Two Quick Writing Tips

Super jealous of everyone who has been decorating their rooms!  I still can't get in, so I am trying to do as much as possible from home...which pretty much means creating a mess all over my living room floor which then ends up overwhelming me.

I'm just stopping in two share two quick tips that I learned at a writing workshop last week.  We had three days of writing training with Dr. Joyce Armstrong Carroll from Abydos Learning.  It was mostly geared towards STAAR (our state assessment in Texas) so although good information it was not all directly relevant to second grade.

But, two things really did stick with me as I was thinking about my incoming second graders.

Narrative Writing:

When my students write personal narratives, they often end up writing a list that seems more like expository writing.  For example, if they are writing about everything that is at Six Flags...is that really a story?  

Ah ha!:  They need to have a problem.

This makes perfect sense, but doesn't always happen.  Thinking about it, it seems like a simple way to make writing a lot better. Adding in that someone got lost, lost their wallet, or that it started to rain at that trip to Six Flags makes the writing a little more interesting and more story-like.  I would also help kids naturally frame their writing with a beginning, middle, and end.

Expository Writing:

In Texas, we call the topic sentence/main idea in writing the "central idea."  Sometimes kids have a hard time staying focused on their topic.  They get sidetracked and include irrelevant information.

Ah ha!:  The central idea is the writer's "promise" to the reader.

I think my students will really like this concept.  They simply need to keep their promise to the reader.  That means they need to stay on topic and complete their writing about whatever they "promised" to share.  It might help them weed out what doesn't belong and is more child friendly.  Better than leaving them thinking that the teacher doesn't like that sentence, but having no idea why!

I hope someone can use these ideas...I definitely plan to this year!

4 comments

  1. I love the promise to the reader idea! So great!

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  2. Calling it the promise to the reader really hits home the purpose of the writing. Definitely going to borrow that idea! :)

    Jennifer
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

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  3. We do a lot of activities in my classroom about narrowing the focus because I think this is a common problem in narrative writing. Heck, it's a common problem when they tell stories in class too! haha! Great idea!

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  4. Good way to look at it! I totally agree about the personal narrative need for a problem. Thanks!
    -Lisa
    Grade 4 Buzz

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