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!


  1. I love your idea of having the children using greeting cards to identify voice. I love six traits and would love to use your lesson. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi there! I just stumbled onto your blog - and am SO glad that I did! I love your greeting cards sorting activity. I've added it (and your HOOK poster) to my implement-ASAP list! :)

    I'm your newest follower - I'll be checking back soon! :)

    Joy in the Journey

  3. I LOVE all your writing ideas!! I'm your newest follower!

  4. Hello I am your newest follower! I am also a 4th grade teacher! You have great ideas!


  5. I love your blog lay out and I just added so much of your stuff to my TPT wish list! Thanks :)

    I have nominated you for the Leibster award! Stop on by my blog to read more about it! {I hope you follow me if you are not already following me - I love following you!}

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