Birthdays can be distracting at school. But if you play your cards right, you can use birthdays to create a positive classroom culture. By focusing on positive characteristics of the birthday kid, you can allow for natural discussions on topics such as friendship, being polite, following directions, etc. I’ve got a simple page we use to acknowledge a birthday kid’s positive traits. I start by writing mine for the whole class to see (using the document camera). I talk about something the child does well, and praise them for it (subtly reminding the rest of the class of that expectation). Then I have each student complete the page for that student as well. I challenge them to use a vocab word (from the current week or past) in their writing and only let them do the picture AFTER they’re done writing.
Kids crack me up. They say, write and do the silliest things! Here’s another opportunity to capture all that creativity. This writing activity asks kids to apply to be one of Santa’s elves. Be sure to give kids an opportunity to share their application with other students. Maybe have the kids collect “endorsements” from classmates (Have students write their name on the back of a classmate’s paper to indicate that the student shared it with them). Merry Christmas!
Class icebreaker activities are always fun. Here’s a simple way to get to know your students while assessing their writing. It’s a simple “Interview a Classmate” activity, free over at my post on We Are teachers. Click here to hop on over there!
Here’s another of my paragraph practice pages. This one is about getting ready for school in the morning. The focus of this page should be the structure of the paragraph, including transitions. I intentionally chose a topic that kids wouldn’t have a hard time thinking about.
Paragraphs are so basic that sometimes we as teachers want to zoom right through them and get on to essays. But good essays are made of good paragraphs, and the more paragraphs you have together, the more important it is to organize your thoughts properly. For this reason, I’ve built a few paragraph organizers to help you focus on the important pieces (transitions, introductory sentences, etc.). I’ve intentionally chosen topics that won’t be hard for kids to write about (there’s no “right” answer) so the content won’t distract them from focusing on proper paragraph construction.
The first one is about their favorite game to play. For the supporting sentences, kids could write about 3 aspects of the game, 3 reasons they like playing, etc.
Spring Break. Everyone needs the break, but it’s crazy town trying to get kids back on track afterwards. Everyone wants to tell everyone else how their break went, but there’s not really time! So try this approach: Have each kid fill out this page (writing or drawing, whichever you prefer), and then let kids go share their page with 2 or 3 other students. And move on with life! You can provide an opportunity for everyone to share while practicing some basic skills… all in 15-20 minutes!
Happy Easter, everyone! As I was making this page, I couldn’t help but smile thinking of all the silly things kids would write on an application to be the Easter Bunny! This will definitely be a fun Easter writing prompt for kids!
Story telling seems to go hand in hand with childhood. I absolutely love hearing kids tell stories. So I provided each of my students with an opportunity to tell me a story about a Thanksgiving they’ve experienced. After we write our stories down, I randomly draw a few student numbers (mine are on Popsicle sticks) and those students have the chance to share their story with the class (under the document camera) if they want. Here are the 2 versions of the free PDF worksheet (one with a picture space, and one without):