Category Archives: Writing

Writing Update!

This week, we transitioned back into writers’ workshop starting by diving into some nonfiction ALL ABOUT books. We studied books that were written to teach us new facts about one topic and then the kids tried writing one all on their own. We will continue to work on writing that teaches next week, as we move into our unit on HOW TO writing.

This week, we also introduced the first graders to a new kind of writing called CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE. Good readers are able to respond to their reading by answering questions about what they’ve read. A CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE is a way of fully answering a question (RACE) and this is something they are expected to be able to do independently by third grade. We will start practicing these types of writing exercises each week.

Our first graders started this practice by playing a game called WOULD YOU RATHER? The kids listened to questions and figured out their answer, and then practiced fully responding to the question in a format that shows they understand the question (restate question – I would rather…), then, answer the question (answer – ALL parts), and give a reason for their choice (because…). We will continue to work on this throughout the school year and we will grow in our expectations of what they are adding to their CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE. If you see any constructed response papers come home, have your child read through their response with you and point out those three parts (restate, answer).

Writing Update!

Now that we’ve learned all of the parts of a persuasive letter, we challenged our first graders to be more productive during our writing time.  Our goal is for every child  to write a whole persuasive letter, with all the important parts.

We will be assessing and celebrating everything we’ve learned about persuasive letters next week!  We will pick a final letter to edit (to be a 5 star sentence) and revise (to make sure it has all the parts of a persuasive letter). Then, we will celebrate the work that these kids have done in this unit and send off one final persuasive letter before break.

Writing Update!

We jumped back into our Persuasive Writing Unit. We reviewed how persuasive letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place.

Next, we learned that persuasive letters try to make someone agree with our opinion. We stated our opinions in our letter using the “I think….” sentence starter. When we state our opinion, it becomes clear what we want the other person to think as well.

We then realized that it is important to think about our audience for our letters. If there is something we want to change in our home, then the best audience for our letter is probably someone at home, not at school.

We also talked about giving good reasons in our letters. Just saying that we really want something is not good enough! We need to share with our audience why it is important to us. We also discussed mini-moment reasons. These are little stories where we share a time when we saw the problem in our own lives. After our mini-moments, we also discussed how we need to add a solution to our letter. This is how we are going to help fix the problem.

We will continue to send home letters throughout the next week or so, you might receive a letter from your first grader. I encourage you to write them back! If you do, send it along with your child’s letter back to school. We would love to share responses we get with the class!

I also ask that if you receive a letter, make sure they are working for what they ask for! Don’t just let a “please please please” letter convince you. Look for a letter that gives good reasons and ideas before agreeing to what they ask for and a solution of how they can help make this happen. Don’t worry – I also warned them that it is likely that you might not agree with their request! :)

These letters are so fun to read – first graders sure are creative! Thank you for your help in making this process so fun for these first graders!

Writing Update!

We spent time immersing the students with books that model persuasive letter writing. We read some books featuring unhappy crayons who tried to persuade their owner to change how he used them. We also read some books about a little boy who is trying to persuade his parents to get him a pet iguana, a new bedroom, and to come home from vacation so he can leave his grandparents’ house. All these books are written with such humor, that they kept us laughing all week. We used these books as a reference as we moved into our persuasive letter writing unit.

The kids noticed that the letters in the books had some things in common:

1. They started with Dear {Greeting} & a name {Audience}

2. They asked for something {Opinion – “I think…”}

3. They ended {Closing – Sincerely/Love/From} & signed their name {Signature}

One thing we noticed about persuasive letters was that the best letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place. We brainstormed some ways we could help make our school a better place to learn. We will keep adding to this list each day.

Writing Update!

We spent this week revising and editing our small moment stories. Each student had the chance to choose a favorite piece they had been working on and then we worked to make it even better.

After revising and editing, we added color to our pictures and a cover page with a title and author. Finally, at the end of the week, we got to celebrate our stories!  After reading and coloring, we shared compliments about what we’ve learned as writers and had our Hawaiian Punch toast! We had a great time wrapping up our second unit of writing. We hope you enjoy the stories that come home!

Writing Update!

This week we focused on zooming in to the most important part of our small moment story. When we are writing our stories, it is easy to list off a bunch of things we did. We might end up with stories that sound like this….

“This weekend I went to the mall with my mom. We got some clothes. Then we went to Subway and got a sandwich. Next we went home and watched a movie. I hope we can do that again!”

We have been calling this a watermelon story. A watermelon story is a big story (many moments). In Writer’s Workshop, we want to write tiny seed stories. These stories are small, zoomed in stories. Like seeds in a watermelon, there are small stories inside of big stories.

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Looking at the example story, we could write a seed story of going to the mall. We could also write a story about getting our sandwich from Subway or watching a movie at home. We want to focus on one moment in time, and write lots of details about that one time.

We also talked about making sure to add details to that seed story. We can do this by adding dialogue, writing details that use our five senses, and adding actions of what our hands, feet, and face are doing.

Writing Update!

We are continuing to write Small Moment stories in Writer’s Workshop. We began the week by learning about PUNCTUATION ( . ! ? ). In order for the kids to know where to add their punctuation, they needed to know when a sentence was complete.  We spent time building sentences and we learned that you must have a who and a what in order to be a sentence. We practiced adding PUNCTUATION to stories that didn’t have them. This can be a hard concept to grasp and we will continue to work on it all year. We shared our stories with our partners and pointed out our WHOs and our WHATs and where we added our punctuation.

Writing Update!

This week, we focused heavily on capital letters. We talked about the three main places that we need to add capital letters: the word I, names of things, & at the beginning of a sentence. We spent time practicing together and they worked hard to add these to their own writing. We are encouraging them to be careful not to add capital letters to all their words (which is common for beginning writers). Understanding what a sentence is and when one starts and ends is a tricky concept that we will continue to build on throughout the year.

Writing Update!

We started a new unit of writing this week, focusing on making our stories easy for other people to read. We spent time focusing on neat handwriting, finger spaces, and spelling our word wall words correctly. We spent time writing a shared writing piece. We chose to write about our first writing celebration and we have been working our way through the steps of writing a good small moment story, focusing on neat handwriting, finger spaces, and word wall words. We are seeing some huge growth in handwriting and finger spaces.