Writing in the Classroom

I have had many many people ask me to do a post about writing in my classroom. While I do not feel qualified to tell others what the best practices are for the classroom, I will definitely share what I do in my room! It works for my kids, and they LOVE to write! So hang with me…this may be a lengthy post! I hope you enjoy the ideas! Children need to start from Day 1 writing. Writing can come in many forms, it doesn’t always have to be journal writing. I encourage note writing, journal writing, letter writing, typing, poem writing, story writing, song writing, ETC! 🙂 Just get the kids writing!

The first week of school, I usually just focus on writing about feelings for the first day of school! The First Day Jitters is great to get them writing. Here is a great link for some questions and a great response to have your students work on; I do it every year and they love it! It’s always great to bring in literature to your students writing.

I won’t take you week by week through my writing but I will list some great writing things I do in the classroom that the kids enjoy! Let your students be creative and come up with ideas on their own! However, for the first part of the year…students sometimes need a little help! So…here are some prompts I use in my stations and in the classroom. I keep them in a notebook with the below picture as the cover! Cute, organized and easy to run off for the students!

Also I use this Journal Prompt Jar:
I created my own journal prompts on the sticks. Very simple! The students can draw one out if they are having trouble thinking of a topic or if they just want a new topic. You would be surprised though at how many students will think of great ideas on their own! (Encourage That!)

My students write every day, multiple times. They respond to reading, they write journal entries, and they work on writing during station time (when it is their day for the writing station.) But for writing instruction time (after a teach a lesson) my students work on “seed topics” which are just small topics. For example…I hit my brother in the face with a snowball. They write only a few sentences about it. Then we do another seed topic, then another, then another. Our journals are full of them; from there, the students choose one to expand on; this is the piece they take through the entire writing process! Conferencing is a huge part of that process. I want to know where my students are in their process and how I can help! I use these conference sheets:

They work great for the students and they are super easy for me to use as the teacher!

Writing for students needs to be enjoyable, and risk free. They students have to know they can make mistakes. (Mistakes are ALWAYS okay, but we want to learn from them!) Spelling is a huge deal in my classroom. My students have such a hard time with spelling…so after spending weeks spelling things out loud to students…I finally realized they need to SEE the word spelled correctly! So, how did I fix this?? POST-ITS!!

No more…

Teacher: “aquarium? a….q….u…”

Student: “a….what??”

Teacher: (sighs) “a…q…” Yeah…you get the point.

Students need to learn to use dictionaries, but we work on that in 3rd grade! I do not however want them jammed up on looking things up in a dictionary when I am giving them 10 minutes to write. 🙂 However, if you allow kids to spell however they want…they will continue to do so! The kids will ask me how to spell a word, I write it on a post it, stick it on their desk; they write it in their story, then stick the post it in the back of their journal! The students love collecting words, and they refer back to them later! 🙂 (This is for hard words…not words such as “went” or “then” more like…”aquarium.” 🙂 I love using this in my classroom–the kids get excited about spelling things correctly!

(Oh and they love to share the word when I friend has trouble with the same word…very handy around HALLOWEEN! 🙂

Something New for this Year: As you have probably seen in my last post, I am going to do Whole Class Journals as well this year. I’m excited about this! The students will work on these when they are finished with work or have extra time! The students can also read them!!

Which brings me to my last point–SHARE SHARE SHARE! Have your students share daily!! (If they want.) I never make my students, but I encourage it. Students can share to a partner or in front of the class! Regardless, it’s great to have them share their fabulous work! (Then of course cheer for them!)

Writing may seem simple, but it should be a very important part of your students day! Make it fun, and make it often! Stay involved in it, and be interested! Everyone has a story they want to share! 🙂