Grade: Elementary
Subject: 4 Blocks

#1867. second grade writing lessons

4 Blocks, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Jul 23 21:26:04 PDT 2000 by deb (
Concepts Taught: writing

Rubric Area: Content and Ideas
Brainstorming lots of topics

FLUENT 1. Writing workshop mini lesson generating ideas to write about.
Tell me what you know. Tell me what you wonder. What questions do you have about this entry? Where's the mystery here for you? One book that leads to writing is Aunt Flossie's Hats by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard. It says, "We pick out hats and try them on. Aunt Flossie says they are her memories, and each hat has a story..." The tale goes on to tell a story or adventure about each hat. After reading aloud the story, say to the students, "I suppose we each have things in our house, in our families, that hold stories. I am thinking about the dusty old animal cages in the garage that my family has. Once it was a home for a baby crow, another time, it was held a litter of baby rabbits." Send students on their way to write thinking of their own treasures in their own houses. Some more books that recall memories are: My Grandmother's Cookie Jar by Montzalee Miller, The Button Box by Margaret Reid, and Ruth Heller's The Front Hall Carpet.

FLUENT 2. Writing workshop procedure mini lesson Getting the kid to write.
To mobilize a student to write, have a conversation with the student. "I don't got nothing to say." Let's make a list of what you're an expert about. "I'm not an expert about anything ...........TV that's all. ..... and baseball." Maybe he mutters, "almost got a home run." In just one hit? Tell me about it. After hearing a few sentences, say, "Would you put that down on paper. Just how you described it to me?" Teacher stares at paper and repeats what he said. Wait expectantly. Do not ask or coax, just wait staring at the paper and if you feel you need to walk away and go help another child. Do not coax. He must learn to write for himself, not to your agenda.

FLUENT 3. Writing workshop mini lesson Brainstorming topics.
On one color paper or a 12 inch by 18 inch paper (big) brainstorm possible topics. First the teacher lists about six broad, general topics on board and reads them to class. Then teacher has students write possible topics for two minutes. Interrupt them saying, "Raise your hand if you have ridden on a train? If you have ridden in a plane? If you have driven a tractor?" Record more topics (for two minutes.) "Have you ever done something embarrassing? Consoled a friend? Given a gift you've made?" Add to your list.

FLUENT 4. Writing workshop mini lesson Brainstorming more topics.
I also ask have any of you ever been in kindergarten. What's your teacher's name, write it down. What do you remember the most. I usually tell them something I remember from kindergarten. Have any of you ever been in first grade? Etc. What about second? Have you ever had a field trip? What was the best part? Add ideas to your list of possibilities.

FLUENT 5. Writing workshop mini lesson What do you know about?
Help the children list what they know about. Give them classifications (pets, family members, school kids, friends, field trips, zoo, Walmart). They can record possible writing ideas on the front of their writing notebook, on a colored piece of paper, whatever the teacher wishes.

FLUENT 6. Writing workshop mini lesson daily writing journal.
Children who write in a journal tell about their lives every day are developing a ready list of topics they can then extend into a more detailed story. In second grade children write a dialogue journal with their teacher. The child writes about his/her day. The teacher writes a question or comment back modeling the correct spelling without making the children fix it.

FLUENT 7. Writing workshop mini lesson modeling how to write.
Before each writing session, we did a daily news or some kind of modeled or interactive writing. This helped the children have clear expectations of what to do. I modeled what to do when I came to a word that was tricky ('stretch" the word to hear the sounds, clap long words to hear the "chunks"), how to find words on the word wall, etc. Included in that modeling session, I did a quick McCracken lesson before I began writing. I gave them the tools they needed to get started. We started the year writing diary type journals because recalling daily events was easier for the kids than to make up a story. This way they could concentrate on writing words. Once they felt more comfortable in their writing (taking risks through invented spelling and a bank of high frequency known words including using the word wall) I began to model other types of writing. I would model for a long time before I would require them to begin writing different genres but they were always allowed to start earlier if they wished. Most did.

Rubric Area: Content and Ideas
Brainstorming the Development of one topic
EARLY 1. Writing Workshop mini lesson teacher modeling writing for the whole class. We decide on a topic. Teacher begins recording on chart paper the sentences as they say them. (It is important to for them to see that what is said is what I write and what I write is what they said.) As I am writing I talk. For example, "sentences begin with a capital". Teacher should actually sound out words so kids hear what is being said. Teacher should say, "A finger space goes between words." Once again explaining what a word is. Teachers need to say, "At the sentence you put a period." She should be explaining again that the end of a sentence is not necessarily at the end of the line. Then the class reads the story whole group as the teacher points to the words.

