Primary Chalkboard: writing
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Writing Workshop Tips

Are you looking to begin or tweak Writing Workshop in your classroom?

Writing Workshop has been a important and delightful part of my classroom for over ten years. My students and I absolutely adore writing workshop! Yet - I'm still in a constant state of refinement.

Here are some tried and true tips for what has worked well over the years, regardless of the writing curriculum I was using...Let me know which tips you find most helpful!

Growing Firsties - writers workshop tips

Make sure to pin this post so you can come easily back to it when you want to add more layers to your workshop or have more questions.

Heads up - this is a MONSTER BIG post! Took me over two three months to write (#reallifefirst #thenbloglife) and there's SO much more I could say about each tip. #teachingiscomplex #whichiswhyiloveit #mostdays #somedaysijustwantjammies

Here we go...

Growing Firsties
(There are some affiliate links in this post.)

This one's a big deal that can have a big impact...
All writers need to feel successful. As a teacher who ditched the deficit model decades ago, I am eagerly on the hunt for positive, genuine ways to compliment each writer as often as I can. Not only is this kind and humane, it respects the writer's developmental stage and builds on his/her strengths. And they ALL have strengths.

In an effort to be strategic...
Compliment based on your teaching points...and do it in a loud-ish's another opportunity to reinforce what you're teaching. will benefit all who overhear it.

In order to feel more genuine, your compliments will often sound like "noticings."

If your mini-lessons are about including introductions, your compliments (noticings) might sound like...

"I notice you introduced your piece with a question!"

"You're trying out a sound effect in your introduction!"

If your mini-lessons have been about improving writing stamina, your compliments might sound like...

"Check out the way you're really sticking to it today! You're not letting anything distract you from your important writing work!"

"Wow! I noticed that you turned your body away from your friend so that you could stay on track with your work. Powerful decision!"

If your mini-lessons have been about editing, your compliments (noticings) might sound like...

"Look at you, going to town, editing your piece for punctuation!"

"I see you edited for using capital letters only for names and at the beginning of sentences!"

For 11 more tips, pop on over to this Growing Firsties post!

Tips, Tools and Routines that Encourage Independence During Writing Workshop

Happy Monday & Presidents' Day! Mondays at home are the best, right?!!

Today, I am talking about Writing Workshop and how to avoid teacher burnout (as well as, retain your sanity). Nothing can make a teacher more crazy than a room full of second graders demanding help, feedback, praise, and encouragement during each step of the writing process.  Am I right?

Click on the image below to find out how to encourage independence, and problem-solving routines and practices that will lead your students to becoming self-managing, confident writers.


Family Response Journals - Reading, Writing, and Memories

Hi, Friends!  This is Autumn from The Primary Techie.  I am always excited to blog for the Primary Chalkboard.  Today I am going to share one of my favorite reading and writing tools: Family Response Journals.  These journals are for parents and kids to write letters back and forth.

I got this idea from my daughter's first grade teacher many years ago.  I absolutely loved writing her letters and knowing that she would get to read them during her school day.  My daughter is 16 now and I still have that journal.  It is one of my most treasured keepsakes because it is a record of our relationship and what was happening during that time in our lives.  I have done Family Response Journals with my first graders for the past eleven years.  Here are some of the tips and tricks I have learned to make them successful.

In the beginning of the year, we brainstorm a letter that we can all write about - "Dear Mom,  We are learning about bugs.  My favorite bug is a _______________.  What is your favorite bug?  Love, ________."  If kids can or want to write independently, they are encouraged to do so.  I write the "generic" letter on the board for beginning writers to copy.  After Christmas, I no longer model a letter on the board.  I just wander around and help students as needed.  We write in our journals on Monday.  Parents have all week to write back before sending them back to school on Friday.

Kids LOVE to get letters back from their parents!  Here are some tips I always share with my parents:
  • If you don't send the journals, they can't do it!  This is a really fun way to encourage reading and writing.  PLEASE write back to your child and send journals back to school! 
  • Remember that this is being read by a beginning reader!  Use your NICEST printing.  The kids gain reading practice with this activity.  Cursive makes this impossible with little guys.
  • Kids should write to someone in their house, so they can write back.  Sometimes my journals are missing for weeks because a student decided to write to his grandma and left the journal at her house. 

