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Coaching writers


This is an interactive lesson for students to pair and share their work while giving and receiving constructive feedback. Students will write quickly and receive feedback to put to immediate use.


  • Students will be able to improve writing with coaching techniques.
  • Students will be able to outline a story idea.
  • Students will be able to brainstorm story ideas.
  • Students will be able to pitch story ideas and vet them.
  • Students will be able to write a complete story.

 Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3a Write and edit work so that it conforms to the guidelines in a style manual (e.g., MLA Handbook, Turabian’s Manual for Writers) appropriate for the discipline and writing type.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.


50 minutes


Slideshow: Coaching Writers

Handout: Column Rubric

Handout: Column Critique

Timer with a buzzer

Lesson step-by-step

1. Introduction — 10 minutes

Use Slides 1-4 from the slideshow to introduce the concept of coaching, offering ideas to keep in mind during the process. Assign partner groups. If the class has an odd number, form a partner pair with a student.

2. Brainstorm — 3 minutes

Based on Slide 2, brainstorm two ideas that could be written into a column. (A column works best so that students can write without waiting to complete interviews.) Set the timer for 2 minutes. The timer buzzer is an important part of this lesson to keep students on a fast-paced lesson with real results.

3. Practice — 6 minutes

Based on Slide 6, instruct one of the pair to present their ideas. The other partner plays the role of coach. The coach may ask questions but never express a choice. Set the timer for 2 minutes. Switch roles and set the timer again.

4. Planning — 3 minutes

Use Slide 7 to initiate planning. Each student decides which column he/she will write. Develop an outline for the column. Set the timer for 2 minutes.

5. Group work — 5 minutes

As indicated on Slide 8, continue by having one student present his/her outline. The coach again asks questions within the time limit. Switch and repeat.

6. Practice — 3 minutes

Based on Slide 9, provide 5 minutes for students to write, following their outlines and writing as much as possible. Use the timer again to stick to the exact time frame.

7. Sharing — 9 minutes

Use Slide 10. In each group, the writer reads his/her story aloud to the coach. The coach again asks questions but also makes observations at this point. Switch roles and repeat, using the timer to track the time available.

8. Reflection — 11 minutes

Based on Slide 11, use the remaining time to reflect on the process. Students are usually amazed how much writing they accomplished and its quality. Use a written reflection (such as a journal entry or exit ticket) for a formative assessment. Evaluate the finished column for a summative assessment.