Ideas For Teaching Writing

Parts of Speech Lesson Plans

Here are some fun ways to reinforce Parts of Speech skills in your classroom:

1. Do the Verb Tense Shuffle Dance!

2. Verb and Adjective Pictionary.

3. How many, what kind, or which Adjective Bingo.

4. Adjective or Adverb Lightening Cards.

5. Everyone loves Mad Libs.

6. Parts of Speech Scavenger Hunt.

7. Use our Grammar Wheel Lesson.

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Tips For Teaching Handwriting

1. Work on hand-eye coordination with craft projects.

2. Work on skills one at a time. Letter Height, Spacing, Slants, and Line Alignment.

3. Once all skills are mastered begin to group skills together.

4. Use high-frequency words and words that have meaning to students.

5. Provide parents with a handwriting guide. Handwriting Tips for Lefties:

6. Position the paper to the extreme left of the child's mid-line.

7. Angle the paper so that it is parallel with the child's forearm

8. Put masking tape on their desks to help them align the paper.

Teaching Idea

"Creating Photo Essays"
Kim L., High School Language Arts: Hackensack, NJ

"Photo essays are a special type of writing; they tell stories with a group of photographs that are connected to a theme. One activity using photo essays as a type of writing includes having students pick a topic (in any content area) that they would like to "write" about. Tell them that they have to collect photographs or pictures that represent the topic. Once they have their collections and you gave them a chance to discuss the relevance of the photos to the topic, ask them to arrange the photos in such a way (sequentially, etc.) that tell a story or relay the message related to the topic they chose. Students love to express their thoughts about topics using this medium. If you have technology to complete this activity, you can have students cut and paste their story using photos or images that they find on the Internet. This is a great activity for group work."

Teaching Idea

"How to Make a Big Book"
Sean, Primary Grade Teacher: Pittsburgh, PA

"Pick a book with illustration, short story, rhyme, song, or poem to enlarge. Have materials like large pieces of paper or posterboard, plenty of crayons, markers, paints, or other art materials. Divide the text of the writing leaving half of the page for the illustrations (can be copied or done freehand by the children). Include an author page, illustrations, and copyright information (date, year, etc.). Have the children design a cover; put the pages in sequence; bind the book together with metal or plastic rings, yarn, or other binding materials."

Teaching Idea

"Creating A Story In Sequential Order"
Barbara Lawrence, Senior Teacher

"The teacher gives the students a paragraph to get the story started and pupils add their sentences alternately. It's great fun building a short story with students. After story building, students can create illustrations based on the short story."

Teaching Idea

"Daily Journal Writing"
Sandy Scarborough: Teacher, Grade 2

"My kids write in their journals the first thing each morning. After a few weeks of teacher-selected topics, I began to solicit ideas from my students. This has generated a lot of enthusiasm for writing. I gave each of my 22 students a plain index card and told them to think of a topic and write it on the card. The cards are placed in a small pocket chart in a stack. Each morning when we come in, I pick a card from the stack and write the journal topic of the day on the board. Students write about the topic (if they want, they also have the option of choosing a different topic, especially if they aren't familiar with the idea.) My students share their writing in class, with the child who submitted the day's topic going first. They have really enjoyed doing this, and have learned how to pick appropriate kinds of topics for writing. They've also learned about lots of different concepts from the various topics. Students are asked to choose a topic about once a month, and they look forward to thinking of something that nobody else had thought of."

Teaching Idea

"Spelling Twist"
Lynda O'Brien, Educator/Administrator

"Looking for a fun, new twist for studying spelling words. This one worked for me. Each child will say each spelling word, spell it then say it again while doing the twist. This process is repeated 3 times for each word. Some of the boys preferred to do Karate moves instead of the Twist. This sets a rhythm to the words as well as makes for a fun and exercising way to study the words. The class had so much fun it was no suprise that spelling test grades increased. We had a class vote on this being included in our weekly spelling curriculum, 100% voted in favor"

Teaching Idea

"Marble Words"
Miss Erica Flores, 3rd Grade Teacher

"We all try getting our students to use "bigger words," but I found this idea that really worked with my class this year. Students are allowed to take dictionaries home if they check them out from me. They can look up words, find their definition, try to find examples or pictures, etc., and then come and teach our class these new words. They have to be able to use it in a sentence too. Each time they share a new word, I place a big marble in a big jar. Students are allowed to make posters or explain the word in any way. I help them out at times and use the overhead, or students grab their own dictionaries. As they creatively use their new words correctly in their writing, I add a small marble into the jar. We often find synonyms and antonyms to everyday words. Once the class fills the jar with "marble words," we have an all-day reading campout, where we make smores, etc., and write how-to essays on what we make that day. They really enjoy it!"

