Taking Writing to 100% Small Group

What if I told you moving your ENTIRE writing instruction to small group instruction will turn your students into INCREDIBLE writers? Well, I’m telling you that. I moved from teaching writing whole group with writing conferences on the side to GUIDED WRITING. It was a game changer. 

Let’s start from the beginning. All of your students come to you at various stages of writing. We wish they were all on level, but they are not. I noticed a trend each year with this and I became frustrated. If am being honest, I was frustrated with the teacher they had the year before. Was that right? No. My frustration was misplaced in the biggest way. Students learn at different rates in ALL subjects. It really begins in the earliest years at home or in daycare. We cannot control those circumstances. Therefore, we cannot rush a child to “catch up.” 

But we have a responsibility, right? We need to teach them on level, right? Yes. They must learn the grade level standards. They can learn them with more one-on-one time with you though. They can learn them in a more focused group instead of getting lost in the whole-group hustle and bustle. 

I have had many ask how this looks in the classroom. I am here to lay it out for you and hopefully answer the questions you have!

Guided Writing Implementation:

Divide your students into writing small groups (five groups is best.)

•Meet with one group each day for 30 minutes.

•The group you are meeting with will be doing the Guided Writing Lesson with you.


•The other students will be doing Writing Meet-Ups in their small groups but around the room (working together similar to centers.) NOTE: Writing Meet-Ups are included in the Guided Writing Set.

For three weeks, you will work through a type of writing (informative, persuasive or narrative.)

During that time, there will also be mini-lessons for grammar during each guided lesson.

After you have taught the type of writing during those three weeks, the students will move on to drafting, editing/revising and publishing. The wonderful part is, all of the work they did for three weeks will be the basis of their paper. The organizing and thought process will already be complete!


•Once you are on the rough draft stage—Writing Meet Up Activities will end because all students will be working through the writing process. Explain what all students will do during those weeks BEFORE going to small group. A rubric is provided for you to use after the publishing process is completed.

During each small group session, I take detailed Anecdotal Records. I want to be able to refer back to them when needed such as parent conferences or for my own knowledge. (These are editable.)

Many have asked, “so you do NO whole group writing instruction?” Nope. I don’t. I eliminated it altogether my last 3 years of teaching and my admin loved it. I have used this way of teaching for years but I didn’t have set lesson plans developed to share with other teachers. Mine were chicken-scratch. 🙂 I have finally created this for you though! It took months and I am still working on additional grade levels.

A few other tips though…do not do away with your anchor charts. Just because you do not teach writing whole group doesn’t mean your room needs to be bare of all writing-related topics. Your students will be working on Writing Meet-Ups around the room and will need these reminders. 
Really, it is just taking your hour or so of writing time in your classroom and making it more targeted. I love the focus I see in students when they get to write with me in a small-group. I have used this instruction in other classrooms as well and the teachers are amazed at the level of concentration and work ethic. 

I hope this answers any questions you have about Guided Writing. It may sound scary and new to you…but back in the day…reading was taught entirely whole group too. Now, we know the phrase Guided Reading like the back of our hands. 

If you want more from your writing instruction time…give this a try! It really is a game-changer!

Guided Writing 3rd Grade

Guided Writing 4th Grade

Additional FAQ’s

Types of Writing Included are Narrative (Personal Narrative for TEKS), Informative, and Persuasive.



TEKS are the NEW adopted standards

2nd grade and 5th grade are coming in the summer of 2019

Please feel free to comment below or e-mail me at hillary@hillarysteachingadventures.com if you have any additional questions! I am happy to chat! 

Happy Writing,