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Teaching Narr Writing K-8 [EDUC7547.03 2020U] is a Course

Teaching Narr Writing K-8 [EDUC7547.03 2020U]

Ended Jun 30, 2020

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Full course description

Course Series: Teaching the Genres of Writing to K-8 students

Series Description

Using a genre-based pedagogy with strong emphasis on language development, participants will learn what and how to teach writing.  The approach has been developed and tested for over 10 years in multiple elementary and K- 8 schools. The content has been distributed among 3 one-credit courses each focusing on a set of genres.

Maximum enrollment per course: 20 participants. An additional section will be open when the first one reaches maximum enrollment.

EDUC 7547 - Teaching Narrative Writing To K-8 Students

(15 PDPs)

This is a project-based course where groups of participants will collaborate to develop a writing unit in a genre appropriate for their grade level.  Using a genre-based pedagogy informed by systemic functional linguistics, participants will learn what and how to teach non-fiction narratives (Personal and procedural recounts, autobiographies, biographies, empathetic autobiographies, and historical recounts) and fictional narratives.  Features of the genres demanded in elementary and middle schools will be learned and practiced. The strong emphasis on language development distinguishes this approach from others currently used in schools. The approach to teaching guides teachers in ways of apprenticing students to writing that builds confidence and success.

Course Schedule, Time Commitment and Activities
(June 2 - June 30, 2020)

The course will run five weeks and requires approximately 4 hours of weekly activities that are both done asynchronous (at your own pace) and done synchronous (live with the class and instructor). 

  • Approximately 2 hours engaging in weekly modules that include lectures, interviews and looking at student work. 

  • Weekly 1 hour live sessions from 7:30 - 8:30 pm EST 6/2/20; 6/9/20; 6/16/20; 6/23/20 and 6/30/20.

  • Readings and assignments completed on a weekly basis. 

There will be a variety of activities to facilitate acquiring the content of the course such as short lectures, readings and discussions. In addition, teachers will share how they implemented the unit with videos applying the approach in their classrooms, work with mentor texts and student work and affinity groups collaborations toward creating genre units. During live sessions students will have the opportunity to share experiences, answer questions, and clarify challenges.



  1. Please enroll via the "$400 Enroll" button (above) if:

    • You are paying for an individual enrollment via credit card
    • You have paid for this course some other way and been given a promo code

    Please note that in order to register you will be asked to create an account for Boston College with a username and password if you do not already have one. 

  1. After registering, please send an email to with the following information:

    • Name
    • Email
    • School and grade level


  1. Confirm and accept registration via the email from (Canvas Catalog at Boston College) which you will receive once you’ve registered. Email will be sent to the address you used to create account

If you are using a Lynch School Voucher:
Voucher participants - To take this course as a non-degree student and receive 1 graduate credit please click here


Purchase Order payments are possible.  Please contact Jean McDonald to arrange payment at or 617-552-2226.

Overall questions about the course can be directed to Elizabeth MacDonald:


Course Facilitator

Tracy Hodgson-Drysdale has taught in various capacities over a twenty-year period, including five years working as an elementary generalist, six as a reading specialist, and thirteen as an instructor teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy, bilingualism, and systemic functional linguistics (SFL). She has worked with Dr. Maria Estela Brisk since 2008 as her teaching assistant and research assistant, and they also presented at conferences and collaborated on articles. Tracy currently teaches online courses at Boston College and Lesley University, and in-person at both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University in Canada. She lived in Salem, MA for 13 years. She currently lives in Canada.

Course Designer

Maria Estela Brisk is a Professor of Education at the Teacher Education, Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction Department, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.  She received her Ph. D. in linguistics and bilingual education at the University of New Mexico in 1972. Her research and teacher-training interests include elementary students’ writing development, bilingual education, bilingual language and literacy acquisition, methods of teaching literacy, and preparation of mainstream teachers to work with bilingual learners.  She is the author of numerous articles and books.

For the past 12 years Dr. Brisk has worked closely with K-8 schools to develop a genre-based writing program for their schools, preparing teachers and researching children’s writing development. Her book Engaging Students in Academic Literacies: Genre-based Pedagogy for K-5 Classrooms features the approach to teaching writing that emerged from the work in schools.  The approach has been helpful for all students including bilingual learners.

Professor Brisk, native of Argentina, is a fluent Spanish speaker.