One of my favorite subjects to teach is writing. If you show an enthusiasm for writing, and pick interesting topics, students really begin to enjoy writing as well.

Each morning, all year, I started my class with a writing prompt. I taught a range of abilities that included non-readers to readers, ages 6-9.

Here are the steps and how I did it:

  • I used my overhead (then my smartboard projector once I got one) and wrote the beginning prompt at the top of the screen. For example: My favorite summer activity is
  • I put a line under the prompt, and then one by one, I called on students and wrote their answers under the line. The students copied the prompt and their answer. I would alternate colored markers so the students would copy the correct answer. I would also use the actual whiteboard if I needed more space.
  • Eventually, the students began to write more on their own. I would always do the first sentence for them on the overhead, and then depending on their grade and ability, they had to add one to three more sentences themselves.

It was a slow process, but the students really got the hang of it. I also realized an added bonus–the kids got really good at copying from the whiteboard to their paper! This helped with other subjects as well.

I would always have fun lined paper with a border on it on the desks for the kids when they entered the class in the morning, as well as the overhead turned on.

This was more of a teaching process than free journaling–I love that too, but I wanted to actually teach how to write sentences–it was a guided process.

More and more, state testing is about the short constructed response, and students often do poorly on this; writing daily makes kids comfortable with the process (starting with a capital, ending with an end mark, a complete thought, practicing printing and spacing, etc.).

If your class is too big to work with each student daily, then alternate groups, or have a volunteer work with a small group.

Here is how I started each Monday: This weekend I

Try this on Mondays, and please let me know how it works!

Download: Weekend News

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