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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

postheadericon Writing: Project Read Written Expression in the Third Grade



Writing in the Third Grade

       This year, one of my goals is to bring our writing program, Written Expression, up to the third grade. Project Read Written Expression is taught from kindergarten through second grade in our building. But now the question is, what about third and fourth grade?  As always, bringing a new curriculum into higher grade levels means training for the teachers, mapping out the curriculum, and deciding what skills each grade level will be teaching. 


      To begin the year, I started teaching my students about a sentence. I spent a couple of weeks reviewing what a great sentence has and what a great sentence looks like. As you can see, we started simply with a capital letter, spaces, and punctuation. We also reviewed that a sentence has two parts, a subject and a predicate. Then, I started to introduce the expanders. We have had some practice with the "Where" expander, so I thought it time to practice writing a few sentences. 



A fun activity using expanders:

I collected some magazines and catalogs and cut out some pictures and laminated them. When I was looking for pictures I thought about finding a picture that had a clear subject noun, a verb, and a "Where" expander. 



Then, I gave each student a graphic organizer to build their sentence. I had the kids in small groups of six, and each student had a partner within the group. 

I put a picture at each table. The students moved from table to table and wrote a sentence about what was happening in the picture. 




When the students were done, they had five great sentences about each picture. We are off to a great start! Now, we begin the paragraph writing! 



postheadericon Collaborative Writing in the Classroom: A writing lesson using Project Read Written Expression


We read the story, "Life in the Forest". At the end of the week, it was time to do some writing.  In my classroom, writing has been modeled throughout the year. I have modeled everything from the sentence frame, to barebone sentences, to sentence structure, and  using expanders to create a detailed sentence.

We are currently writing sentences with a subject, verb, a "where" expander, and a "when" expander. 


In this lesson, I wanted students to:

1. Respond (in writing) to a prompt.

2. Brainstorm and use a graphic organizer to organize their ideas and thoughts.

3. Write at least 3 sentences using a where expander and a when expander. 


4. Students were going to work in a small group, in pairs, to brainstorm and create a sentence that would later be part of the bigger writing assignment. In a sense, this was a jigsaw writing lesson. 


So, let's get started! 



In this lesson, I am using our "Framing Your Thoughts" book. This lesson incorporates writing a sentence with a subject, verb, and two expanders. 



In the story, "Life In The Forest" there are lots of animals. Kids love animals, have lots of knowledge about animals, and therefore can write a sentence easily about a given animal. 


I used plan ol' index cards and chose four animals from the story. I wrote each animal on a card. The students were then placed with a partner and received an animal card. They were instructed to work together to create a sentence about their animal. 





Using our Written Expression curriculum, I quickly created three graphic organizers (for students to write on) that would incorporate a subject, verb, a "where" expander, and a "when" expander. Students worked in pairs to create a sentence about their animal. 

This student wrote "Birds eat bugs in the trees in the morning"

NOTE: We haven't done the "what" expander yet, so the student put "eat bugs" under the verb for the time being. As the year goes on, the student will learn that "bug" is a "what" expander. 



When each partner group was done and their sentences were looked at and corrected, we were then ready to put all our sentences on the graphic organizer. 

I asked each partner group to share their sentence. As they did so, I wrote their sentence on the board for the group to copy onto their graphic organizer. We did each sentence one-by-one. 

The sentences they created say:

Animals eat in the forest all day. 

Birds eat in the tree in the morning. 

Woodpeckers peck in the tree in the morning.

Bugs live in the forest all day. 



Once the graphic organizer was done, the students were able to write their paragraph. For those who didn't finish at the teacher table, they were given the graphic organizer to finish independantly in a center. We have done a lot of writing this year and the students have had lots of practice using this graphic organizer, so they are comfortable writing sentences with a completed graphic organizer. 

Below, you will see a finished writing sample. 




How do you incorporate collaborative writing into your writing curriculum? Educator Station would love to hear from you! 



postheadericon Teaching Character Traits- Kindness

This month we are learning how to be caring individuals.

November is a great month to teach Random Act of Kindness.

September- Responsibility


November- Kindness

December- Respect


February- Fairness

March- Courage

April- Determination

May – Cooperation

June- Sportsmanship

Let's take a closer look at November- Kindness.  I've compiled a list of books to use throughout the month.  I will also give you some ideas for activities that can be done to reinforce the trait.


Books that teach Kindness

One Grain of Rice

The Teddy Bear

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: an African tale

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen


Great Joy

Bear Feels Sick

Those Shoes

Stand in My Shoes


Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler


Anchor Chart

What a Kind person looks like:

  • compassionate and show they care
  • express gratitude
  • forgive others
  • help people in need


Kindness Game

Have the children gather in a large circle and throw a ball to another person in the circle. When they throw the ball, have them say something kind to the other person. That person then throws the ball to another person and says something kind. Make sure everyone has a turn (both hears and says something kind). For the second round, explain they need to say something nice about themselves and allow time for everyone to have a turn.


Writing Journal:

  • Gratitude Journal- Who/What are you grateful for?


  • Thank You Letter- Write a letter to someone who has given you something or done something kind.

postheadericon Barebone Sentence Center: Roll, Write, and Read



We have been teaching Barebone Sentences using our Project Read: Written Expression Curriculum. I wanted to create a center where students could create barebone sentences and practice writing them independently. 


I wanted the students to be able to practice:

1. Beginng their sentence with a capital letter. 

2. Putting spaces between their words

3. Ending their sentence with a period. 


I bought these large foam dice at the Dollar Tree. These are great to use in the classroom. I often use them for centers and teacher table time. 




Then, I came home and created the labels for the dice. 

I printed these labels, laminated, and cut them out. Then, I put all the subject nouns on one die and then put all the verbs on the other die. I used a hot glue craft gun to adhere the labels onto the foam. 

barebone sentence roll


When the sets were finished, they were ready for the students to use.



Before I put anything into an independant center, I always model how to use the materials at my teacher table. Once I feel the students are able to do this independantly, I then put it out into an independent center. 




This student rolled the dice and got the words "Birds hop." 

As you can see, she has started her sentences with an uppercase letter. She has spaces between her words, and has a period at the end of her sentence. She is off to a great start! A writer in the making! 




Same thing with this student. He wrote three silly barebone sentences. He has started his sentences with an uppercase letter. He has spaces between his words, and has a period at the end of his sentences. He is also off to a great start! Another great writer in the making! 



I have now used this as a center a few times and the students really seem to love it. They have fun with the dice and at the same time are practicing their writing, sentence structure, and mastering their barebone sentences. 


For other posts on Barebone sentences, see:

Teaching “Barebones Sentences” with Literature Tie-ins

Barebone Class Book: What Do We See in the Fall?




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