Teaching Idea

"A Class Newspaper: Using PrintShop Premier 5 to Promote Creative Writing"
Miriam Grech, Teacher

Nearly every teacher finds it hard to encourage children to write creatively. The idea of creating a class newspaper with their own creative writings helped children not only to write creatively but to engage fully in the writing process (drafting, editing etc.) and to learn more about newspapers.

The children did create themselves a class newspaper.

Teaching Idea

"How does it end?"
Janine T., 5th Grade Teacher

"If I find that I finish my lessons early, I always do a creative writing activity with my students. When in doubt, I also do a finish the story activity. I have a few books of interesting short stories. I read a story aloud to the class until I reach the climax portion of the story. I then have students complete the stories on their own. Every student shares their story and we pick a winner. The winner receive a reward. This activity makes for a great deal of fun and really gets them thinking. It's wonderful to see all of that creativity!"

Teaching Idea

"Creating A Story In Sequential Order"
Barbara Lawrence, Senior Teacher

"The teacher gives the students a paragraph to get the story started and pupils add their sentences alternately. It's great fun building a short story with students. After story building, students can create illustrations based on the short story."

Teaching Idea

"Create An Author's Corner"
Lydia, Inclusion Teacher: Newark, NJ

"Set up a table that becomes the 'Author's Corner' in your room. This table should be filled with different colored paper with lines, without lines. Construction paper should be available, colored pencils or washable markers. There could be pieces of material, string, feathers, anything that will provoke creativity in the students. This is the place where the students become "authors" and write books. For the younger student, a form paper can be displayed with Title, Author, Illustrator. They can fill in the blanks. A dedication page can be prepared. Again, the students can fill in the blanks. There can be an idea box to motivate students. Maybe some starter sentences. Anything that encourages children to write. The book can be 2 pages or 5 pages. The length is not important. A love for writing is the reason for this corner. Ask the students what else should be on the table. They have great ideas!"

Teaching Idea

"Getting To Know Authors"
Ellen, Primary Grade Teacher: Circleville, NY

"Each month 'feature' an author in your room. You can post a picture of an author or print the author's name and display it in a corner of your room. Also display the author's books. You can tell the students about the life of the author. Make this person real to the children. You focus on this author's writings for 2 weeks. Read the author's books and displays them in this corner. Students can look for more works of this author when they go to the library. You can help the students to find common themes in the books, pictures that the author likes in the books, common characters, etc. Students begin to develop a preference for reading works by particular authors."

Teaching Idea

"Ways to Share Students' Writing"
Joanne, 3rd-4th Grade Teacher: Fargo, North Dakota

"When students share their writing, they begin to think of themselves as authors and it validates their thoughts. Ways that students can share their writing include; reading alound in class; submit their work to writing contests; make a big book; read at a school assembly; read to foster grandparents; read the writing on a cassette tape or produce a video tape; design a poster; make a hardbound book and display it in the school library; contribute to a local newspaper; share in the form of a puppet show; through class anthologies. Writing can be shared to large audiences or small groups or one-on-one."

Teaching Idea

"Always Use the Writing Process"
Eric, Elementary School Teacher: Sydney, Australia

"Always use 5 steps to writing when asking children to complete a writing assignment. Start with Pre-Writing; get the students to gather ideas for writing on any given topic from experience, past knowledge and having the time to talk about the topic. The second step involves Drafting; students begin to write what they think is importatn and that should be included. Step three is Revising; students check the draft and decide what stays and what goes. Fourth is Editing; students check for spelling, punctuation; and other mechanical considerations. The final copy is then prepared. The fifth and final step is Publication; students share their writing with an audience of choice. Following the five steps will help students to write more effectively and appreciate what they produce."

