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Daily 5–Work on Writing

I'm so excited that I've finally got my writing center up! This week we finally started doing the Work on Writing component of the Daily 5 independently. I realize that it's clear into the 2nd week in October, but I didn't decide to try the Daily 5 until the middle of August, so I was doing all sorts of overhauling/creating on top of getting ready for school to start. Consequently I'm a bit slow. A few weeks ago, my to-do list for this project seemed insurmountable. I contemplated tossing the whole thing out the window. Now it's all pulled together AND the kids are loving it. Every time I look at that part of my classroom I smile. 🙂

Here's what the finished product looks like:

I used some writing centers I'd seen on Pinterest as inspiration. This one is from Jessica Meacham.
And this one from Katie at Persnickety Pickles:

Here's a look at the choices I give the kids. The first thing is to work on a piece from Writer's Workshop (I do a more focused writing time in the morning).

They can also write in the class story journals (another Pinterest idea from Delightful Daily 5 Cafe). There's so much emphasis on nonfiction and persuasion in the new core, that I was sad to see a lot of the personal narrative time lost. Hopefully this will be like a sort of personal narrative patch.

I put out some "Take it to Your Seat Writing Centers" from Evan-Moore that I'd inherited from Em.

Students have the choice of writing in their journals about any topic they choose or they can pick one of my suggestions. I started with some general prompts (What's your favorite holiday? What do you think about frogs?) that I printed on stickers and put on Popsicle Sticks (Pinterest idea from First Grade Fresh).

Since I don't have a Jehovah's Witness student this year, I'm going all out for the holidays!! For October, I got some little notebooks in the Target Dollar Spot. I cut out all the papers and wrote a prompt on the inside cover. The bowl is also from Target. The rule is they have to write about whichever prompt they pick UNLESS they've already done it.

I originally started with 12, but since this is such a popular choice I ended up using all 18 little notebooks. Some prompts I found, some I made up.

  • If a witch lost her cat, what could she use for a pet?
  • What would happen if you were in a graveyard at night?
  • Imagine you run a restaurant for monsters. What sorts of things would you serve?
  • What if you were trick-or-treating and your bag broke? What would you do?
  • I think my teacher should be ____ for Halloween because _____
  • Have you ever been really scared? What happened?
  • I wish I weren't afraid of …
  • How would you make a robot costume?
  • What do you think about spiders?
  • What do you think about mummies?
  • How would you catch a vampire or a ghost?
  • The mad scientist was creating a new monster that could…
  • How do you carve a pumpkin? Write all the steps.
  • What if you had a pet werewolf?
  • Imagine you're walking your dog and he runs into a creepy, old house. You follow him. What happens?
  • Tell all about your favorite thing about Halloween?
  • What were you for Halloween last year? What did your costume look like?
  • Pretend you have a magic broomstick. What does it look like? What does it do?

I have a bunch of notepads from the dollar store and Target Dollar Spot. The rule is one "fancy" paper per day. I wish you could find stationery sets like they used to sell at the dollar store, but I guess no one writes letters anymore.

Writing letters is the favorite choice right now.

The idea of a classroom post office has always scared me, but this is running really smoothly. Our mailbox is a plastic container from the dollar store. Unfortunately, I waited to cut the slit until AFTER I'd painted so it got pretty thrashed from the scissors. 🙁 And, of course, I'm now out of blue spray paint. The battered box drives me nuts, but the kids don't seem to notice.

I read all the letters after school. In the morning, I have one of the early birds hand them out. So far it's running well and I've only had to weed out a couple mean spirited notes and one love letter.

I love the list choice, but so far no one has been interested in it. You can get the list steps here.

I found some printable Halloween labels and added Octobery themed prompts. You can download the file here. I don't know who created the clipart and I've tried doing a Google search. If anyone knows, please tell me so I can credit the designer.

The right side of the bulletin board is our stamina graph (from F is for First Grade.) The kids get so excited to beat their time everyday!

Once we're done needing the daily stamina booster, I want to add poetry and research in as writing choices. However, I don't have a clue how to set those up! Any suggestions??

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After a combined 14 years in 2nd grade, sisters Heidi & Emily are passionate about helping simplify life for other teachers!

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