Tuesday, May 7, 2019

10 Ways to Improve Writing Skills for Elementary Students

Here are 10 ways to improve students' writing skills and increase their overall writing scores too. 

First of all, your students will be doing a lot of writing. They will need somewhere to write it. A notebook or journal is a great place to start. Everyone needs their own writing journal. A notebook or a bunch of paper stapled together, anything works. I've also seen other teachers use 3-ring notebooks that are dedicated to writing only.

I have my students write everything in their journal. By the end of the year, their journals are filled with first drafts, final presentations, notes, lists, sentences, editing marks, anything and everything we did that year. These journals are great to show at conference time too because you can see growth from the first page to the last. Try to make the journals fun by adding color and/or glueing in pictures. The journals are a great place to let students become creative by writing their thoughts or telling a funny story in their own words.  

Here are 10 ideas of what you can do to improve any student's overall writing skill:

1. Write everyday. Rain or shine the writing will be done. It really doesn't matter what they write as long as they are writing. Writing improves sight words which improves reading and comprehension. Don't just save writing for writing time. Write across the curriculum. Writing can include thoughts, lists, or even just a feeling they have about a subject. At the end of the day, have students write three things they learned or have them write something good that happened to them that day. I also start a lot of morning work with writing. Think about how you can incorporate more writing in the day.

2. Write with the students or model writing. If you assign a writing assignment, then you need to do it too. Students need to see what you want. If they see you're doing it and how they are supposed to do it, then they will be eager to get started. When I write in front of students, I make sure I talk to myself out loud for all students to hear. It's almost like using "think aloud" when reading. We ask ourselves questions about the book we are reading. I do the same with writing. I ask myself questions about the topic and tell myself not to forget to indent or begin with a topic sentence. I make sure I reread my sentences to make sure it sounds good and make corrections or add details as I go.  Students will learn when they observe from someone who is knowledgeable about writing, you.   

 3. Share writing with each other. Let students read their writing to the class or you choose a few to share. I also place a basket in my classroom library filled with writings from their classmates. When a student finishes a piece of writing, it is placed in the basket for all to read or they get to read it to the class for all to hear. This makes them feel proud of their work and they do their best work when everyone is reading it. Once I figured out that students liked to read each other's work, I started putting a ton of their writing work in the basket. It seemed to spark some interest in reading, and wanting to finish their writing to get it in the basket. I also display their paragraphs or stories in the hallway for everyone to read. If it's on display, it's ready for all eyes to read like parents, other teachers, and principals!

4. Model how to edit and revise. It's funny when students write a personal narrative or a story and they think they're done. Many students do not think they have to reread their sentences or make any changes to their writing. They have a hard time self-editing. These writing pieces take time to complete and needs to be written a few times to be presentable which they do not like to do. They really struggle fixing their own work or rewriting it to make it presentable. This needs to be practiced and modeled how to do it. At the beginning of the year, I do a ton of editing practice worksheets. By the middle of the year, they do much better at it. The more you practice, the better they get at it. If they practice enough, it will just become automatic and something that's expected of them. 

5. Use technology. A great way to have students shine with writing is to incorporate technology. Students can type their final report so that it looks clean and presentable. These typed reports look great in the basket or up in the hallways too. The computer is also a great place to research information for a report. Taking notes from an encyclopedia online helps with writing. Also If they do not like to write, typing might work. Some students have trouble holding a pencil or their spelling is bad. Typing the words instead of writing might help those students write more and not be intimidated by writing. 

6. Assign a writing assignment each week for homework. If you send homework home, there should always be a writing assignment in it. Choose different writing themes to send home. Do not send the same writing assignment home each week. Mix it up. Write a personal narrative one week, an opinion paragraph the next, and respond to a prompt the following week. Homework will also let parents see what you're working on in class and how their child is writing. Students need to practice writing and writing takes up so much time. Homework is a good place to get more practice in. 

7. Encourage inventive spelling. I have a few students every year that don't want to write because they can't spell. Who cares. Just write. If I encourage inventive spelling, they seem to write more even if they make many mistakes. Mistakes help us learn. For these students, I try to keep my comments to myself if they have misspellings. What I do encourage is the punctuation marks and if it makes sense. That's all I really care about. Spelling will come. The more they write, the more their spelling improves. Keep your spelling lists and lessons focused on high frequency words or word families.   

8. Use writing centers. Writing centers will help bring the creativity to the table and incorporate a variety of writing genres. Writing centers can let students move at their own pace and become creative. Sometimes students need something to do while they are waiting for others to finish. Having some fun writing centers on hand will help keep your early finishers busy. Make writing centers quick and fun. These centers are usually the ones that will go in the basket or hung on the wall. They are also the ones that students seem to be eager to get started on and write like crazy. 

