February 1, 2013

Writing for Dummies {Part 2}

If you read my last blog post about writing {Writing for Dummies...AKA Me} you would know that...
A) I despise teaching it 
 B) It was one of my resolutions this year to become better at teaching it 

Well after my first successful go around teaching stories, and my students second successful attempt at writing their own independent stories, I can say that statement A has changed!  My outlook on teaching writing is changing day by day.  I am actually looking forward to it and am making it a priority in my classroom. (I notice I sound proud...and I am!)

This six weeks we are focusing on writing 'how-to' papers. I was so caught up in my new found 'writing teacher' inside me that I went how-to crazy and made a whole packet devoted to writing them (in hopes of keeping up this new writing trend!). 

In this packet there are 11 different writing prompts (general and seasonal) and 4 graphic organizers/templates for each prompt.
It is on sale now in my TPT store! Just click on the picture above.

This week we put the wheels into motion.  I tried to pick the easiest and most relate-able idea I could think of in order for my firsties to get a "grip" on this new writing process.  So, we went with "How-to Make a PB&J Sandwich."

We spent 1 day on each of the 4 different templates for this prompt.

Day 1: We brainstormed the things we would need to make the sandwich.
Day 2: We drew picture of the steps we would take to make the sandwich.
Day 3: I actually brought the ingredients and had them  walk me through the steps.

This really helped them to see that they had to add details and specifically write out the steps. For example, they told me to put the peanut butter and jelly on the bread. So I did just that...put a scoop of each and plopped it on the bread.  As, I went to put the slices together all I hear is "NOOOO! You have to spread it out first!"  I then went on to tell them...all they told me to do was "put" it on the bread....blah, blah, blah, you get the point.

Day 4:  We added an opening sentence and closing sentence to our steps and copied them all onto the lined template.
Day 5: Another teacher on my team came up with this cutsie idea to make a book shaped like a sandwich with purple and tan paper....I was SOLD!

Our final product!

This system was so easy for them to work with as it walked them through the motions step by step. I can't wait to let them be a little more independent next week when we tackle our next how-to writing!

Let me know what you think! Is there a way of teaching writing that you just couldn't do without?? If so, I would love to hear about it!

Since you have listen to me ramble on...I am giving away 2 of my How-to Writing pack to the first 2 people to leave me some love. Ready....GO!


  1. LOVE it!!! Glad to know you and I share a loathe/love of teaching writing! Looking outside the "Lucy" box has really helped me to enjoy it more. Love your How-To packet! I definitely found that we really had to complete the task before we could write about it. We tried a "How to Blow a Bubble" and with the help of some actual gum my kiddos really nailed it!
    Colleen :-)
    Fun and Fearless in First

  2. It is my first year teaching and I ALWAYS feel like I am failing in the subject of writing!! It's so difficult sometimes to find lessons that meet the needs of all of them. This lesson looks so fun! I think I will try it out.. I love that they were able to really see how important adding details is!!

  3. I always do "How to Brush Teeth" and we follow the directions that the kids have written. It's hilarious and they love it. It's a good way to practice brushing teeth, too.