Using writing crafts is like adding sprinkles to ice cream. It just makes it "better"!
When it comes to teaching writing to young children, many teachers get caught in the “prompt” trap. It is easy to give the children something to write about and then see how they performed.
But, this isn’t really teaching them to be great, creative writers.
I have found that truly exposing children to amazing writers crafts produces much more exciting, vivid results.
I typically teach each craft for about a week. I try to show many examples of books that use writing crafts so the children can see what "real" authors do.
In the next few paragraphs I'm going to discuss some of my favorite writing crafts.
One of my student’s favorite crafts is repeated text. An example of repeating text is in the book Inside a Barn in the Country .
In this story the tagline “inside a barn in the country” is repeated after each new character is introduced.
My kids love making their own repeated text. It is fairly easy for them to come up with a line to repeat over and over so they feel successful.
A few years ago at a Dr. Jean training I learned about sparkle words. Basically they are adjectives and adverbs.
Adjectives and adverbs don’t sound exciting to a young child, so I call them sparkle words because they add a spark to stories.
One way to introduce this idea is to use sticky notes to add ideas to favorite books. In this story the kids were adding more detail to a space story. It was modeled by my Intern, Emily Gordon, in a large group setting then it was practiced in guided reading. The kids love to use sticky notes.
Another way to pique your kids’ interest is to have them pick their favorite sparkle word, write it on a sentence strip and glitter it. These words are hung on our word wall. They love to use “their word” in their writing.
Introducing purposeful dialog is as easy as reading the book Yo! Yes? to your class. This whole book is written with one or two words on each page – yet it tells an adorable story of friendship.
After I read a few books with purposeful dialog my students really enjoyed using it as a tool in their stories. You can see in the picture that this student used it to add excitement –“Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!”
Onomatopoeia is a big word that basically means writing the sounds you want to hear. In this story, my student wanted to show excitement, so he wrote, “Aaaaaa!”
It’s fun for the kids to use Onomatopoeia because most of them can be put together with a few basic sounds. It's the easiest of the writing crafts to start with. For example, they could use boom, woosh, and bam.
What if I don’t know how to spell a word?
In my classroom, I don’t spell words for the children.
I learned right away that if you spell one word, you will have to spell every word for the rest of the year.
So, what I teach the children is if they have a word that they just can’t figure out, they can circle it. This gives them an “out”. They know it isn’t correct, but they don’t dwell on it.
So, now what?
After teaching many writing crafts, and reinforcing them in shared and modeled writing, you will begin to see the skills showing up in your student’s stories.
The story above was written by one of my Kindergarteners independently.
I see the twinkling shadow. Look! I see a star that’s very colorful, shining cool. Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! Look! I see Jupiter! Aaaa! I see Earth! Aaaaa! I see the Milky Way and we went back home.
This story is fun, fantastic and so much more exciting than a “prompt”. I hope that you try to use some of these crafts with your students – it will open doors to terrific stories!
How do you teach writing crafts in your classroom?
Do you have a great idea or lesson about writing crafts? Please, share it!
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How do you incorporate the writing process:
... into the teaching of crafts?
I start out the year teaching speech bubbles. The kids love it because they are like cartoons or comics.
Talk about easy.
I sometimes even bring …
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