9. Have extra writing paper on hand. Not only do you need a journal to write in but you'll need other paper on hand. For example when we were practicing to write friendly letters, I put premade letter writing paper at a center. Students were encouraged to write friendly letters to their classmates. There were several students who wanted to take some letter writing paper home to write. I said, "What? You want to take this home and write letters?" Hot diggity dog! They wanted to write at home too! Score! Other paper on hand includes graphic organizers or final draft papers. I will also have students glue other papers into their notebooks. They will have to trim their writing paper to fit in the notebook but the extra writing paper adds character and creativity to their journals This will make them eager to work in their writing journal and maybe spark some interest in making a journal at home too!  

10. Let students choose topics to write about. There is nothing worse than having to write about something they don't know about or haven't experienced themselves. When students choose what to write about, they will have more details because they probably know about the subject matter. Yes, sometimes they will need to respond to a prompt that they don't like but at centers or homework can be choices the students pick. You may just get more out of them when they can write what they want. 

These 10 tips will help students improve their writing skills and overall writing scores. You will see a huge difference by the end of the year when you incorporate more writing. Let me know how it goes.

 Writing Resources by TeachersTakeOut
Click the picture on the left to see all my writing resources. I have you covered for homework and writing centers.

Here are some other helpful writing blog posts that I wrote:

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Building Better Sentences by Adding Details and a FREEBIE

 Writing Details will Improve Writing
Do you need some writing lessons that encourage your students to move beyond the simple sentence phase and into building better sentences by adding details? When details are clear and specific it paints a vivid picture in the reader's mind. 

Details in writing will help it be more Interesting, Important, and Informative. This pack that I created has many ideas that will help and show students how to include effective details in their writing by using sensory words, colors, emotions, descriptions, and answering questions like who, what, when, where, and why.  I always tell students it's not how many details you have, it's the quality of your details that makes your writing stand out. You can find this poster in my Writing Details pack posted below. 

 FREE Build a Sentence
Here is a FREE lesson/example of how to build better sentences from the Writing Details Pack. This lesson is for 2nd and 3rd graders. Start by writing down a noun. Then, answer questions about the noun. Finally, write your sentence. Here is an example of how it works:

Noun: dog
Does What: sits
What Kind: brown
How does it do it? quietly
Where does it do it? on his bed

Now write your sentence:
The brown dog sits quietly on his bed.

Students can also turn this sentence into other sentences. For example: Does the brown dog sit quietly on his bed? or That brown dog is sitting quietly on his bed. 
Download this FREE example and writing paper to try this lesson today. 

 Writing Details
Here is the pack of Writing Details with more build a sentence and so much more. It is loaded with over 50 pages of worksheets, ideas, and writing centers to get your students writing more details in their sentences. They can do this by building better sentences, using their sensory feelings to write details, or describe people, places, and events using a checklist. This pack has so much in it. Your students will have plenty to work on all year long. There are many writing centers, lessons, and worksheets to improve in detail writing. Check out the PREVIEW to see this pack up close. Click the picture on the left to read more about it. This pack is perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms. 

 Build a Sentence Dollar Deal
l also have a pack for beginner or younger students just learning about adding details. This is a pack of 20 repetitive worksheets that students change one sentence into a better sentence by building onto it. 

This pack will improve their sentence writing and improve adding details to their writing. This pack is perfect for beginning writers or 1st and 2nd grade classrooms. 

These worksheets can be used for a quick writing lesson, for a warm-up activity, as an exit ticket, or place them at a writing center to keep kids practicing throughout the year. 

Enjoy the free lesson on writing better sentences. 
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 More Writing Resources

 Discounted Teacher Material
You can also find all my products right here on my blog at a discounted price. Click the picture on the left to see more. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

FREE Valentine's Cards for Kids

 FREE Valentines Cards Eye Heart Monsters
Eye have a FREE gift for you! Do you need some Valentine's cards to pass out to your students? Or do you have a student in your classroom that needs something to pass out to other students? These would also be great to use with your entire class to write Valentine's notes to one another. I have created a set of 9 cards to use. Just print, cut, and write your name or a little note on the back. Pass them out to your students or your special Valentine!

This freebie also comes with a black and white copy. I have copied the black and white version on colored paper. I used a thicker piece of paper to make the cards more durable. The students enjoy coloring them or you can also break out the crayons and color them yourself. =)

Just click the picture above to download these cute monster Valentine Cards. I'm hoping these cards will catch your eye and make you giggle! 

