A Gift for You: Words for Writers

IMG_1657I’ve put together a great resource for teachers and parents. This “Words for Writers & Editor’s Checklist” is a list of the most commonly used words in English, and will help your students/child with spelling and writing. If it is a very common word, such as “who, what, when, where, and why,” then the word will be listed in this small packet.

This comes as a gift when you sign up for my free quarterly newsletter (see sidebar to right to sign up/ or click here to see homepage/sidebar). My quarterly newsletter, which is a one page e-mail, offers tips, stories, and information that will be especially helpful in working with your students and/or child.”Words for Writers” will be included as a PDF. 

IMG_1658This freebie will help you give some ownership back into your students’ hands. If you know it is a basic, common word, you can direct them to look it up.

We have a book binder at our school, so I bound mine, but a heavy duty stapler works as well.

I promise to never, ever spam you or share your email!

Free Pumpkin Art!

Combine art with science! I have done this fun idea many times, and the students love it! Students get to see seeds grow inside their “pumpkin”!

Download the free worksheet here: Free Pumpkin Art

Free Pumpkin Art-1

You will need zip lock baggies, wet paper towels, and pumpkin seeds (or some sort of squash variety). Saturate the paper towel with water and add a couple seeds on top; don’t seal the bag to allow airflow. In about a week, the seeds will start to sprout and grow. I staple the pumpkins up on a bulletin board. Each day, your students will love to enter class and see how their seeds are growing. (In case you have a few seeds that don’t sprout, grow some extras on the side and trade out the seeds.) I hope you try this, and combine it with a fun lesson on plants! You can see one of my seeds is starting to sprout!

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Free Planning Page for Teaching Beginning Writing!

I work a lot on writing with my students. There are many great graphic organizers and writing programs out there, but here is a planning page that I have found really works. I call it the “Stars and Bars Planning Page.” They are actually more like bullets or dashes, but “stars” rhymes with “bars,” and rhyming is a memory aid. (Thanks to my boss for sharing this idea!)

Download:   Stars and Bars Free Planning Page

Stars and Bars Free Planning Page-1

The reason I like this planning page is because it can be used on any piece of paper. Once the students know the format, they can make their own stars and bars, and fill in the planner. Here are a few important rules:

  • The planning page is for ideas, not sentences.
  • Limit ideas to five words or less.
  • Students start with the topic sentence and work their way down.
  • Students put a check mark on the planning page after they use an idea and have written the sentence.

The sample below is from the writing prompt: We just had our winter break. Write a paragraph in which you describe your break. Be sure to include a topic sentence, supporting details, and a conclusion.

Below is a sample planning page and then first draft paragraph.

Stars and Bars Sample

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Sample

Here are some common mistakes I see students make as I work with them:

  • Students try to write out sentences on their planning page; that is why I limit the ideas to five words or less. This is where they plan!
  • Students omit the topic sentence and go straight for the big ideas. I frequently emphasize the importance of introducing the topic–this is also the reason I make students start at the top of the planning page.
  • Students write all their big ideas into one long sentence. This is why we work through each sentence one at a time, and check off each idea on our planning page after we use it.
  • Students write about something totally different then what is on their planning page. Again, making the students put a check by each part of the planning page helps.

Students need a lot of guidance, and for the teacher/parent to work through the process with them. The more they practice, the better they get!

Finally, once students are familiar with the planning page, they can just draw the stars and bars on any sheet of paper, and plan for writing.

Simplified planning page:

Stars and Bars Simplified

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stars and Bars Basic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this helps! I will discuss editing and revising in a separate post. 

Free St. Patrick’s Day Worksheet!

Here is a fun worksheet for you to download!

I am always thinking of ideas for teaching writing, and this worksheet lends itself well to teaching writing a paragraph. Students can write a topic sentence about catching a leprechaun, and then add three supporting sentences (from the list they make), and then a close.

Download here: St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day-1

 

Fun Free Sight Word Memory Game!

Students can play a fun game and work on sight words!

Do you remember playing a card game where you placed the cards face down, and then picked two cards to see if they matched? If the cards didn’t match, you turned the two cards back face down. The goal was to remember where the cards were when face down, and then match two cards to make a pair. Once you made a pair, you got to keep them and take another turn. (I think that is how it was played!)

You can play this game using sight words!

I have included a free download for beginning sight words (print or copy twice). You can also easily make your own using index cards or a computer. Be sure to have the kids read the words when they play, and help students until they recognize the word by sight.

Download here/2 pages: Sight Word Flash Cards

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