Friday, March 7, 2014

5 Star Writing {& a freebie}

This year, my school set a goal to improve in writing. I will admit, while I love doing writing activities with my class, I am definitely not an expert when it comes to teaching writing. I think that's because we don't have to take standardized writing tests in second grade, so I've never stressed about it too much. I have my kids write in their journals each day, but it's more just for leisure as it's not graded. And while we do write stories and stuff, it's just never been the biggest focal point of my instruction (perhaps because the math and reading instruction take up so much time every day!)

Anyway, my principal bought each of us a "four-square writing" book at the beginning of the year, and it's been somewhat helpful, but there was still something missing and I couldn't quite put my finger on it.... Until now!!

Last month, we had a training with all of the lower grade teachers, and one of our kindergarten teachers shared with us a great freebie she had found on TPT. It was exactly what was missing from my writing instruction.... Except that it was designed specifically for kindergarten, and revolved around only writing ONE sentence. I decided to make my own poster, and also a kid-friendly checklist for my students to complete as they work on their writing.
** please note, I tried to contact the original creator of the kindergarten writing posters, but she never wrote back to me, so I hope she doesn't mind me re-working  the poster to suit the needs of my second graders.**

Here is my version of "5 start writing"... I love that it is very simple and straightforward. I emailed the poster to my principal and he was nice enough to order them in poster size from our district print shop so that we can hang them in our classrooms. And while this was designed with second grade in mind, many teachers in our building ordered it for upper grade classrooms too, so it's very versatile and can be used across many grade levels. (There is also a kindergarten version that has the 5 steps for writing just one sentence if you want that one instead.)

This week, as my class was working on their "Cat in the Hat" stories for Dr. Seuss week, they had to keep revising their rough drafts until it was perfect "5 star writing" in order to be given the cute stationary to publish their stories. Many students are still working on their 5 stars and will continue working on their stories next week, as they refine their "5 star" skills!

This has been a great motivator in my classroom, and I hope it's something you can use too! What do you do for writing instruction??


  1. This is great...except I'd have to tweak mine to include a sentence that does not fill the page! (Otherwise, they would happily give themselves a star for a capital letter (one!) and a period (one!) Thanks for sharing!