Posts in Best Practices
4 Activities to Support Creative Writing

During writer’s workshop, I do not deviate from the standards I am responsible for teaching. Here’s where my conflict arises: I want my young writers to experience writing in a fun, free, engaging and enjoyable way; I want them to let loose, relax, smile, and laugh! I will describe four activities I always have available for my students to help them tap into their creative side.

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Narrative Writing Mini-Lesson: Narrow Focus

A HUGE mistake I see many Elementary writers make is trying to write a story about a topic that’s too broad. Instead of focusing on a small slice or seed of the story, they try to cover EVERYTHING that happened from when they woke up to when they went to bed. Here is a mini-lesson that will help your students narrow their focus to a specific event.

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Interactive Writing Notebooks: Creating a "Space-Saving" Reference Section

Including a reference section in student writing notebooks is essential! Read to learn more about ways to set up the resource reference section and to gain suggestions on types of resources to include. Students will become more independent writers when writing skills and strategies are at their fingertips!

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Get Started With Writing Warm-Ups

Looking to improve students attitudes toward writing? I will show you how to get started with writing warm-ups in your elementary classroom.

When it comes to writing instruction, one of your main goals is to help your students become better writers. However, this is not always an easy task. Many of your students have negative feelings toward writing. They may struggle to come up with ideas, or freeze when they don’t know how to spell a word. Many kids look at a blank piece of paper and feel overwhelmed and intimidated. 

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Help Your Students A.C.E. Response to Text Writing

In order for students to learn to effectively write responses to text, we must teach them how to cite evidence and explain it. Here is an easy formula to teach students how to write an effective response to text. 

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Student Collaboration Strategies for Writing Workshop

When the classroom expectation is that students will be collaborating about their writing and sharing what they wrote with others, they begin to take ownership in their written pieces. Learning how to effectively collaborate is a skill that must be explicitly taught, practiced, and then practiced some more!

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Writing Engaging Leads for Narrative Writing

Grabbing and holding the reader's’ attention is what makes or breaks a story. I don’t know any teachers who get excited to read 30 narratives that begin with the same boring opener. I have taught 2nd - 6th grade and I expect more from my students. The lead is an important element of the story and should take effort and thought.

Let me share some ideas with you about how you can get your kids to write a better hook than, “Do you like dogs? I do. Let me tell you about my dog, Frank.”

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3 Ways to Motivate Writers: An Exclusive Interview with Teaching in Room 6

Stephanie Moorman from Teaching in Room 6 has been inspiring teachers and supporting student writers for two decades now. She has graciously agreed to share her best tips for motivating students to write here on teachwriting.org! Read this post to find out what Stephanie has to say about motivating students to write. 

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Writing in the Elementary Classroom: An Interview with the Teacher Next Door

I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Jenn Larson, also known as The Teacher Next Door, about her top tips for implementing a writing workshop in elementary and the relationship between reading and writing.  Jenn has been teaching for over 20 years, and over the course of her career, she has developed strategies to help students produce their best pieces of writing and to help teachers navigate writing workshop.

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Graphic Organizers vs. Creative Writing- Why Students Need Both to Improve Writing 

I love graphic organizers. There is something about the organization and structure they provide. With regards to writing, there is often some debate about whether or not graphic organizers are appropriate for elementary school children. Some educators believe that writing should be totally creative and free flowing. However others believe students need support and structure with writing. In order to be successful writers, I believe students need exposure to both.

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Peer Writing in an Elementary Classroom

During the last couple years, I started to embrace collaborative peer writing strategies. You know the old saying, "Two heads are better than one?" Why should it be any different with writing? With a collaborative, peer writing culture in the classroom, students inspire each other, become exemplars, generate dynamic ideas, increase confidence, and become critical observers.

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Essential Elements for Setting Up an Elementary Writing Workshop 

Back to school. A fresh start. A new year. Oh, the possibilities! In this post, I'll share some of my tips for setting up a writing block in elementary school.

Let’s get this year started right…with writing!

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12 Strategies to Support Struggling Writers in Elementary

Just like our students, not all struggling writers are the same. Some students struggle with writing because they are stuck for ideas. You know the kid…the one who proclaims, “I don’t know what to write,” then shrugs and stares blankly at you.  Those are also often the students getting up to get another drink of water and staring at a blank page. These students struggle with getting started and knowing what to write about.

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Supporting Writers At All Levels

Teaching writing can be overwhelming to the max!  The variety of writing skills (not just six traits) students need to master and the multifaceted competencies our students exhibit can make your head spin! I'm not a fan of labeling students but over the course of ten years teaching writing there are some common characteristics I've come to find among students in my classes every year. Below is a list of these groups of students and strategies for supporting them!

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5 Strategies to Build Confidence in Young Writers

5 Strategies to Build Confidence in Young Writers.

Yes, I love teaching writing. Helping young writers build confidence is one of my teaching passions. However, it's not because I am an amazing writer. In fact, it is quite the opposite: writing is one of my biggest challenges.

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