolios and rubrics. The approaches you learn in this course will enable you to put everything you know about teaching writing into an applicable, workable format.


Begin a journey through the writing process with a look at your fellow travelers: your students! This lesson will discuss the types of writers that emerge in grades 4-6 and show you how to encourage and motivate them. You'll also explore the basics of teaching writing by learning how to create an engaging writing task with a specific audience and purpose. At the end of the lesson, you'll pack a writing suitcase to organize your materials and learn how to create a writer-friendly classroom.

Learn the importance of modeling your writing skills as you teach your students about the writing process. You'll start with an overview of the process and then focus on the first two steps in your writing journey: prewriting and drafting. Some intriguing superheroes will help your students learn effective prewriting techniques like brainstorming, freewriting, and mapping. Finally, you'll look at a friendly monster who will help you teach essay structure.

In this lesson, you'll continue your travels through the writing process with a study of the last three steps: revising, editing, and publishing. You'll learn how to help students become confident peer revisers as they check papers for content and clarity while still respecting the author's sense of ownership. Next, the lesson will discuss how you can help students focus on writing mechanics during the editing step. In both revising and editing, you'll encourage your students to collaborate, coach, and correct. Finally, you'll find ways to let your students share their writing as their voices are fully realized in the publishing step.

It's time to get out your barbells because this lesson is about strengthening your students' writing. You'll focus on specific strategies for constructing intriguing sentences that vary in length and style. To be strong writers, your students will need some nourishment, so you'll learn how to use a submarine sandwich to teach paragraph structure. Using this formula, your students will become proficient at writing topic sentences, supporting sentences with transitions, and concluding sentences. Finally, you'll see how to use technology as a tool for strengthening writing.

Reading and writing have a natural relationship. When students connect those skills, they strengthen both abilities and enhance their learning. In this lesson, you'll explore how to foster an eagerness for writing and teach writing skills using children's trade books. Then, you'll discover and develop writing prompts that will allow your students to effectively communicate their understanding of literature.

"Once upon a time . . ." Remember the wonderful books you read as a child? This lesson will help you bring that "once upon a time" magic into your students' lives as you help them see that good stories aren't just found in books—they're in every single person as well. The topic is narrative writing, and you'll explore the skills students need to tell stories. You'll learn how to help students create memorable characters, vivid settings, and descriptive plots. Finally, you'll consider ways to expand your students' writing repertoire using different writing genres.

Can you count how many research papers you've been asked to write? At some point, your students will certainly be given this assignment, so now's the time to teach them about expository writing. Expository writing is simply writing that explains or informs. In this lesson, you'll start by looking at three expository elements: focus, support, and structure. Next, you'll find ways to teach your students how to conduct research and take notes. Finally, you'll learn how to help them organize all of the information into an exceptional report.

Young students often feel unheard in an adult-dominated society, but with persuasive writing, they come to know that what they think matters and what they have to say can make a difference. That's a powerful motivation to write! In this lesson, you'll learn how to walk your students through the prewriting step, where they'll choose a topic, decide on a position statement, and research evidence that supports their view. Next, you'll help them learn to hook their readers in their introduction, use different persuasive appeals in the body of their essay, and leave a memorable impact with their conclusion. Finally, you'll help them avoid the pitfalls of certain fallacies that can undermine their efforts.

Writing isn't just for English class! It's a valuable tool to help your students learn other topics more deeply. In this lesson, as you explore writing across the curriculum, you'll learn how to provide plenty of writing opportunities in every subject area. You'll explore summary writing and journal writing as ways to write about a subject. Then, you'll move on to writing projects that are unique for each content area. Finally, you'll explore some engaging ideas for writing about famous people in any content area.

Good, effective writing lets readers enjoy the journey with the writer, moving them toward a clear destination while blending the author's voice with the reader's emotions. The 6 + 1 Trait Writing method helps students create a reciprocal relationship with their readers. In this lesson, you'll learn practical strategies for teaching the six writing traits: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. Then, you'll discover the "plus 1" and ways to make your students' writing presentations appealing. When students can pull all these traits together, they'll have writing that makes a memorable impression on their readers!

