October 2008
Classroom Newsletter #2

Lately we have been working intensely on writing. We have been learning all about writing crafts that authors use.

Here are our favorite crafts. You may be seeing them in your child's stories!


It's a fun word with a big punch.

Kids LOVE 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... coffee! :)

Speech Bubbles

Speech bubbles are like cartoons. They are "talking words".

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

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.


Watch out...

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!


Talking words.

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?


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.

We wrote "fun" songs and "educational" songs.

Vivid Verbs

"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.

Have questions? Contact me about my classroom.

Thank you!

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