Category: Writing

Teaching Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts

Firsthand vs Secondhand

One important skill for fourth and fifth graders is to know the differences between firsthand and secondhand accounts. This skill is not difficult for students to understand with a little practice. Continue Reading

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Teaching Writer’s Voice

Writer's Voice

A writer’s voice is the combination of sentence structure, punctuation, word choice, and personality a person uses when writing. It is the way a writer expresses himself. The voice can be formal or informal. A writer’s voice may contain long elegant prose or short choppy sentences.

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Writing Hooks for Informative Writing

Writing Hooks for Informative Writing

Before students begin writing informative essays, it is important to teach them the steps in the process. Writing hooks for informative writing is one of the skills that students must learn. Good luck! Students can write amazing hooks with just a little practice.

Writing Hooks for Informative Writing – Step #1

Begin by teaching students to look at some exemplary texts. Ask questions about how the essays begin. List different ways students find in the essays. Next provide students with a list they can use. Here are some ways they can hook a reader. The anchor chart is a great reference for students to refer to as they begin writing. Continue Reading

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Six Activities to Teach Formal vs Informal Language

Formal vs. Informal


For some students, knowing when to use formal or informal language comes naturally. For others, it is a skill that must be taught in steps. This post offers six teaching ideas from recognizing what is formal and informal to creating formal and informal texts. Start by getting the handout Formal vs Informal Language using the link below.

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Retell, Recount, and Summarize

Retell, Recount, and Summarize

Common Core uses the terms retell, recount, and summarize in the literature section. Just what does this mean? What prerequisite skills will upper-elementary students have as they enter 4th grade when they are now asked to summarize?

Get the handout for Retell, Recount, and Summarize here. Continue Reading

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Teaching Students about Varying Sentences

Grab these foldable organizers and PowerPoint to help your sentences learn to write better sentences.
The Common Core State Standards includes at least one standard on sentence writing across all elementary grade levels. Most of these deal with recognizing types and varying sentences. Here is the progression of skills.
  1. In first grade, students learn to recognize the four types of sentences (L.1.1.J):
    • Declarative sentence
    • Imperative sentence
    • Interrogative sentence
    • Exclamatory sentence
  2. By second grade, students are combining simple sentences to form compound sentences (L.2.1.F).
  3. In third grade, students produce simple and compound as well as complex sentences (L.3.1.I).
  4. Fourth-grade students learn to recognize and correct inappropriate fragments and run-ons (L.4.1.F). They are also learning to correctly punctuate compound sentences (L.4.2.C).
  5. Fifth-graders are adding introductory elements to sentences (L.5.2.B).
  6. By sixth grade, students are using a variety of sentence patterns to add interest and meaning to their text (L.6.3.A).

Before you get started, grab the free materials to teach this lesson. This download includes all the organizers and a link to the PowerPoint.

Activity #1 ~ Types of Sentence Problems

To help students better understand these problems, they complete a foldable style graphic organizer that goes over the rules and examples of three common mistakes. This organizer is provided in six versions. You can select the one-sided printable or the two-sided printable. The organizer also comes in a variety of levels from students writing their own rules to students completing cloze rules to rules that are already completed. Continue Reading

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When to Start a New Paragraph in a Story

When to Start New Paragraphs in a Story

Have you ever read a student narrative that was written as one long paragraph? Knowing when to make new paragraphs comes naturally to some students, but not others. This article goes over five rules to teach. Begin by downloading the teaching materials for this lesson.

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