Differentiated Writing Paper with Rubrics


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!

Differentiated Writing Paper with Rubrics

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.

Differentiated Writing Paper with Rubrics

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.

Differentiated Writing Paper with Rubrics

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!

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  1. hi

    I love the differentiated writing pages and sure my children will too. Is there any way for me to edit it please to use full stop instead of period, as we use in Australia?

    Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Donna,
      Thanks for reaching out.
      Unfortunately, we can’t modify the download to say full stop instead of period at this time.
      I do hope you still find the rubrics to be helpful!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

      1. It says I cannot download the writing paper with rubrics for kindergarten. Is it gone? I really need it for Wednesday. Thank you

        1. Hi Rachel,
          Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry you’re having trouble downloading. We never want that. Please check out our troubleshooting video HERE for help. You’ll also want to make sure you have the most recent version of Adobe Reader Other and that you’re allowing pop ups from our site. If you still can’t get it to work, you can email me at hello@www.playdoughtoplato.com
          Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  2. Do you make papers like these with dotted lines for writing? The lines for beginning writers who still need a top line/bottom line/dotted line? Thanks!

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks for reaching out. We currently don’t offer this page with the dotted lines for writing.
      We do have something similar in our Writing Centers Starter Kit, though, if you’re interested.
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  3. thanks so much for these wonderful sheets! My kids have a hard time grasping all of the rules and these are sure to help!

    1. Wonderful, Tracey!
      I hope they are a huge help to your students 🙂
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  4. I love the rubric but early primary teacher use inter-lined paper for students. Can you make these with interlined lines for primary teachers.

    1. Hi Shona,
      Thanks for reaching out. We currently don’t offer this page with the interlined lines for writing.
      We do have something similar in our Writing Centers Starter Kit, though, if you’re interested.
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  5. I’m not sure how the rubric itself works. Do you go down a number for each mistake?

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Great question! Typically, I wouldn’t go down a number for each mistake. Consider what you would expect of your students at this point in the school year. A 3 would typically be at or above grade level expectations. A 2 would typically mean just below grade level, and a 1 would mean there’s significant more for growth before reaching grade level. So, it’s not necessarily the number of mistakes, but the student proficiency of the skill based on the entire writing piece. Does that make sense? You can email me at hello@www.playdoughtoplato.com if you need further assistance.
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  6. I love all your products! Thank you so much for your hard work! I wanted the differentiated writing paper with rubric but it is giving me an error message.

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