 To make the journals, I print covers on colored paper and laminate.  The back cover has a word bank with words kids commonly use in their journals.  I have two types of pages for the inside - primary lined for the kids to use and regular lines for parents.  I print kid lines on the front and parent lines on the back.  My journals have 34 pages in them.  We are usually done with them a couple weeks before school gets out.  I find this nice because the end of the year can be hectic and it is nice to have something DONE.  I use a binding machine to bind the book and E6000 to glue the binding comb shut.

These make great end of the year keepsakes.  They take about 20-30 minutes a week, but are wonderful reading and writing practice.

Click here to download journal pages for FREE!

Thanks for reading, Friends!  Until next time,

Integrated Learning for Deep Understanding

Hello again everyone!
It's Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching and today I'm sharing ways implement an integrated learning approach in your classroom.

There's a lot of attention on integrated learning as many schools are moving away from the traditional "single subject blocks" model, to a multi-subject, project-based model. 

Here's a quick video from Edutopia to explain the benefits of this approach for deeper learning.

Click for Introduction Video

 Project-based learning is perfect for this kind of approach because within each project there are multiple problems to solve, drawing from knowledge in various subject areas.

Our school had adopted Genius Hour as another way to facilitate project-based integrated learning. With this model, students spend 20% of their school time working on a project based on their own interests.

Click for introduction video

However, you don't have to adopt a whole new program or educational movement - you can simply choose projects that focus on more than one subject at time. 
Here are a few small ways to start, and some free activities to try:

1. Integrating Literature and Math

Any form of literature can be used as a springboard to math. I tell students "Did you know there are math problems hiding within every story? They are there - and it's our job to find them!"
For example, after reading the story of the Three Little Pigs, generate math questions for the class to solve. 
Invite students to do the same once they get the idea. 
Adapt the questions to your students' level.

*If each little pig had one cookie, how many cookies would they have altogether? 1+1+1=3

*If each little pig had 3 cookies, how many cookies would they have altogether? 3+3+3=9 or 3x2=9.

*Why didn't the brick house fall down? 

The advantages of inviting this sort of thinking: 

-It reinforces the idea that math is meaningful and useful in daily life.

- It creates a habit of looking for math outside of math time, which means more practice outside of the classroom.

- It’s a wonderful way to challenge those higher level thinkers, since they are learning to generate their own questions.

-It’s involves questions that are student-generated, which leads to more overall engagement, especially in small group challenges.

Grab this free template to use with younger students to create and solve story problems:

2. Integrating Drawing & Writing

 Traditionally students write journal entries or stories, and then illustrate later -- but we flip that idea and draw first! 

Once they've finished drawing, they are so motivated to write - because they are writing about their own adorable creations. Start with a topic such as "Draw yourself as a super-hero". 
Once the pictures are done, it's time to describe  super powers or amazing adventures! 

With younger students I use step-by-step drawing templates, such as the ones below.
You can try it yourself with these free templates.

3. Integrating Math and Writing

Another way we build pictures to write about: using dice games; this integrates art, writing and math.
In the example below, students roll dice and draw parts of a monster as directed. Roll to see which head to start with, then roll again for eyes, nose, mouth and ears. I would challenge older students to create their own templates.

The monsters always turn out different, and we can change the math rule (ie. double the number or triple the number, etc.) to challenge advanced students. You can make your own template, or grab this free game HERE in the preview for the set. Once the monster is created, students are motivated to write about it on differentiated templates!

 As with Genius Hour projects, students are eager to participate actively in their own learning because it is personal and FUN.

4. Tech and Reading
 Shared Reading with EPIC online

One more tip that has been a game-changer in terms of integrating technology into my daily Shared Reading time: EPIC Childrens Literature collection online. 
This is a favorite in my class because of the popular choices, and students are learning computer skills while they read.  You can make a free teacher account and let students explore the fantastic collection; click here to take a look.   

Let's Connect!

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Take a look at the other great posts from this month!

