I’m so excited to launch something that’s been in the works for several months! Each Wednesday, you can look forward to a simple writing lesson for primary grades — it’s a collaboration between This Reading Mama and The Measured Mom.
Simple writing lessons.
What comes to mind when you hear those words? Maybe it’s a collection of writing prompts that students respond to in their daily journals. Perhaps you’re thinking of a series of worksheets to help children practice capitalization, parts of speech, and proper spelling. Or maybe you’re hoping for a curriculum which simplifies your teaching by listing every lesson from September to May.
The fact is that teaching writing is not as simple as prompts, drills, or a prescribed curriculum.
What are simple writing lessons?
1. Simple writing lessons differ from traditional writing instruction.
In our writing series you won’t find a series of daily prompts. You will find lessons which show students how to find and choose their own topics.
You probably won’t find children completing a piece of writing in a single sitting. You will find students taking some of their writing all the way through the writing process over days or even weeks.
You won’t find children limited to writing only the words they can spell. You will find students spelling any of the words in their vocabulary — according to their own developmental level.
You won’t find a series of lessons mapped out before the year begins. You will learn to choose what to teach based on your students’ current needs.
2. Simple writing lessons are taught as students follow the writing process.
If you’re focused on the process, then you’re interested in the journey. The destination is important, but you’re most interested in what it takes to get there.
Quality writing instruction takes students through the writing process – over days or even weeks.
Pre-writing: Writers decide on a topic and brainstorm ideas.
Drafting: Writers write sentences and paragraphs, reread what they’ve written, and get suggestions from others.
Revising: Writers rearrange words or sentences, add or delete, replace words, and make sure their writing is fluent.
Editing: Writers correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Publishing/Sharing: Writers create a final copy of their work and share it.
3. Simple writing lessons include a mini-lesson in which teachers clearly model a skill or strategy.
Mini-lessons are just that: mini. They can be as short as 2 minutes and might take as long as 15. Teachers model the lesson with their own writing.
Hundreds of possibilities exist for mini-lessons! Here are just a few:
- Choosing a topic
- How to stretch a word and write the sounds you hear
- Using quotation marks correctly
- Reread your writing to check for fluency
- What to do when you’re “stuck”
- How to follow an editor’s checklist
4. Simple writing lessons leave the bulk of time for students to write independently.
We didn’t teach our toddlers to talk by drilling them on blends and word endings. We talked with them in real and meaningful ways.
We don’t need to drill our children on the skills of good writing. Instead, we give them opportunities to write in real and purposeful ways – and we support and teach them as they grow.
Primary students should be given at least 20-30 minutes to write independently – ideally on a daily basis.
5. We choose simple writing lessons based on observations of our student writers.
A teacher’s manual might tell me that the next writing lesson is about how to insert information by using a caret. But my first grader takes 20 minutes to write a single sentence and is clearly not ready for this advanced revising skill.
Or maybe the prescribed lesson is for putting periods at the end of sentences. My first grader has been doing that correctly for a year. Clearly she needs to learn something else.
Choosing what to teach based on our students’ needs isn’t easy. But the more you do it, the more proficient you’ll become. And The Measured Mom and This Reading Mama are here to help!
6. Simple Writing Lessons for Primary Grades:
Our lessons are designed for students in grades 1 and 2. But you might find that your kindergartner or third grader will also benefit.
- Pre-writing: Make an expert list
- Pre-writing: Use a graphic organizer
- Drafting: Choose a tiny topic
- Drafting: Make it interesting for the reader
- Drafting: Ask questions
- Drafting: Use invented spelling
- Revising: Put boring words in jail
- Revising: Re-read your writing
- Editing: Use a spelling dictionary for kids
- Editing: Use a checklist
- Publishing: Make a book
- Publishing: Share Your Writing
Ana Aciar Ochoa
What a great idea! Thank you!!! <3
Where can I find your Simple Writing lessons to download?
You can find Anna’s blog series on Simple Writing Lessons beginning here: https://www.themeasuredmom.com/simple-writing-lessons-for-primary-grades-series/ If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com
Hi! Thanks for sharing. These are great!! This helped me search for free printable worksheets that will be helpful for my classroom. I actually found a lot of free worksheets at EduCents.com. There’s a good compare and contrast freebie right now that my kids loved! They love Venn Diagrams, and so do I 🙂 🙂 I’m excited to try your boring words activity next.
Ms. Bee from California!
You’re very welcome – thanks so much for reading!
please let me know some ideas of how to carry a mini-lesson for cohesive writing. It is for 3rd graders
Can you give me some more detailsl about what you’re looking for, Athy?
sims 4 trailer
Hello, its pleasant post about media print, we all understand media is a enormous source of
Loving all YOU ARE SHARING., ITS GREAT HELP.I am qualified early childhood teacher in Botswana, and am planning to open my own preschool soon. God bless you
Thank you so much for replying to my post-now I can’t find it! So, I am replying to this one! I was also thinking of doing this writing at the kitchen table to “remove” it from the rest of school! ( Our homeschool does not have room for a table for us to work together at, but if we move next year, that will be a priority! )
They have fallen in love with Zotz candy, so I think we may do “Zotz and Zotz” of writing!