Have a great Valentine's Day!
Eye will see you soon,

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 I Heart Monsters
Do you want to make your own Valentines cards? Here is the clip art I used. ;)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Free Would You Rather Meet Rosa Parks or MLK

 FREE Would you rather meet Rosa Parks or MLK
Would you rather meet Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr? Personally, I wish I could meet both and it's really hard to choose but it would have to be Rosa Parks for me. Her bravery to not give up her bus seat makes me want to cheer and say, "You go girl!" No offence to Martin Luther King Jr. He truly has stood his own bravery and brought awareness of how people were not being treated fairly according to the color of their skin. I wouldn't miss an opportunity to meet him too. This prompt is too hard! 

If you are studying any famous people, try this writing prompt: Would you rather meet ___ or ___? You could also do this with characters in a story you are reading or with authors. Would you rather meet Dr. Seuss or Beverly Cleary?

I am offering this FREE worksheet: Would you rather meet Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr? This worksheet is ready to go. All you have to do is print! Students state their opinion. Write three reasons why they support this and end with a closing statement. This is a great opportunity to use some persuasive or opinion writing in the classroom. Just click the picture above to download it and begin using it in your classroom today. 

 Would You Rather Opinion Starters
When I was creating the "Would You Rather... Opinion Starters", I thought of using the Rosa and Martin worksheet in the pack but I saved it to use during Black History Month and MLK Day. This writing pack, "Would You Rather..." writing prompts, has a variety of topics that you can use anyday. Click the picture on the left to read more about these opinion worksheets.

 Mini Biography Reports for any famous person
Are you working on biographies? I just created this Mini-Biography Report that is ready to go at anytime. The students do all the work. They research and find information on any person they want to study. Students fill in the information on the pages provided and assemble it into a mini-book. Click the picture on the left to read more about it. 

Here's to MLK Day!
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Monday, January 7, 2019

Super Fractions and a Free Worksheet

 Super Fractions Worksheets
I created this pack of Super Fractions which includes 45 worksheets all about fractions! This superhero theme makes these worksheets engaging and super fun! 

If you are a 2nd or 3rd grade teacher, this is a great pack to fit the needs of all your students. Plus this pack is a great supplement to your own fraction unit. 

These handy little worksheets are perfect for beginners and those that need a good review of fractions. You can find pages like comparing, ordering, naming fractions, fraction of a set, and word problems. This pack also uses like and unlike denominators. The worksheets can be used during your fraction unit, sent home for homework, for assessments, or place at your math centers for early finishers. 

To see if this pack is the right fit for your classroom, download the FREE worksheet below. 

 FREE Fraction Worksheet
Click here to try a FREE worksheet from the Super Fractions pack from above. Click and download this assessment worksheet to see how well your students do with fractions. If your students pass this fraction assessment, then you do not need the pack above. But, if your students cannot pass or have trouble with the fractions in this assessment, you might want to think about getting the Super Fractions Worksheets.

Click the FREE fraction worksheet to download today and use in your classroom.
 Free Super Fractions Worksheet

I love fractions! I've created a few more fraction resources. Click on the picture below to read more about each one. 
 Cooking up Some Fractions Word Problem Task Cards Fraction of a Set Task Cards Compare and Order Fractions Fractions on a Number Line Task Cards Improper and Mixed Fractions Task Cards Simplify Fractions Task Cards
 Add and Subtract Fractions with unlike demominators Add and Subtract Fractions using Like Denominators Turkey Pie Fractions Task Cards and Worksheets Pizza Pie Fractions Task Cards and Worksheets Candy Jar Fractions Task Cards Would You Rather Fractions. Fun Task Cards to Compare Fractions.

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Teacher's Take Out Classroom Resources. Delivering classroom material for K-5th grade teachers.

Here's to super fractions!
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Mini Research Reports

 Mini Reports Bundle for 4 products
Are you ready to write some cool mini-reports? I created 4 packs to write 4 different reports. These reports include: states, country, animal, and biography. These reports and perfect for classrooms 2nd-5th grade. Each report has students writing facts and gluing or drawing pictures to complete their report. Once finished, these look great in your reading center. These reports will be ready for all to read, enjoy, and learn from. Use these for your class projects, as homework assignments, or for early finishers. You can purchase all 4 packs in one or they are available as individual products as well. Here are some of the images of the reports:
 Mini Animal Report Mini Country Report Mini Biography Reports Mini States Report
These mini reports will be easy for you to prepare and fun for the students to gather information and report it into these mini books. Just print and report! 

Here are some more of my mini ideas:
 Mini Workbook using Writing Prompts Mini Workbook using Elapsed Time Mini Workbook using Money
 Mini Workbook using 4 Digit Numbers Mini Workbook using 3 Digit Numbers Place Value Mini Workbook using 2 Digit Numbers
 Mini Workbook using Simple Addition Word Problems Mini Workbook using 2 Digit Word Problems
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