EARLY 9. Writing Workshop mini lesson modeling taking mapping and writing a story. Once the kids are keeping their brainstorm paper on topic, teacher should begin modeling mapping and writing a story, while checking off the mapping words. After several teacher think-alouds the kids begin to map and write stories themselves.

FLUENT 1. Writing workshop mini lesson Using the senses. Get the five senses involved. Ask probing questions that stir memories. Christmas was fun. How was it fun. Who came? What did they wear? Think about Christmas. Could you hear the sleigh bells jingling. How did Christmas dinner taste? Was the turkey juicy or dry? Did your aunt's special pudding make you gag? How did it taste? How did it smell? What sounds did you hear? What did you see? Was the present as big as a tree? Was the dinner disgusting or the best turkey you've ever eaten?

FLUENT 7. Writing workshop mini lesson Titles. Last night I was thinking about your titles. If you are writing about your dog, your title is My Dog. Think about how you might change that label to a title. Give examples of titles of books that students are familiar with. One example may be, Where the Red Fern Grows which is about two dogs. Another example is a story called The Trip which we all know as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

FLUENT 11. Writing workshop mini lesson TAP (topic, audience, purpose). Read Owl Moon. In the story the little girl learns to go owling from her father. What have you learned from someone?
Brainstorm possible topics: tie a shoe hunting ride a bike playing scouts fishing golf
whistle cooking cookies drive a car mac and cheese embroidery

Brainstorm / Plan one topic:
Topic: making mac and cheese
Audience: kindergartners
FLUENT 12. Writing workshop mini lesson bubbles. Take the children outside during recess to blow bubbles. What was it like? Brainstorm words all together. Then have the kids brainstorm for 1 minute alone. Then have the kids partner or small group share their words. Then large group share. Have them write about a time they played with bubbles. It could be this time. It could be a special memory. Where do you find bubbles? What have ever done with bubbles? Have you played with them in the bathtub? This ties in to second grade science objectives too.

FLUENT 13. Writing workshop mini lesson helium filled balloons. Bring in a garbage bag of helium filled balloons. Have the class work together to keep the balloons up in the air. Then brainstorm words all together. Where do you find balloons? What are your memories of balloons? Then have the kids brainstorm for 1 minute alone. Then have the kids partner or small group share their words. Then large group share. Have them write about a time they played with balloons. It could be this time. It could be a special memory.

FLUENT 14. Writing workshop mini lesson teacher modeling how to write a story.
This mini lessons should be done many many MANY many times. Tell the children that today during the writing workshop you will show them how to write a story. Explain that they have a job to do while you are writing your story: it will be their job to use their eyes, their ears, and their brains. They are to use their eyes to watch everything you do. They are to use their ears to listen to everything you say. They are to use their brains to remember what they see and hear so they will know how to write a story.

First, talk about your story. What are some things that I know about that I could write a story about?
I could write a story about...
I think I'll write a story about...
Where will my story take place?
Who will be in my story?
What will the problem be?
How will I solve the problem?
What words will start my story?

Second, write your story using the chalkboard, chart paper, an overhead projector. Make some or all of the following mistakes:
omit some words
omit some capital letters
omit some punctuation marks
use some incorrect words
use some incorrect spellings

Reread your story often while writing. Add any missing words. Correct incorrect words by putting one line through the incorrect word. Correct spelling and punctuation errors. When you are finished, have the children tell everything they saw and heard you do while you were writing your story. Record their responses on a chart. Post the chart for future reference.

FLUENT 15. Writing workshop mini lesson using picture clues to improve detail to stories.

Rubric Area: Content and Ideas
Beginnings and Endings
FLUENT 3. Writing workshop mini lesson circular ending. (Craft Lessons) Read the following poem with your students. Then lead a discussion. The first time we read the first line, "My Grandpa is not around" we feel a little sad. It's a whole different reaction by the last time we read, "My Grandpa is not around". We feel real sad because we've read about all the things the girl had done with her Grandpa. This kind of ending gives the writing balance by using the same thing at the beginning and at the end. Keep this in mind when you write the ending to the piece you're working on.

My Grandpa
Written by Jeanine Cozzens (third grade)
My Grandpa is not around.
I loved him.
He used to give me candy.
He takes me places.
He used to take me swimming.
He delivered me and my sister and brother.
I liked when he held me.
My Grandpa is not around.

Rubric Area: Mechanics / Conventions
Working with Words

FLUENT 1. Writing workshop mini lesson Conventions using CUPS. At the bottom of the child's writing papers the acronym CUPS is written. After the students write their stories I walk them through a "CUPS".

