Work on Writing Ideas + Freebies

Last summer I entered the blogging world and was excited/overwhelmed by all the ideas, inspirations, and resources out there!!  It was then that I learned about Daily 5, Cafe, and The Book Whisperer.  I read those 3 books last summer and they changed my life and my way of teaching!

Now, I have shared in other posts that I don't do Daily 5 exactly the way the book says.  I make it work for my kids and their needs and stay as close to it as I can (I'll share my set up more in a later post).  As wonderful as Daily 5 has been, in the beginning I struggled to find activities for my kiddos, the fourthsies, (yep, a word people).  There are TONS of things for k-2 and even 3 (and I have used those) but still had a hard time with things for 4th and up.  So, as the need arose, I made different things for my kids.

Now, before I share about some of my Work on Writing activities I have to say......one thing I did exactly by the Daily 5 book was the "training" of each of the Daily 5 areas.  I used that book as my script and followed it word for word.  If you do that, your life will be a joy.  I could not get over how hard my kiddos worked and how little the interruptions were (hardly any) because of the training/building stamina routines you do with the kids.  So important to do that part right.  It sets the tone for the year with your Daily 5.

Having said that, I thought today I would share about a few of my Work on Writing activities.  I have all of my Work on Writing activities in the same area, set up on a table so the kids know exactly where to go.  Last week I shared some of my Shared Writing Journal Covers.  This is one of the options my kiddos have during Work on Writing and they LOVE it.  I keep all the journals together in a tray.  They pick a journal and go and write until time is up.  When I first read Daily 5, I thought....there is NO WAY they will do this the whole time.......people, THEY DO!!!!   If you take the time to "train" them and build their stamina, they do it:D  It makes for a very happy classroom!
Another option I give them are my Story Stones (you can read more about those here).  They love this too!  I keep these little guys in a basket on the same table.  They grab a stone and off they go to a corner to creatively write:)  Let me warn you, these little stones are addictive once you start making them....too fun:)
Another activity that has become very popular in my classroom for Work on Writing is my Story Starters.  I have created several sets of them.  I print, laminate, and cut them out and then set them in a little bucket.  The kids just go, choose one and then go find a spot to write in their journals.  Using these, I don't hear the famous....."but Mrs. Eiken, I don't know what to write about."  I have to say, I didn't hear that ONE time last year.  I have several sets of Story Starters in my stores, some free and some not.  Today I am sharing a freebie of story starters:
There are 12 different fun story starters to spark creativity in the minds of your littles:)  If you would like a copy, click HERE.  I would super <3 it if when you were at my shop, you would fave my shop:))

Here are links to the other free story starter sets.


These are just a few of the things I use during Work on Writing.  I do try to keep things "fresh" throughout the year.  Introducing new activities every once in a while and sometimes even taking away some and then bringing them back later.  The kids don't get bored with the same old, same old, when you change it up.

This year I really want to incorporate some more technology along with my Work on Writing.  I did that with Word Work last year but have some fun ideas for Work in Writing I will share later.  Hoping these freebies can help add to your Work on Writing or writing workshops in your classrooms!

Have a blessed weekend!

21 comments

  1. I used your shared writing journal idea during this last school year with my kids and they LOVED it! Can't wait to do this again this year! Wanted to share that what I did was to take your covers and add them to the front of composition notebooks that had been cut in half! These "mini-comps" still allowed me to put the covers on the book, but they weren't so huge that my fourth graders couldn't wrap themselves around one! If you have an AV department that saws books, I'd highly recommend this! Thanks again for all the sharing you do! I love this blog and feel like I know you!

    Nikki
    uncommontothecore.blogspot.com

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  2. Oh I love your story starters!! Now only if my kids could read them at the beginning of the year! lol!! I love the prompts though!
    Nicole
    Rowdy in Room 300

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  3. This is giving me ideas I'll run it by you when we go back. The end is near. :-P lol

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  4. Tara-
    Thank you for your fabulous ideas and freebies! I feel exactly like you did last summer. Overwhelmed, so many ideas, where to start (and this is my 10th year- I shouldn't feel this way!!!). I struggle a bit more since I have 2-5th grade reading and writing special education classes. I have to find a way to work smarter and not harder--just trying to figure out if the daily 5/guided reading/cafe is the way to go? Thoughts?
    I also wanted to invite you to check out my technology board on pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lifeinjoco/technology-in-the-class/ . I too am working on incorporating more technology in the class and I found one awesome resource that I think you could incorporate for your work on writing. It's called BoomWriter. You might have already heard of it, but it is AWESOME!!!!!
    I can't wait to get back to blogging again! I used to blog, but shut it down when I started graduate school (graduating in the spring-woot woot!) and can't wait to share everything that I have learned and will create for those special needs kiddos in your classrooms :)
    Sorry so long winded--LOVE your BLOG!

