I recently posted about first grade writing and what is important to be ready for second grade. Writing isn’t always about writing words ten times each or even writing a story. It’s one form of communication that we use. We sign our names on the line to show we are good on our promise. We write a grocery list so that we can stay organized and remember everything we need at the store.
When I was young, I always wanted to write something...anything. Even though I had this urge, I froze when I saw the blank page. I’m not sure if it was because I really didn’t have ideas of what to write about or the white page was too clean and perfect to muss up. I wish someone gave me the okay to just write without it having to be an assignment when I was that age. If someone would have encouraged me to just write a little every day.
What do I need?
It first starts with the right tools, and lots of them because choice is a prime motivation for learning. Provide children with different kinds of paper: notebooks, colored paper, binders with refillable paper, greeting cards, cardstock, list pads, index cards, calendars, empty bank record books, sticky notes, address books, etc. And don’t forget to have different types of writing utensils: pencils, pens, crayons, markers, colored pencils, erasable pens, highlighters.
Give kids some fun prompts to write just for the sake of writing something or looking around in the environment to truly notice that written communication is everywhere. This is great practice when using the word wall is an expectation in the classroom.
What do they write?
- Writing full name, address and phone number. Would be fun to do in an address book from the dollar bin.
- Make a list of words seen while riding in the car or even at the store. Maybe today write all the words that are in red, another time in blue, etc.
- Copy the sentences from packaging, such as the back of a cereal box or from a fun toy package.
- Collect birthdays of family and friends. Kindergarteners can just write the name of the person with the month, while first graders and older should write the name with dates like this, June 15, 2016.
- Play store! Use up those sticky notes and go to town pricing anything and everything in the house. Then do the math as if shopping and purchasing many items.
- With a toy store catalog or advert, find a word for each letter of the alphabet and copy it down.
- Make an inventory list of children’s book titles either at home or at the library.
- Choose a category and make a list of all the items that belong in that category: fruits, vegetables, school friends, family members, forest animals, colors, numbers, etc.
- Use an empty calendar to write things to do or places to go over the summer months.
- Collect favorite sounding or funny words! Write the words on index cards and put them in a card box or small accordion file in alphabetical order.
- Write letters or make cards for others. People in nursing homes may enjoy receiving those!
- Create an investigation with clues that can be found and collected in a flip notebook. It’s so much fun acting like a detective!
I’ve created a checklist for you to keep track of all the fun times spent writing or reading this summer! Children can color or put a small sticker on each fish for each time they’ve intentionally enjoyed reading or writing (5-10 minutes per grade). Put it on your fridge or pin it to your board where it can be seen daily. Think how fulfilling it will be to see most if not all the fish checked off...as simple as one nibble at a time!
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