Saturday, October 20, 2012

Teaching Voice & Freebie Printable!

Of all the "6+1" writing traits, I've always thought that voice reigns supreme. A student's story can have all the bells and whistles; well-organized paragraphs, vivid word choice, neat handwriting, perfect spelling and punctuation, etc., but if the student does not showcase their own voice, it comes off boring or formulaic to the reader. Voice is what makes the composition authentic and memorable. The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli is a book that I read every year to teach the importance of showing voice in everything we write. 

The perfect read-aloud to teach the importance of VOICE!

Since it's a quick read-aloud, it allows time for an awesome follow-up activity that I stole from 6+1 Traits of Writing by Ruth Culham. I told my students that greeting card writers are the real masters of showing voice because nobody wants to buy a card for a friend or relative that shows no personality or feeling! I put them in groups of 3-4 and had them categorize a stack of random greetings cards into 4 categories:

Sentimental (serious, from the heart, and often lengthy)
Humorous (makes you laugh)
Short and sweet (has a brief yet meaningful message)
VOICELESS (How did this card make it off the shelf?!)

They did so well with sorting carefully, and they enjoyed reading the cards more than I expected! I hope we can reflect back on this activity every time we talk about showing voice. 

In other news, I've been keeping up with my "Writer of the Week," inspired by Pinterest! Each writer of the week gets the fancy certificate pictured below. In celebration of reaching 100 followers, I thought I'd make it a freebie for all you hardworking writing teachers out there! Let's remember to keep rewarding our budding writers!

Download the freebie HERE!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Hook ' Yer Reader" Part 2!

It's official... school being in full swing has definitely taken a lot of my time and energy that could be spent blogging, but don't give up on me! There are still plenty of writing goodies to go around!

You may have read my previous post about three easy and effective ways for kids to HOOK their readers. I just finished introducing leads with my students, and they are already impressing me! With lots of modeling and showcasing author examples, the kids will get more and more confident with writing their own leads. Anchor charts always help, too!

Anchor chart used to teach leads

After introducing three ways to hook the reader (through this freebie!) I created a little homework assignment that challenged them to revise boring beginnings and write their own hooks. It was a short yet challenging little exercise! I hope you can use this in your classroom, too!

Click HERE to download it!