Great idea, Jenny! I’d love to hear how it goes.
Hi Anna, for some reason your link to “Revising: Re-Read Your Writing” doesn’t work this morning. I found the post on Becky’s site, but I thought I’d let you know. 🙂
Thanks so much for alerting me to that, Heather. Fixed now!
THANK YOU so much for this!!!!! My daughter (3rd grade) has always, always been a struggling writer.
We started out using Abeka’s Language Arts in first grade. It seemed to hop everywhere and the writing parts were more along the lines of: “Write a sentence about this picture” or “Use the following words to write about Abraham Lincoln”. How in the world could my first grader do that? She had no clue how to put ideas into words. Tears, frustration, pushing, exasperation… finally I just put it aside. I focused on the more phonics side of language and skipped the writing assignments.
For second grade, I created a fun parts of speech curriculum. I thought that understanding what a noun and verb is would help her create simple sentences, then from there, she could add adjectives and adverbs to make it more interesting. She understood everything very well, but could not write a sentence of her own creation. “I don’t know what to write!!!”, followed by loads of tears. I turned to Teachers Pay Teachers to find things that public school teachers use with their students… mostly more writing prompts. Second grade passed and it was another writing fail.
This year, I was determined to have a child who could create and write her own thoughts and stories. I’ve tried a few things on my own… still no results.
Sunday, I came across this series and decided to give it a try. Monday, my daughter made an expert list (mostly with my prompting). Tuesday, I took one of my expert topics (taking care of babies) and wrote a paragraph that was “all over the place” while she observed. On her own, she commented that I wrote about too many things. So I had her help me find the tiny topics. Then I chose one and wrote a new paragraph as she watched.
She was smiling (not crying) and I saw the light bulb turn on. She chose one of her expert topics (make-up) and wrote a list of tiny topics. Then chose the tiny topic (blush) and wrote a 27 word paragraph. She forgot everything about capitalization and punctuation, but I was so happy she actually created content that I didn’t even care.
I figured we’d repeat the same sort of thing today… pick an expert topic, break it down, write about a tiny topic… but her dad requested she write something for him today, and she was determined she would write a story not a non-fiction paragraph.
I hesitated sure that this would be an epic fail splashed with a boat load of tears, but I hated to squelch her enthusiasm. I printed out your fiction organizer ans had her start with that. She filled it out, told her story out loud, and then proceeded to write it out.
Today, my daughter wrote a story that nearly filled an entire page.
Brenda, I want to thank you SO much for your comment. I can’t tell you how much it made my day to receive it! I love all the details you shared and appreciate knowing that our writing series helped your daughter overcome her writing block. As you know, all writers hit bumps along the way, so please feel free to come back here with questions or concerns about future writing projects. Thanks again!!
I’m excited to use this series with our two homeschooled kids, in 1st and 2nd grades. Right now I’m piecing together their writing curriculum, and I’m wondering, do you have a curriculum you’d recommend where I’d find all this good stuff in one package? It would be reassuring to me that I wouldn’t be leaving anything out. 🙂
Very good question, Heather – I’m not sure if something like that exists – partly because Writing Workshop is meant to be designed to respond to the child, and not to a prescribed curriculum. However, you can find lots of places with lists of possible mini-lessons, which I like to use as a reference. I put together a list of sample lessons to work from as we write this series — not how to teach, but a list of ideas. I will send it out to you via e-mail. Let me know if you’re looking for something else in particular!
This sounds great! I would love a copy too if you’re willing to share. Thank you!
Hi Amy! I don’t email these out anymore, as I put all the resources together in my ebook, which is referenced in this post. However, if you follow by email I will eventually be sharing posts with suggested mini-lessons. 🙂
Looking forward to this series! I featured this post on Mom’s Library this week!
Thank you so much for the feature, Ashley!
I have one of your spelling games all ready to go. And I’m also hoping to get some of the word family games constructed. And I plan to use a couple math ideas for centers this year. And here you are helping me to get my students writing, too!! And, and, and… how I wish it were early July instead of late August.
Thank you so much for all the wonderful ideas!
Your comment brings a big smile to my face, Margie 🙂 Thanks so much for tuning in – as our little girl moves into first grade I should have lots more to share for older kids!
This sounds wonderful! I’ll be following along 🙂
Thanks, Linda! I hope it’s really useful for you.
Shaunna @ Fantastic Fun and Learning
This is going to be a great series! I look forward to following along.
Thanks for tuning in, Shaunna! We’re excited!
Sounds like this is going to be a great series. I can’t wait to see more! 🙂
I’m so glad you’re tuned in, Kirstylee! Becky and I are so pumped – it’s just love having a reason to pull out all my old teaching books and brain:).
Thank you so very much Anna!!!! You have been a life saver in my classroom. The material and tips are so very helpful and saves a lot of my valuable time.