I say, "Put a C on your paper, do through your sentences and if you have capitals, put a star over the C. If you need capitals, fix them and THEN put the star over the c." (My goal is to make them more aware of correct sentence form, not whether they "did it right" the first time.)
Then I repeat for U (understanding, does your sentences make sense).
Then I repeat for P (punctuation).
Then I repeat for S (Spelling). Ask the kids, "Did you spell the word wall words correctly?" "Or did you write down the sounds you hear in the words?" I make a poster to have in the classroom as a reference. The poster should not be made ahead of time. The class with teacher guidance should make the poster. There will be more buy in if they are included.


FLUENT 2. Writing workshop mini lesson Stretching A Word For Spelling
Stretching a word like a rubber band. They listen slowly to the component sounds. "Does anyone have a special word we could spell together?" The children suggested spaghetti, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and hippopotamus. The class worked together to say it as slowly as the teacher goes, like a rubber band. Then asks, "What sounds do you hear?" She transcribes the children's guesses on the chalkboard. The purpose is not to spell the words correctly but to model one way of spelling words. She wrote done incorrect letters.

FLUENT 3. Writing workshop mini lesson Spelling Children are uneasy about invented spelling. Ask your students: "Who is the boss of your book?" The student says, "I am." "Who makes decisions about your story?" Once again the student says, "I do." "Who decides how you will spell a word?" The students chorus, "You do!" NO! They are the boss of their spelling in the writing time. Later when it comes to editing, we'll clean it up for the public. Just do your best. Do what you can, and don't worry. You can provide dictionaries for their use, and we still have spelling words to increase their sight word vocabulary but during the writing of ideas, don't sweat the spelling. Word walls and teaching children to see patterns in words is way important too. (Just remember right now the main focus is ideas, not spelling, not handwriting.)

Rubric Area: Mechanics / Conventions

FLUENT 1. Writing Workshop mini lesson Words that the child is accountable for
In the writing folder, there is a paper with the heading, "Words I know". Once a child has demonstrated consistently the correct spelling of a word, it is added to his " words I know" sheet. If the child writes a "words I know" word wrong, he is held accountable to fix it. Classroom word walls may provide other words that the child can be held accountable for. (see back of packet for example)

FLUENT 2. Writing Workshop mini lesson I am learning to and I can! To help assist teachers in keeping track of the stars and wishes that each child has, there is a paper in the writing folder with the labels, "I am learning" and "I can!" When the child does something consistently, the teacher records the date under the "I can!" (see back of packet for example)

Rubric Area: Style
Writing for a Purpose
FLUENT 1. Writing workshop mini lesson Language Experience Story. After a field trip, the teacher gathers the children around chart paper. They write about their common experience.

FLUENT 2. Writing workshop mini lesson Letters after field trip. After a field trip students can reflect on what they've learned. The kids will have a hands on experience. They will discuss what they've experienced, including questions and discussions about the field trip.

FLUENT 3. Writing workshop mini lesson writing for a purpose.
Pen pals
complaint letter
business letter

FLUENT 4. Writing workshop mini lesson make writing experiences authentic
Write a letter to the principal telling him that they want a better lunch selection. (or tell him/her that he/she is doing a great job).
Once my kids were a little more confident in their writing, I would allow them to use journal time to write important notes. (For example, if their ball went on the roof at recess they could write a note to the janitor. Our janitor LOVED this and we always got our balls back first.)
Or if there was a problem/argument at recess..... I would tell them to write it down so they wouldn't forget and I would solve the problem when I had both sides in writing...... etc. When I taught 2nd grade (though you could easily adjust this to 1st as the kids get more proficient) I would have the kids write a letter to their parents every Friday telling them of what we had done all week. the parents loved this!

FLUENT 8. Writing workshop mini lesson Adding Description with 5Ws and more
First the class read a nonfiction book. Then the students offered the sentences about the main ideas. The teacher lists these on chart paper writing big enough so the children can see the words. Teacher doesn't correct grammar or ideas. Then the teacher cuts apart the story into sentences and tapes them in sequence on board so writing can be added under the headings. Then teacher rereads their story and asking 5W questions, encouraging details. The teacher guides them to add more details. This needs to be modeled over and over and over.
First Draft:
Firemen put out fires on houses.
They save animals.
They have a firedog called Dalmatian.
They have a red fire truck.
They have a siren on the top.

