One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about teaching kids to write is that we often bombard a child with too much at once.
“Don’t forget to put a capital.” “Did you put a period at the end?” “Check the word wall!”
This can often overwhelm beginning writers! Nothing really “sticks” and children start to form a negative self-image of themselves as writers. Scroll below to see how our differentiated writing paper with rubrics can help. Then, check out our awesome Writing Center Starter Kit in our shop!
Working on One Skill a Week
This school year, I decided to take a slow-and-steady approach to help my first grade students develop into better writers and not feel overwhelmed getting back into “school mode.”
The first week of school, I gathered my students on the carpet and told them that they would become amazing writers this year and would have so many fun opportunities to be an author.
Each week, we would focus on just ONE thing to help our writing, starting with checking for periods at the end of our sentences. No matter what we wrote, I praised my students for putting a period at the end.
And for my kiddos who had already mastered this skill, I challenged them to consider whether a sentence needed a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
I even wrote sentences on the board and purposely left the punctuation off so that I could hear my class shout out, “You FORGOT the period!!!”.
Differentiated Writing Paper
Even though I have my students write a variety of things each day throughout the school year, one thing that is always out on the writing table is our “free write paper” – sheets students grab when they have finished an assigned writing piece and are ready to move on to something new.
To get my differentiated writing papers ready, I printed each rubric “level” out on a different color of Astrobrights paper to make it easy for kids to find their “just right” sheet.
After introducing our first skill “put a period at the end,” I showed off the colorful free write paper and explained that my students could write about anything they could imagine.
The first week I started out with just the pink writing papers on our table, but after teaching a new writing skill each week, I put the next color out.
Now there are multiple differentiated writing papers for my kiddos to choose. Most of my students like to challenge themselves with the most difficult rubric available, but others sometimes choose to work on just one or two things.
I love the fact that my first graders have choices, and that I can easily differentiate what writing skills my students are held accountable for.
Grab Your Copy
Ready to download SIX different versions of this writing paper and help your students maintain their writing skills throughout the year?! Just click the blue download button below and then hop over and snag our Writing Center Starter Kit, too!