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Archive for the ‘Grade One Writing’ Category

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 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?




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


Fall is here and I thought it was time to get writing! We have taught nouns and verbs as part of our Reading Street Review Unit and now it was time to put them into barebone sentences. As part of our Written Expression Curriculum, we begin our year teaching the students the symbols for nouns and verbs. The straight bold line stands for our subject noun and the four mountains stand for our action verb. Once I taught those symbols, we were able to begin writing barebone sentences. 



I introduced the word "brainstorming" to my students and told them we were going to use all our thoughts and ideas to come up with a list of things we see in the Fall. 

I started with a big piece of chart paper and drew the noun symbol and verb symbol. As always, I begin with my objective stated in a student friendly way. Today we are going to write barebone sentences about the Fall. What things to we see the in the Fall? The kids had lots and lots of ideas, so I wrote each of their nouns on the paper. Once we had a good amount of nouns, I asked them what each one does. What do leaves do in the Fall? What do scarecrows do in the Fall? What does rain do in the Fall?

When we were done brainstorming, this is what we had:






Now, I wanted the kids to choose a barebone sentence from the chart and write it on their own paper. This was their graphic organizer. Each student wrote their noun and verb in the graphic organizer, then wrote their barebone sentence below. 

(To download the PDF, click on the image below)

Fall babrebone class book (gr org)

This student wrote: Wind blowing.


Before they wrote their sentence, we reviewed "What Makes a Great Sentence" pocket chart. 

We had been reviewing this for a few days, so the kids knew a lot about sentences. 


Then, each student wrote their sentence on the line. As each sentence was completed, I checked their sentences for a capital letter, space between words, and a period at the end of the sentence. 



When they each had a rough draft of their sentence. I had them write their sentence on the paper that would be going into the class book. This would be their final draft. 

Again, their barebone sentence was checked for a capital letter, space between the words, and a period at the end of the sentence. Once their sentence was checked, the students then illustrated their picture and colored the border. 

Here are a few examples of their work:


Wind blowing. 


Kids trick or treating.


(To download the PDF, click on the image below)

fall babre bone sentence

When we were done, my student teacher made the front cover, colored it, and laminated it. I used binder rings to put the book together and read the book to our students. Our first class book is done and ready for the classroom library!


To read more about barebone sentences using children's literature, click on the link below:

Teaching “Barebones Sentences” with Literature Tie-ins


postheadericon The Water Hole

The Water Hole by Graeme Base

A great read aloud story for the beginning of the year to teach several concepts.  I begin by teaching students about our special gathering place, the rug and connecting it to the pool of water that the animals gathered around.

I found a YouTube read aloud that the students can listen to during their Independent time.


Vocabulary- there aren't any key vocabulary words in this story but it does make for a great Science tie-in.  Some of the words I used in this lesson include: habitat, resource, conservation, cycle and environment.


Sentence Frame- Students fill in the frame using animals from the story.

A/An ________ is a/an _____________ that ___________ and (is) ________.

A ladybug is an insect that crawls and is tiny.



Speech Bubbles- Students illustrate conversation between the animals using speech bubbles.  Here is a link to a FREE download.

Speech Bubbles clip art and instructional tool

Discussion/Journal Questions

What happened to the water? Why do you think that?

  • Do you think the water come back?

•Why do we all need water?

•When the waterhole is getting smaller, how do you think the animals are feeling?

•Which animal from the story is your favorite. Tell about why this is your favorite animal. 


Habitat Match- Using the animals from the story, I created picture cards of each one along with picture cards of individual habitats.  Students will match the animal to it's habitat.

cards cards1 cards2 cards3

Hidden Pictures- Throughout this book there are animals hidden among the pictures.  Students can count the frogs hidden throughout the book.  The number of frogs goes down as the size of the water hole decreases.  There are less frogs because there is less water for them to live in.


Math Connection

  • Write the numbers 1-10 in numerals and words and draw animals to match each number (two tigers, three toucans etc).


  • Give the students ten pages with large numbers printed on them 1-10, so they can color in each number as an animal color as Graeme Base has done. Make these into their own book. Students will write the matching word underneath each number.


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