Firemen are always ready to help. Firemen put out fires on houses. The fire is very hot and smokey. They feel hot and sweaty. They save animals that can't get out of the fire. People love their pets. They have a firedog called Dalmatian that have really good noses and ears. Sometimes the dog finds kids in a fire. They have a red or yellow fire truck. On the truck there are ladders, hoses, tools, and everything else they need to put out a fire. They have a siren on the top of the truck, which makes lots of noise so people can hear them coming and get out of the way. Firemen have yellow and red suits that are fireproof. They have masks to help them breathe. They have a firehouse where they eat and sleep for two days at a time so they are ready for the fire. Firemen are our heros!

Rubric Area: Organization
Paragraph Form
EARLY 1. Writing Workshop mini lesson expanding "I like".
Children pick a favorite sentence from a story and expand on that one sentence.
For example, a child writes a story.
I like my mom.
I like my dad.
I like my dog.
I like my friend.

Then the teacher has the child pick one sentence to write another story from. Child picks, "I like mydog." The child brainstorms different things about a dog: bark had since a puppy
brown fetches

FLUENT 1. Writing workshop mini lesson Improving Organization.
Students write about an art project they have created to write a paragraph with teacher modeling. Follow these steps:
1. Prior to the writing lesson, have the children create an art project.
2. Have the children brainstorm ways of describing their projects. Record their responses on chart paper.
3. Distribute writing paper and ask them to write a topic sentence telling what they made. (I painted a jungle.)
4. Afterwards, instruct them to write three sentences that tell more about the project. Tell them to describe their work with more details. (The trees in the jungle are green. A swinging monkey is in the tree. A yellow lion is walking in the jungle.)
5. Attach the writing to the art project.
6. Share/Celebrate/Publish the final product (maybe class book).

FLUENT 2. Writing workshop mini lesson Important Poems
Read the book, The Important Book, by Margaret Brown Wise. If you read her book this makes more sense. She writes "The most important thing about pencils (anything) is you write with them. They
have erasers, they help you do your work. And I have 5 with sharpened points. But the most important thing about pencils is you write with them. The students can use this poem as a guide to write their own

FLUENT 3. Writing workshop mini lesson Safe Topic Sentences.
In grades 2-3, provide the students with a list of safe topic sentences. Have students choose a topic. Then choose one of the following topic sentences. Then have student write three sentences providing the details. I have found that my 2nd graders are very good at writing the "middles" of stories. However they were not good at writing a topic sentence or a concluding sentence. In a grad class on reading strategies a fellow classmate had a poster that she used to guide the students in picking out a "safe topic" sentence. She had the poster up in the room and kids picked one whenever they were beginning to write a story. I modeled how to pick a safe topic sentence MANY many many times before assuming the kids could/would on their own. After reading a science unit on Magnets, I had them pick one of the following three safe topic sentences: 1. Let me tell you about magnets. 2. Have you ever wondered about magnets? 3. I know a lot about magnets.

Then they wrote three or four sentences about magnets after the safe topic sentence. I repeated this activity using different subjects many times throughout the year of 2nd grade. In third the teachers use these heavily for the first marking period and then the kids seem to internalize them and really know what a topic sentence is for. The list below are the sentence "frames" then the kids fill in the missing parts of the sentence with their subject.

Let me tell you about...
Have you ever wondered about...
Have you ever wondered why...
I like to _______ for many reasons.
I know how to_______. First ...
I think _______ was ______ for many reasons.
I just learned facts about...
Let me tell you how ______ and ________ are alike.
Let me tell you how ______ and ______ are different.
It's fun to ________. First you...
Many changes happen to ________ as they grow.
People used to think ________, but now we know...
_______ was a ________ person.

Paragraph Form Continued...
FLUENT 4. Writing workshop mini lesson Writing a Paragraph with Safe Topic Sentence. Read informational article provided in scholastic news or weekly reader. Partner one tells everything he knows about what was read. Switch. Partner two tells everything she knows about what was read. Pick a Safe Topic sentence. Write three details from the article that was read.

Beginning Middle End
FLUENT 1. Writing workshop mini lesson pass and share.
Three students write one story. The first child writes the beginning of a story for 10 minutes. The first child hands the story to the second child who reads it, and continues the story. Second child can't end it. Then the third child reads the story so far and then ties the 2 paragraphs together and ends the story.

FLUENT 2. Writing workshop mini-lesson beginning, middle, end
beginning high interest; short; "gotcha" interest in story; a hook
middle meat; information; description; message; tell
end feeling of completion; short; memories; hopes; reflections

FLUENT 3. Writing workshop mini-lesson using good literature to introduce beginning, middle, end.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs Judi Barrett
Sun Up, Sun Down Gail Gibbons
The Great Escape Eileen Christelow
Rosie's Walk By Pat Hutchins
Make Way for Ducklings By Robert McCloskey
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp By Deborah Hantzia