Writing Activities for the Beginning of the Year

Writing has always held a very, very special place in my teacher heart. I wanted to share some tips and resources on how to create an environment where your young writers feel free to take risks and get their creative juices flowin’!
One of the biggest changes I made in my classroom last year that inspired my students to want to write was that I created a space that was SOLELY theirs! Everything at the station was for them to use without having to ask for permission. It held writing prompts, journals, tape, stickers, scissors, lap desks, different types of paper for writing, envelopes, and even blank books for writing “chapter books”. They LOVED using their writing station during Daily Five time! They would walk up to the station, grab what they need, and then find a comfy spot in the classroom to write.
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And…WOW….did they write…
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…and write some more!
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To help you kick off a successful year of writing in your classroom, I created some fun and engaging activities that are perfect for your young writers, just like the ones in the pictures above!
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I’ve broken down everything that you’ll find in this writing resource packet below. I hope these resources come in handy in your classroom!
Write At Home Tip Sheet:
In my experience, I’ve found that many parents have difficulty knowing what is the right thing to do when it comes to writing. Often, I would receive e-mails and phone calls about how to approach writing at home. Parents were worried they were pushing their children too much or not pushing them enough!
I made the following “Write at Home” tip sheet to help give parents some guidance on how to tackle writing at home. The message I wanted to make clear to parents is that writing should be FUN for their child.

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This is the front of the sheet. I’ve included simple writing activities that your students can do at home on the back.

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Writing Expert Rosie Story:
Writing Expert Rosie teaches children to take risks, have fun, and be creative when it comes to writing!
I suggest reading this story at the beginning of the year during one of the first few days of school. This little story will act as an excellent anchor to kick-off Daily 5/literacy centers in your classroom. After you’ve read the book to the class, laminate it and put it in your classroom library!

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“Just Write” or “Not Quite” Activity #1:
Your students will get a KICK out of this activity! This is a great activity to do at the beginning of the year (regardless of how much you want your children to write initially).
The activity can be done as a whole group (or at table groups, if you are feeling brave!). Tell your students that you did some writing last night/over the weekend and that you need some help deciding which writing pieces are “writing expert worthy.” Read and hold up Sample 1. Read it aloud to the class. Then, read and hold up Sample 2 and read it aloud. One of the writing samples is VERY OBVIOUSLY more “writing expert worthy” than the other. Have your students turn and talk about WHY. I suggest writing their ideas on the board as they share them. Also, be sure to spend time looking at/discussing the illustrations. Then, taking what was discussed, emphasize to your students the importance of adding details to their writing and illustrations!
Just a Note: I know that many students come at the beginning of the year not able to write much; however, it is still VITAL to expose and help them recognize great writing samples! Hang these writing samples in your classroom for students to refer back to all year long! These will act as great models.

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“Ready to be a Writing Expert?” or “Not Yet?” Activity #2:
This activity can be completed as a whole group or table groups (if you teach an older grade). Students will be introduced to 10 different characters. Each character is behaving a different way while writing. Your class must determine whether their behavior is “Writing Expert” behavior or not. (Example: “Ellie neatly puts away all of her writing supplies when it is time to clean up.”) This is an excellent activity for students to act out and spend time discussing.
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Writing Expert Journal:
After reading the story about Writing Expert Rosie, present your students with a Writing Expert Journal. Tell them that they are going to place all of their “writing expert research” inside.
The sheets included in this packet were made specifically for the beginning of the year to help you kick off writing in your classroom. However, your students can continue to use their “Writing Expert Journals” throughout the year by having them place any other important organizers in it or having them use it to complete journal entries.
This is the Writing Expert notebook and a few of the sheets included in this packet! I suggest making a BIG, HUGE deal about these and explain how important it is to covet this journal! Be sure to allow them plenty of time to decorate the front too!

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All of these activities are great for lovers of writing (like me) or teachers who are needing a little inspiration on how to kick off writing this year. Grab all of the resources in this packet below (just click on the image)!
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