How My Students Passed the Writing Test

Are your students struggling in writing?  This easy and painless way of teaching writing will have you doing the happy dance.  It is a teacher-friendly program designed to engage students and have them BEGGING to write!

Pass the writing test with this BTS program

After creating this program, I decided to test it out in my fourth grade classrooms.  I taught two classes of 24 students and was excited to see 98% of them score exemplary on our state writing test!  Now this program is available to you.  I will explain my theory for you to use in your classroom free of charge and if you don’t want the hassle of creating your own lessons, then you can click the NO-PREP program with everything included below.

It is called BTS (Boost Test Scores) Writing Programs available for Grades 1-8 and covers Common Core Standards:

W.1, W.1.a, W.1.b, W.1.c, W.1.d
W.2, W.2.a, W.2.b, W.2.c, W.2.d
W.3, W.3.a, W.3.b, W.3.c, W.3.d, W.3.e
W.4, W.5, W.6, W.7, W.8, W.9, W.10
L.1, L.1.a, L.1.b, L.1.c, L.1.d, L.1.e, L.1.f, L.1.g
L.2, L.2.a, L.2.b, L.2.c, L.2.d,
L.3, L.3.a

What is in the program?

1.  Step-by-step lesson plans for how to set up interactive notebooks, sentence writing, paragraph writing, narrative writing, opinion or argumentative writing, and informative writing.

2.  For each mini-lesson, there is a teaching poster or anchor chart, interactive student page, and examples of model writing.  Some lessons also include fun, motivational ideas, student practice pages, and assessments.

3.  Forms and Posters:  writing workshop rules, mentor text lists, writing process posters, tracking forms, checklists, goal forms, and notebook check forms.

4.  Student Resources:  Million Dollar Dictionary, spelling dictionary, student resource booklet, portfolio labels, and more.

5.  Homework/Classwork Prompts with day-by-day student directions and rubrics.

What does a year of this program look like?

First off, be ready to start with a positive attitude!  If your students see you excited, they will be curious and want to jump right in on the excitement!

Always start with a basic foundation of:

1.  Sentence Writing  (Subjects, Predicates, Fragments, Complete Sentences, Run-Ons, Compound Sentences) – Assess progress and have students record their scores on a tracking form.

2.  Paragraph Writing (Topic Sentences, Relevant Details, Clinchers, Hamburger Model) – Assess their progress and have students record their scores on a tracking form.

The rest of the lessons follow a 6-Step Writing Process:

3.  Writing Process  (Prewriting, Rough Draft, D.A.R.E. to Revise, C.U.P.S. to Edit, Peer Reflection, Final Copy)

What are D.A.R.E. and C.U.P.S.?
D.A.R.E. – Delete, Add, Rearrange, Exchange
C.U.P.S. – Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling

The following posters are free in my store.  There is a primary version too!

steps to writing

4.  Narrative Writing Mini-Lessons
It is important to teach all of the mini-lessons with the first writing prompt.  It will take several weeks to write this first essay, but it will be worth it in the end!  If your district is adamant about starting with Opinion Writing, that is ok!  This program is flexible.  Although I found it easier to start with Narrative Writing (then build in the opinion and informative elements afterwards), you can start with any type of writing.

Start by introducing the prompt.  Each day you will teach a mini-lesson.  Provide a poster or anchor chart for students to see that skill.  Share a mentor text and model each skill by writing a class essay.  Then students take what they learned and apply it to their own writing for the prompt.  Only allow students to work on that particular lesson for their story.  Many students want to hurry and finish, but don’t let them move on!  I recommend staying in this order so there won’t be confusion in later lessons.

