Early Writing Made Easy for Back to School

Join this hop as 20+ literacy professionals share Easy Routines for Back to School. Writing early and consistently in early grades is most important.
Back to school means a few things to me: 
  • new students
  • new classroom
  • new opportunities
  • routines
  • routines
  • routines
I get excited about all of the things on the list...even the routines. If we start the year off with routines, the students will become independent and need you less. They will also know exactly what you expect and what is expected from them. It's a win-win-win.
Join this hop as 20+ literacy professionals share Easy Routines for Back to School. Writing early and consistently in early grades is most important.

This Back To School post is special, several bloggers and I have teamed up for a FREE Back to School eBook...ready for you to download. Check the bottom for the link!

Sound Charts

I have said it before (about a hundred times) and I'll say it again (a hundred more)...every class needs a sound chart. The sound chart needs to be specific and chosen carefully. The letter/sound connections need to be deliberate. Sounds should be the linked for maximum use. Vowels should be short, and carefully chosen. E is the trickiest and "egg" is a great choice. You don't want to use "elephant" or "elevator," it becomes a l-controlled vowel. Consonants also need to be chosen carefully. G and C need to be the hard sound (gum and cat), not the lesser used soft G and C (gem and circle).

The routine for the Sound Chart evolves throughout the year, but it is shared daily.  As the year progresses, the sound chart, does as well. As the students are becoming independent and quick to echo or read, move to a new choice for review. It keeps engagement high.
  • Echo read each letter and sound DAILY.
  • Choral read each letter and sound DAILY.
  • Read the columns vertically, top to bottom, DAILY.
  • Read the columns vertically, bottom to top, DAILY.
  • Read the rows RIGHT-TO-LEFT DAILY.
  • Read the rows like you are following a snake...going left-to-right, then right-to-left, then back again DAILY.
  • Read 10 random letters DAILY.
  • Whatever you do, the routine needs to be DAILY.
When you download the eBook, there is a link to a FREE Sound Chart!

Four Square Writing

Join this hop as 20+ literacy professionals share Easy Routines for Back to School. Writing early and consistently in early grades is most important.
A simple idea for creating routines is using a 4 Square template. The template, designed by Judith Gould, is perfect for early writers. I have created templates for anything you need in the school year and tweaked the original 4 Square idea. The basic 4 square includes a topic box in the center, surrounded by 4 "squares" with a detail in each. This MEGA BUNDLE has 394 templates for a wise variety of writing topics and needs throughout the year.

Join this hop as 20+ literacy professionals share Easy Routines for Back to School. Writing early and consistently in early grades is most important.
As a whole group, students can be guided through writing 1 sentence a day for four days with an illustration day at the end OR 1 sentence a day for 5 days, with a topic sentence first. 

The key to using 4 Square early in the school year is making sure students are using word wall words as sentence starters and setting routines for writing each day. The routines need to include stretching and writing "what they hear" with connections to the sound chart and using the sound chart and word wall for the word patterns. 

Creating routines in the beginning and using them consistently can help all year!

Grab Your Copy of our Ebook

As I mentioned, we have compiled a Back to School Made Easy eBook with lots of ideas and lots of tips and tricks. Each page in the eBook has links to FREE and DISCOUNTED products for you. My sound chart set is included as an email subscriber freebie. You can unsubscribe any time if you do not wish to receive emails from me. Click below to download the ebook, but be sure to visit the other posts listed below.

Giveaway Time:

Guess what? ONE LUCKY PERSON will get a FREE copy of all the DISCOUNTED products. It's worth over $700.  Wouldn't that be amazing?
Join this hop as 20+ literacy professionals share Easy Routines for Back to School. Writing early and consistently in early grades is most important.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

View the other blog hop posts:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Poetry Center: A Process/Product Center

Poetry center is a process/product center, that is, you teach the process and change the product. It is an easy center for independence.

This a center that once the process is taught, it is Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy.  I had 2 poems my students do every morning during calendar time.  The first poem was a month poem.  I got the idea on-line (http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems68.html) and made a poem for each month. The poems give specifics about the months or hints to what they will learning about.  In November, it will talk about Pilgrims and Native Americans. In February, it will talk about the presidents. In March, it would talk about solid, liquid and gas. It just depends on the standards for that month. We start with an echo and 1-to-1 voice-to-print match. As the month goes on, they can read chorally and it doesn't take long at all. There are usually picture supports.  Up until I got a smart board, I had the poems on a chart.  Now, they are in my calendar smart board lesson.

Poem of the Week

Poetry center is a process/product center, that is, you teach the process and change the product. It is an easy center for independence.
Week 1 - Shared Reading

The other poem my students do daily is the Shared Reading Poem of the Week.  The poems range from nursery rhymes to poems made up specifically for our state standards.  These poems are typically 4 lines of text, however, some have 5.  Sometimes the poems have songs…but not always.  Some of the 5 line poems are to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot” (I’m a Little Scarecrow, I’m a Little Snowman, I’m a Little Leprechaun, and I’m a Little Sunflower).  These poems are read each day of the introduction week.  We echo and choral read. We also use the poems to discuss sight words and word family words. Sometimes we can discuss characters, settings, and events all in 4 lines of text.

Mentor Text: GoldiRocks and the Three Bears

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears is a great introduction to Compare and Contrast. What a fun twist on an old favorite.



Mentor texts are such an integral part of a great lesson. Teaching about something and connecting it to a book can make a lasting impression on students AND entertain them. They won't even know they are learning a lesson.

This is such a cute book.  It is perfect lesson for compare and contrast.  It's quite obviously a play on the traditional story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  I can see boys and girls both loving this book.  It is written with a limerick rhyme pattern that will keep everyone engaged. The Three Bears are in a rock band, but lack a lead singer. Who can possibly help them?

Mentor Text: the cow loves cookies

the cow loves cookies is a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.
Need quick lessons for mentor texts? This is it. The books will have a small FREEBIE and some ideas for sharing these with your students.

the cow loves cookies is a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.

This is such a cute book.  It has a great rhythm and you find yourself routing for the cow!  The book starts with the farmer feeding his animals.  The horse gets hay.  The chickens get feed.  The geese get corn.  The pigs get the gooey glop.  The dog gets doggie treats.  BUT the cow loves cookies.  And, by the way, the farmer loves cookies and... MILK. Everyone is happy.

Thrift Store Score: Mini Foam Cut-outs

Teachers are always on a budget. Before you spend a lot, check out the local thrift store for cheaper ways to make great centers.

I LOVE a thrift store! There is something about reusing someone else's discard that makes me feel good about the future, but I also like a bargain. Here's my latest find...for the classroom.

SHARK! Using Sharks to Engage Learners

Want a great way to engage students in learning...add a shark! Sharks are funny, sneaky, and even scary, but kids love them (at least on paper).

What better way to engage learners in the summer than sharks! They are funny (Baby Shark), sneaky (Finding Nemo) and Scary (Shark Week). Add sharks to the summer mix and it's already fun. 
Powered by Blogger.