    Jessica

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  5. Tara, I think you and a couple of other bloggers saved me last fall! I didn't know teacher blogs existed, and I found Rebecca Rojas through a link on a scrapbooking blog, then I found you...and Daily 5, CAFE, and The Book Whisperer! Thanks to you, I was rejuvenated from too many years of test results driven teaching. Thank you for saving me!!!

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  6. I absolutely love the story rocks! That is such a cute idea! I am also loving your silly story starters. My kids would absolutely love those. :)
    Lisa
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

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  7. Your story stones are soooo cute! I don't know how I haven't seen them on here before!

    My to-do list stresses me out, too! LOL! But I decided I really needed to sit down and write it out. I'm going to my classroom Monday so I am hoping to mark some stuff off!

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  8. I love, love, love your story stones--too cute!

    A great way to incorporate technology is to allow your students to blog! I know it sounds scary, but go check out KidBlog.org. The blogs are created for kids and classroom teachers and are 100% safe. I checked them out earlier this summer after a teacher friend showed me how she used them. Only the students in the class and yourself can see what they write. You have to approve everything before it can be posted. It's really cool!

    Jillian
    LittleMissWhimsical.blogspot.com

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  9. Thank you for the freebies! More stuff to add to my to-do list!

    Christine
    Tales From Rm 17!

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  10. these are awesome... thanks for sharing...LOVE LOVE LOVE

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  11. Thank you for sharing! This is going to be my first year teaching and I have fifth graders. I have been trying to find some writing and word work that would be the right age for them.

    Ashley Miller
    Adventures of 5th Grade

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  12. Thanks for Sharing LOVE these!!!!!!

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  13. I can't tell you how much I LOVE your blog and how many ideas you have given me!! I just discovered the blogging world at the end of June, started my own blog a week later, and finished reading Daily 5. I am reading the Book Whisperer and CAFE now.

    I am taking notes as I read the books and coming up with a plan. As far as the Book Whisperer, by coincidence, I did require my students to read 40 books last year (4 books a month for 10 months) but I have the top reading group. I never did this before we grouped for reading. Do you require (strongly encourage) the 40 book goal? I did give them time to read in class as much as I could because I have always strongly felt that was important. Some students would never catch the reading bug if it was completely up to them at home to read their choice books.

    We also use AR at my school and there are AR contests by homeroom organized school wide. The Book Whisperer strongly discourages this type of testing but I found it helps me keep track of who is meeting their reading goals and comprehending what they are reading. I don't really know how to give that up. I do have to say that my students weren't choosing books based on their point value for the most part. They were really choosing books that interest them. Also, I haven't read much of CAFE yet, but do you comment or grade your students work on writing journals? I always have commented and graded journal work in the past. Any suggestions that you can provide would be wonderful!! Thank you again!
    ~Holly
    Fourth Grade Flipper

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  14. This will be my first year with the Daily 5/CAFE and I am so excited about it. You and your generosity will make it so much easier for me to get started. What a blessing to have someone so willing to share awesome ideas with others. I snagged your Shared Journal topics last week and will be getting these awesome story starters too. Thank you so much!

    Kristi
    Learning's a Hoot

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  15. Thank you so much for resharing these ideas and linking back to your original post. It is so easy to miss fabulous things during the school year. I also find it difficult to find Daily 5 ideas for my 4th graders, especially in word work, so I REALLY appreciate all your great ideas. (P.S. Your story rocks are SO cute!)

    Amanda
    The Teaching Thief

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  16. I am your newest follower! I found your blog through the newbie blog linky. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. I teach 2nd - 6th grade Gifted/Talented and try really hard to reinforce the skills taught int he classroom along with the problem-solving, critical thinking, inquiry learning, and other things that go on in my classroom.

    Please come by and visit my blog...it is new...so it isn't what it will be!!

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  17. I hope to start Daily 5 this year. When do you being teaching routines?

    Patti
    One Class, One Sound

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  18. My easier KS2 kids had an outright ball with this. Today we composed guidelines and they recollected EVERYTHING showed yesterday identifying with PAT, so sparked by the issue where they. I prize the thought and will clearly be utilizing the application to motivate composing for different kinds, as you thesis proposal. Much thanks to you again!

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  19. Hi Tara~I wanted to let you know that I mentioned this post on my blog today. Hope that's okay! :) Happy Saturday!
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

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  20. Really important written content. the information that you shown is hard to faith and many superbly i liked the way you afford things here

    Accredited GED Online

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