a.   Narrative Elements-Hand out a checklist!
b.  Prewriting-Brainstorming
c.  Task, Audience, Purpose
d.  Graphic Organizers
e.  Introduction (Character, Setting, Plot)
f.  Body (Power of 3, Suspense, Climax)
g.  Character Traits-Developing Character
h.  Dialogue
i.   Conclusions
j.  Rough Draft
k.  D.A.R.E. to Revise
l.  Delete
m. Add (Transition Words)
n.  Add (Million Dollar Words)-can also use with exchange.
o.  Rearrange
p.  Exchange (Sentence Variety)
q.  Exchange (Jammin Conclusions)
r.  Exchange (Crafty Title)
s.  C.U.P.S.
t.  Capitalization
u.  Usage
v.  Punctuation
w.  Spelling
x.  Peer Reflection
y.   Final Copy

Examples of the interactive lessons:















For each mini-lesson:

1.  Students should add the notes to their writing notebooks using interactive pages.  If you are short for time, you can skip the interactive part of the lesson.  Although it can be timely, interactive notebooks have proven to be a motivational tool!

2.  Create a class story and MODEL each mini-lesson with the story.  Include student input!  Don’t skip this step.  Modeling is a powerful tool in writing!  (Model lessons are provided for you in the program!)

3.  Students brainstorm ideas for their story using the mini-lesson and add the ideas to their notebooks.  Allow them to collaborate in groups.

4.  Students add these ideas to their graphic organizer and/or rough draft depending on the lesson.

5.  Share some student examples with the class.

Once finished with the first essay:

Have students take ownership of their learning by tracking their progress!   After you grade their writing with a 3-point, 4-point, or 5-point rubric of the individual mini-lessons, have students record it on a tracking form.  Then they should create a goal for the next assignment!

5.  Opinion or Argumentative Writing Mini-Lessons

Once you start the second essay, some of the mini-lessons won’t take as long. They will be review or  a different spin will be added for the new type of writing.  For C.U.P.S., only go back and review the lessons that your students need more practice.

a.  Opinion or Argumentative Elements-Hand out a checklist!
b.  Prewriting-Brainstorming
c.  Task, Audience, Purpose
d.  Graphic Organizers
e.  Strengthen Opinions or Arguments
f.  Introduction
g.  Body (Power of 3, facts and details)
h.  Conclusions
i.  Rough Draft
j.  D.A.R.E. to Revise
k.  Delete
l.  Add (Transition Words)
m. Add (Supporting Details)
n.  Rearrange
o.  Exchange (Sentence Variety)
p.  Exchange (Jammin Conclusions)
q.  Exchange (Crafty Title)
r.   C.U.P.S. (Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling)
s.  Peer Reflection-make sure the peer looks at the goals set for this writing!
t.   Final Copy

Have students review their goals and track their progress!  Then create a new goal for the next writing piece!

6.  Informative Writing Mini Lessons

a.   Informative Elements-Hand out a checklist!
b.  Prewriting-Brainstorming
c.  Task, Audience, Purpose
d.  Graphic Organizers
e.  Plagiarism
f.  Taking Notes and Citing Sources
g.  Introduction
h.  Body (Power of 3, Vocabulary)
i.   Conclusions
j.  Rough Draft
k.  D.A.R.E. to Revise
l.  Delete
m.  Add (Transition Words)
n.  Add (Supporting Details)
o.  Rearrange
p.  Exchange (Sentence Variety)
q.  Exchange (Jammin Conclusions)
r.  Exchange (Crafty Title)
s.  C.U.P.S. (Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling)
t.  Graphics/Headings/Captions
u.  Peer Reflection-make sure the peer looks at the goals set for this writing!
v.   Final Copy
w.  Glossary
x.  Sources
y.  Table of Contents

Have students review their goals and track their progress!

I hope this gives you a great idea on how to get your students motivated to write!  Be ready to see your students excited about writing and PASS THAT TEST with flying colors!

If interested in having all of the work done for you, find your grade level below.  I combined a 3-5 and 6-8 program for those who teach more than one grade level or didn’t want Common Core Standards written on the slides!  Remember:  All of the student resources, posters, anchor charts, tracking forms, interactive pages, homework, modeling, practice pages, etc etc is included.   I also provide FUN AND MOTIVATIONAL activities with many of the lessons to keep your students excited.  You got this!

Look no further!  It is all here!


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