Stamp a Story: A Fun Writing Activity

When I taught first grade, my students LOVD making sticker stories (click here for that old post) and they loved to "stamp a story." I usually used this as a writing center or early finisher activity. This takes a little more bravery on your part. Let's be honest, ink is a pain. If you leave it open, it dries out. If kids get over excited, their is ink all over their hands, clothes and paper. Yikes. But let's get serious here. If it gets them writing, then I'm all for it! 

The Easter Bunny brought stamp-a-story into our house this year and reminded me how fun it is. Thank you Amazon! (Side note: These little stamps solve a lot of the problems with the big mess because there isn't a separate ink pad that can attract little fingers and smear all over. Wishing I had these when I taught first grade!) 

After Shawn made a few random pictures with stamps (by random I mean as many stamps on a page as he can fit,) I suggested we make a story with the stamps. First, I set the stamps up so we could see the picture. We talked about which stamps could be characters and which stamps could be part of the scenery. Then we brainstormed different ideas for stories with these characters. I asked simple questions like, Where are your characters? What are they doing? 

Before he started stamping, we also talked about what the scene would look like. I told him this is going to be like a picture, similar to if he were to draw it. We started with the grass, then added in flowers and animals. Last, he added in the butterflies and dragonflies. 

Finally, he was ready to do his writing: 

Keep in mind he is a kindergartener. A first grade student may choose to add more detail to their story. (I would add a back page of lines for a first grader.) After writing this, he said he wanted his next one to be all about forest animals in spring. Informational writing... BOOM!

Here are my tips for the classroom when using this as a center:

Where do you find stamps? Amazon baby! 
The top row are all little stamps. The benefits are that they are not as messy and you don't have to purchase a separate ink pad. The negative is that they run out of ink faster and you are stuck with the color they give you BUT you can always use an ink pad with these little stamps after they run out. The bottom row are bigger and you can choose the color based on the ink pad you choose. They are slightly more expensive, but not too bad. They are easy to use when creating a scene though. :) 

Click on the picture to download the links to these stamps. 

To get started, download this template by clicking here or on the picture below.

If you have any additional tips, I'd love to hear them! Share your tips or experiences in the comments. :) 

Visit me at my blog: 

Common Core Writing Rubrics

Aloha everyone! It's Corinna from Surfin' Through Second. I hope the New Year is rolling right along for you and your class.

Today I wanted to share some Writing Rubrics for 2nd grade.

Last year I attended a workshop where we sat down and broke apart the 
Common Core standards at 2nd grade for each writing strand.

If you would like more details on the process you can check out my full post {HERE}.

It was a long process, but great to really understand what to look for in a student's writing.

Each rubric is broken down into 5 areas -Introduction, Development/Evidence, Conclusion, Organization and Language Skills (which apply to each strand). Click on the pictures to download each rubric.

I have an editable version that you can grab on Google Docs---> {HERE}

These are a great starting point and you can easily adapt and make kids friendly versions for your classroom.

I hope you find these helpful!  

Day 22 Advent Fun: It's a Marshmallow World in the Classroom!

Hi friends! It's Christina from Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice! I'm here today for Day 22 of our Advent Fun Christmas Calendar!  I have a fun, hands on winter freebie to share with you!

This is a writing activity that is perfectly designed to integrate science engineering and the Common Core writing standards!  You can use this anytime this winter.  I think it would be perfect to use for a Fun Friday activity or on a winter day when you want to mix things up a bit for your writing and science block! :)

As you know, the week before winter break can be a little chaotic! My kids had a ton of energy and I knew I needed to channel that in a productive way!  We made little "snow houses" out of marshmallows and toothpicks and turned it into a science engineering and writing activity!  I put my kids into groups of 5 and gave them only 20 minutes to construct their "snow house."  Take a look at some of their awesome creations:

After we made our creations, we wrote about them, of course!!  
I included many writing prompts that you can use with this project. There is an informational prompt, narrative prompts, as well as an opinion prompt that you can choose from!

Click HERE to download this freebie from my TpT store. 
Or click the pictures below!

I hope you enjoy this Winter Wonderland FREEBIE!

Happy Learning and Happy Holidays!

Christina :)

December Writing Freebies

Hi Friends!!! It's Latoya of Flying into First Grade!!!

I am here to bring you some writing ideas for the month of December!!!
These are great freebies that can be used to practice many types of writing during the holiday season.





Happy Holidays!!!