Just a Little Post It

Some lessons take days worth of prep.  But sometimes all you need is just one little post it note.

I worked in a first grade classroom last week.  I loved teaching writing and was excited the class was working on small moments.  I know two things that are complete true about first graders and writing.

1.  If you let first graders draw before they write, they will never get around to writing.
2.  If you let first graders talk, they will never get around to writing.

BUT, I also know these two things to be true.

1.  If you let first graders draw before they write, their stories will be more focused and detailed.
2.  If you let first graders talk, the telling of their story is a great rehearsal for their writing.

How do you work with these opposing truths to get your kiddos writing?  Because they're both 100% true.
First, I started by sketching my small moment.  I sketched quickly, and in pencil.  We discussed how these are not masterpieces, but a way to keep our story focused on the moment.  We also noticed how I did not wake up and eat breakfast in the picture.  ; )

Then, I practiced telling the story to them.  This is an important step to connect to writing.  Kids tell great stories.  Then they write, "This is the time my dog chewed up her toy."  I told them that if you can tell a good story, you can write a good story because writing is just taking words from the air and putting them on paper.

After that, I wrote my story.  No pictures of that.  Oops.  The kids sketched and discussed their stories.  After that, it was voices off and time to write.  And you know what?  Everybody did.  There was no, "I don't know what to write."  I did encourage them to describe what they saw and add in thoughts or feelings.

How do you get your kiddos focused on a moment?

your photo name


  1. You are welcome to come teach writing anytime! We used your story the next day to discuss punctuation in our writing, too.


  2. What? Waking up and eating breakfast are crucial to any good piece of writing! Or so the second graders think...

    I had my students tell their stories to each other last week, and I hope it helped...

  3. Your theories couldn't be more true! :) I think I need to let them talk out their ideas more--that's what I do when I get writer's block!


  4. I have been a follower / stalker for quite some time and love your new varied teaching life stories. Even with ELA 6, letting them draw and doodle a bit first sure gets a better story out of my budding authors! Thanks for the fun post.

    Joanne M
    Come visit and follow me at Traveling Though Sixth