Category: Writing

Expanding Vocabulary

Word Wheel

When students use the same tired words over and over, their writing becomes dull. The Internet is full of lists you can provide students; however, students learn by creating their own “Wow Word” lists. 

First, decide what you wish to call overused words: Continue Reading

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When the Shoe Fits – A Writing Project to use with Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Free Writing Project to use with the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Red shoes are an important symbol in the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli. This made me think about what types of shoes would represent the main characters. This turned into “When the Shoe Fits – A Writing Project to use with Crash by Jerry Spinelli.” This is a free printable activity that can be used as an interactive notebook activity.


Crash is extremely athletic. Because he excels in sports, he gets attention from the other students in his school. He is especially proud when he can beat the older (8th graders) students. Continue Reading

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The Indian in the Cupboard

Free Samples from The Indian in the Cupboard Book Unit

The Indian in the Cupboard was such a big hit with my students. Imagine fifth grade boys asking me to help them find the sequels! There are four of them. A teacher can’t ask for anything more.

The story begins when nine year old Omri receives a few unusual gifts for his birthday. What is he going to do with an old cupboard and a plastic Indian? Omri does what most boys would do. He locks the plastic toy in the cupboard. Unknowingly, he does this with a magical key that belonged to his great grandmother. Imagine the surprise he felt when the plastic toy turned into a real life three-inch tall Iroquois. Continue Reading

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Hot Cocoa Mix Filled Ornaments

Hot Chocolate Mix Filled Ornaments

These hot cocoa mix filled ornaments are a great way to teach writing instructional paragraphs this holiday season. Students can write instructions for how to make the ornaments and/or how to make a cup of hot chocolate using the mix from an ornament.

Be sure to look down the post for the link with free printables. The download includes the recipe as well as cute cards for the student writing activities. Continue Reading

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Christmas Bulletin Board

Christmas Bulletin Board

I love this time of year. Excitement for season is everywhere. Students begin talking about gifts, special activities, travel plans, and food the day they return from Thanksgiving break. I take advantage of this. We read Christmas themed books, and  I teach language arts using holiday activities. Students write using Christmas prompts which are displayed on holiday bulletin boards. Students really love it, and so do I!

I recently presented a workshop for a group of teachers about writing. A small part of the presentation was holiday related. I presented a number of Christmas writing prompts and showed teachers how to make a super simple bulletin board to display student writing. Continue Reading

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Activities

Mrs. Armstrong breaks her leg, so Mother must direct the Christmas pageant. Everything goes wrong when the Herdmans, the worst kids in the history of the world, are the only ones to volunteer for all the main roles. Will Mother be able to pull it all together?

Read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson to see how one disaster after another is averted. Continue Reading

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The Witches by Roald Dahl

Free Compare and Contrast Printables to use with The Witches

As September comes to an end, and October rolls around, I like for my students to start a novel with a Halloween theme. These are not necessarily Halloween books, but ones that have themes that represent the season. For younger students, Stellaluna with its bat theme is a great choice. I have used Harry Potter (wizards) and The Spiderwick Chronicles (all types of creatures). This free printable includes several witch activities that can be used while reading Roald Dahl’s book The Witches.

Comparing and Contrasting Two Witches

By teaching a novel with a theme, the difficult Common Core Skill RL.9 compare and contrast becomes much easier. Whether you are comparing themes, setting, and plots by the same author (3rd grade), similar themes and topics (4th grade), stories in the same genre (5th grade), or different forms (6th grade), using a Halloween theme makes the writing projects fun and interesting for students. In this set of free printables, you’ll receive this printable for students to compare the Grand High Witch from Dahl’s The Witches to the Wicked Witch of the West in Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Continue Reading

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