This lesson will combine all the writing strategies you've learned and see how they fit into a Writer's Workshop. You'll be excited to discover how students can use the writing process, learn writing skills, practice different applications, and work collaboratively using the Writer's Workshop model. Your study of this teaching approach will be divided into three components: the mini-lesson, the small group and independent work time, and the sharing session. An example of Writer's Workshop in action will help you visualize its use in your own classroom.

Assessment is the final topic for this course. However, it isn't the "end of the road" for your students' writing experiences. In this lesson, you'll learn that assessment is an ongoing process that you can use as a tool for improving both learning and teaching. The lesson will start with a comparison of traditional and alternative assessment options. Next, you'll focus on how to use authentic writing tasks and portfolios to assess writing. Finally, you'll learn how to develop and use rubrics so that you'll be well-equipped to evaluate your students' writing.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Michele Thrailkill

Michele Thrailkill has spent the last 20 years of her teaching career making numbers fun for a diverse range of students. Eager to share her easy and creative teaching strategies with others, Michele worked for a state Department of Education, where she created statewide lesson plans and evaluated web-based material for classroom inclusion. After finishing her Master's Degree in Middle Grades Education, she published two teachers' manuals focusing on introductory mathematics for preschool and elementary students. While sharing her love for teaching math, Michele discovered that she enjoys teaching in a variety of areas. As a budding author herself, Michele loves helping others learn the art and skill of writing. Through her valuable and wide skillset, Michele finds ways to help her students grasp new concepts, as well as go deeper with the skillset they've already established.


I enjoyed this course. The information presented was very useful. There were some excellent graphics included, like the submarine sandwich and wheel, which I intend to use in my classroom. Overall, I just really enjoyed this course and am charged up to begin teaching again! I took many notes, and intend to refer to them throughout my school year. Thank you.

Wonderful, extremely informative class. Excellent teacher who really made learning enjoyable and fun!

Your course got me excited to teach writing in the classroom once again! I found the material to be interesting and useful.

This course was excellent. I learned a lot and reflected on a lot of the practices as I went through the material. Our instructor was not only very knowledgeable in her field, she was also very personable and resourceful in her responses to our discussion area sessions. Thank you !

I really enjoyed this course! The information was so well-organized. I know I'll be able to apply much of what I've learned to my teaching. Melanie is clearly very knowledgeable. I appreciated that the course was extremely hands-on and teacher-friendly. I've taken many online courses, but this has been the best, by far. Thanks again for a great class!

I loved this course! It was full of excellent ideas for implementing an interesting and effective writing program in the upper grades classroom. Thank you so much! I walked away from this course with a greater understanding of the writing process as well as so many ideas that I can't wait to try out.

This course was an excellent course. It will help me in the fall to engage and help students with writing. The instructor was knowledgeable and informative and I learned a lot from her.

This course was wonderful! As a fifth grade teacher home on maternity leave, I was able to get a complete overview of teaching writing to upper elementary students. Not only was it all encompassing, I learned many new terms, strategies, and fun lesson ideas I could incorporate into my classroom the next day. The course was totally relevant and very interesting. Thank you!

This was an outstanding course taught by an excellent instructor. I would highly recommend this course to others. I got more than my money's worth in taking this class. Thank you.

Writing can be a dreadful chore and an insurmountable challenge for some students. "Teaching Writing: Grades 4-6" provides a strategic road map with many exciting adventures along the way. Because she has taught in public schools and has been in the trenches herself, Melanie Park recognizes the problems writing presents and gives practical advice for solving them. Every lesson is a precise how-to with varied suggestions for implementation. As a student, I have been challenged to think about writing in many novel ways and am grateful for the step-by-step techniques and strategies outlined in this course.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9734
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: wrt