Teaching Idea

"Journal Writing"
Barbara, 5th Grade Teacher: Columbus, Ohio

"A good way to reinforce writing is to require that students write in journals. I do this with all my students especially after lessons that require reflections on the topics we covered. It gets students to think about what we talked about and it gets them to unleash their ideas about the topic in a non-threatening way. I do check the journals because I want to know how students are approaching the topics we learn about in class. It also gives me insight into how much they have processed and to what extent. Journal writing is a good way to get students to write what they are truly thinking."

Teaching Idea

"Poems as Motivators to Write"
Richard Roy, Intermediate Grade Teacher: Denver, CO

"Pick a poem that tells a story or that you know would be of interest to the student population you are teaching. After reading the poem, ask the students what the poem makes them think about. Encourage different lines of thought and perspective by asking probing questions that are designed to help the children elaborate on their thoughts. Then encourage the students to write some of their thoughts evoked by the poem. Explain to them that many poems expressive feelings and that poems can stimulate thoughts and emotions in others."

Teaching Idea

"Journal Writing"
Jonathan, 3rd Grade Teacher: Morristown, NJ

"I assign 10 journal topics every 2 weeks. Topics often require a written response with at least 3 paragraphs. In an attempt to address each form of intellect, I vary the assignments to always include a variety of 3-4 free choice topics. They include a sampling of artistic as well as linguistic, musical and academic activities that hopefully allow those students who are talented in the arts the opportunity to improve, excel, and shine!"

Teaching Idea

"Rainbow Words"
Terry L., Primary Teacher

"Each child chooses one color crayon. Each student has a worksheet. The student writes the first word down on the paper. Each student does this at the same time. Only one color crayon per student. Pass the paper to the right (not the crayon) and trace the word. Pass one more time and do the same thing. When each student receives his or her paper back, write the second word down and repeat the process. Each child will receive his/her paper back with spelling words traced 3 times.....Rainbow words."

Teaching Idea

"Kid Writing"
Isabell Cardonick, Kindergarten Teacher

"To get kindergarten and first grade kids started writing, use the techniques described in the book "Kid Writing". Writing is an important component of balanced literacy. Start by building the children's confidence. Create physical, pedagogical and emotional environments to support their development as writers. In the beginning stages, try to get the kids to write something for every spoken word. The magic line functions as a place holder when the child can't identify any of the letters in the word. One way to support writing is to create crowns for some of the basic, high frequency words that do not have regular phonetic spellings. For example, the star of are, wiz of is, and fuzz of was. For more information, please visit the website. Happy Teaching!"

Teaching Idea

Chris Byron, Teacher

"When reinforcing cursive, I now worry less about quantity and more on quality. I incorporate music by teaching them capoeira songs. They write the chorus and we sing it at the end of the mini lesson. Writing in a language that is unfamiliar means they concentrate on the letter shapes a bit more. The singing at the end is a plus. We've also built up a list of songs we could do if there is a need to refocus the class during transitions or if we're asked for quick assembly performance."

Teaching Idea

Crayola Sentence
Kathy Rodgers, 2nd Grade Teacher

"This technique is used for the student who can say a great sentence, but have trouble writing the sentence on paper. Have the student tell you the sentence that he/she wants to write. As the student says the sentence, place a crayon in front of the student for each word. For example, the student says, "The brown dog barked." You would place a red crayon for "the", brown crayon for "brown, yellow for "dog" and purple for "barked". Then you and the student repeat the sentence pointing to the crayons for each word. Next, the student repeats the sentence but as he/she says it, they will push the crayon up as they say the words. The last step is to put the crayons back in order, and as the student writes the sentence, they repeat the pushing technique. This sounds like a lot of trouble, but it cuts down on frustration and encourages students to try harder to write simple sentences. It only takes a couple of practices before the student uses the technique independently. Students even write more complex sentences using this technique."

Teaching Idea

Role Play Writing
Cheryl LaRue, Teacher

"In our state, students are assessed in fourth grade for their writing skills. To get them over the fears of writing, we always write a class model composition. To engage various learning styles, I often have other students role play the action we are writing about. If it's a how-to, then a few students demonstrate while the others describe what they saw. In a narrative, we often write our stories using the names of students in our room as characters and they again act out the scenes. For shorter skills practice in elaboration techniques, I have found most students were willing to share their work if it meant using the microphone on my class karaoke machine."