Elementary Teacher Resources
What is writing without writing crafts?
Well, it's boring. It is just not fun.
So, help your students add spark to their writing with these easy ideas.
I turned each craft into a poster in my room so the kids and I are constantly reminded of all of the things you can create in writer's workshop.
It's a fun word with a big punch.
Kids LOVE it.
Every year this is the first craft I teach because even the most struggling writers can use it.
All you have to do is write what you hear.
If they want to write about a racecar. Zoom!
A bee flying in the yard? Buzzzzzz.
How about a teacher on a Monday morning? Grrrrrr.
Speech bubbles are like cartoons. They are "talking words".
Beginning writers can use this idea to help them move a story between characters.
More advanced writers can add speech bubbles to develop traits and emotions.
The first book I use to teach this is Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
This books is easy to read, totally fun and has tons of speech bubbles.
This is a great craft for boys because of the popularity of Spiderman and Batman right now. They all know the "comic" words from the movies and books. Holy cow!
Word wrapping or text placement helps move stories along.
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden is my favorite book to teach word wrapping because on each page there is something exciting and unexpected.
When teaching this craft I model how every book does not have a picture at the top and words on the bottom (like most elementary writing paper).
We discuss how the placement of the text makes us feel as readers.
Talking about why authors put words where they did can create amazing discussions about books, author's purpose and reading as writers.
Diagramming (or labeling) as a craft goes hand in hand with non-fiction books.
This past year I discovered Surprising Sharks: Read and Wonder and saw the amazing potential in using this book for diagrams.
There are labels throughout the story, and they are not only informational, they are downright funny!
I love to use diagrams in writer's workshop to compare two things. Just recently we compared dogs and cats through diagrams in a story.
My students often use diagrams when they can't think of a complete sentence about something.
For example, one of my kids is fixated on spiders now, but he doesn't have enough skills to write a whole book about it.
Instead he wrote a book of diagrams comparing spiders to ants.
He used the words he could sound out to convey what he had learned.
The most important thing was he found a craft that he could feel successful with!
You never know what might happen when you teach a new craft!
I taught ellipsis (or "dot dot dot" as some of my kids call it) recently and now every story they write has a dramatic pause in it.
I tell my students that you use an ellipsis when you want the reader to know something more... but you want them to wait for it!
Recently many "spooky" stories have been popping up in writer's workshop, and most of them have an ellipsis in them.
It's also funny how many picture books we read use them, and how they just pop out of the text now that we look for them.
What will you do with this new craft...?
It seems so obvious to adults, but children don't realize that a little dialog in a story really adds a lot to the flow.
To teach dialog, I pick a favorite story and read it without any dialog. We then discuss what was missing.
Why wasn't it as fun? What ideas did we miss because we didn't hear the characters talking?
Highlighter tape is a must when teaching this craft. It helps make the dialog seem easy to find and fun to replicate.
This is the first year I have taught lyric writing, and I can't believe I didn't do it sooner.
With all the singing we do in class, it just makes sense to have the kids learning to write songs.
I found a website to print free staff paper, and we started writing.
We wrote "fun" songs and "educational" songs.
There was even a show in class to showcase our amazing songs.
If your class likes singing or chanting, teaching lyric writing is a must.
"I walked to the store" becomes "I strolled to the store" with vivd verbs.
To get children out of simple words, make a point to teach vivid verbs.
With just changing a verb sentences come alive.
My kids made a vivid verb list to put in their writing folder so they always had a tool to add spice to their stories.
Vivid verbs are a perfect match for the book Roller Coaster.
This story doesn't just ride the roller coaster, it soars with it!
I hope that you take a little time to teach some of these crafts to your students and see what happens in their writing. I think you'll be amazed!
If you’re on Facebook and want to chat with other elementary teachers, join the Elementary Teacher Resources group! There's about 210 of us on there now, and it's been a great way to share ideas. Hope to see you there!
I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. Please feel free to email it to friends and family who are teachers or homeschool moms!
Also, don't forget to get your copy of my free new teacher handbook! It's full of great tips and tricks to make your year go great.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
See you next month!