Good luck in the upcoming season to my fellow TPT sellers!
After a month off for summer vacation, it's time to gear up for the new school year. I am polishing up a centers packet I have been working on for six months or more. I also found a great resource with tons of back to school links from Unique Teaching Resources.
Good luck in the upcoming season to my fellow TPT sellers!
I have been writing professionally for years, and often I think about the connections between that and what I teach. Expository writing is very much like what we want the kids to do, but that's only if we break it down for kids and teach it that way.
Many times I focus on writing content to put on people's business web pages. The focus could be articles, blogs, product pages, press releases, and other kinds of writing. Have you ever thought about using primarily relevant web pages to help students analyze examples of good writing?
It's really simple. Pick a topic such as Woodchucks. You do a Google or Bing search and bookmark a list of websites. Optional: Paste top choice links into a PowerPoint or Word file. Take your students one at a time to the websites you've selected and find/review different facts on the topic. These can be recorded by a student scribe or by yourself on a computer file or large chart paper.
While you are exploring websites, help students critique the examples of writing. I would look for teachers, experts in the field, and students of different ages. Students need to see how different levels of writers write about that same topic.
Help students feel writing about woodchucks or another topic is possible. They can relate to web pages more easily than printed articles and see how good writing really makes or breaks a web page. Good expository writing is either going to support or hurt the images and other artwork on a page. Happy summer!
If your time to teach curriculum is running out, it's not too late to have your students start a summer writing notebook. You can stable scrap paper into a booklet and cover it with construction paper or encourage students to fill up the rest of their journals. My Spring into Summer Literacy Unit is perfect for that. If you have any curriculum left to review or teach, you can write expository and creative passages about the material together and then encourage students to try writing on their own. I was so proud of my big focus on writing this year. My students have developed stronger thinking, especially in the expository style, even though they are still beginning writers. Now, my writing block will be a forever part of my elementary planning.
Young writers need fresh expository writing topics throughout the year. This year, I challenged my students to begin writing about worms, insects, woodchucks, community helpers, Abraham Lincoln, the development of the TV, polar bears, and so much more. I also stumbled upon another cool worms lesson plan.
As we wrap up the year, we are going to investigate plants and clouds.
I am really excited to share a preview of my Spring into Summer Plants Literacy Unit. It is really target more for students in grades 2 to 5, but it has good ideas which can be simplified for grades K and 1. Remember, having students do their own illustrations and craftivities will help them learn science content and build the thinking that will eventually make them better expository writers.
Enjoy my free preview below:
I am happy to announce my newest unit for teaching Expository Writing in the elementary grades. It's modeled after my bestselling product - Second Grade Expository Topic Sentences Unit.
A Wormy Spring! is themed for spring and concerns science facts about Worms. As you are teaching parts of a flower, what a seed needs, spring weather, food chain and biodiversity, composting, and other science content, you will find it easy to connect with students' prior knowledge. This is also a stand-alone unit.
My new product for teaching expository writing is intended for grades 2 through 4. It can also work for students in grade 5 to middle school who are working below grade level in reading and writing.
It's important to celebrate life's little triumphs when you can. This week, I reached a smile milestone of ten units sold for one of my favorite products. I created this lovingly over a week or two and used it with positive responses from my own students. I have tweaked it and added to it over the last few months.
Side Note: The product was marketed for about four to five months. Another product I created only about 3 weeks ago is already two sales away from reaching the big Ten mark. Just goes to show you can never totally forecast sales. That's weird because years ago I used to write articles about forecasting, and now I am more focused on my own products making me about $15 per month. I like both kinds of sales - slow and steady and more sporadic!
Side Note: I have been thinking a lot lately about the time required on the front end to create products for sale on Teacher's Notebook and TeachersPayTeachers.com. What I like about these sites is that the prices are pretty reasonable and I can always find something I need to augment my own plans. Why didn't this business model catch on more than 5 years ago?
It's fun to find other writing resources that will help other teachers.
Check out this free writing download from Amy Lemons. She is one of the top sellers on TPT and has been in the biz for a long time.
Well, it's time to take apart my best selling product and share parts with the world for free. Expository writing is essential for working in a digital economy.
Today, I'm also happy to announce I'm taking my little WWW to the next level. Now, teachers around the world can enjoy some free downloads without having to scour through TeachersPayTeachers.com! That's because I updated to a paid site through Weebly.com.
MyCommon Core ELA "Polar Bears" Expository Writing Unit was fully tested in my classroom last fall. The kids were able to fully access all materials to their best ability, and the only materials that were too hard for them were the Polar Bear fact sheets and sorts, principally because the science terms exceeded their reading levels. Here are some free previews and downloads of my materials from this unit!
How to Build a Simple Expository Writing
1. Pick your theme: Example "Polar Bears"
2. Build the lesson plan to fit the scope and sequence of your state or school district, also called your academic plan. What Common Core standards will your unit address? How will you focus instruction on specific grade-level content through targeted activities?
<--Here is mine from this Expository unit!
3. Decide how you will motivate students and give them an objective and simple explanation of the concept. One way is through a motivational poster. I also created Woodchuck Writing Workshop dollars and mini-posters for a different writing unit.
We have been hitting expository writing hard in my class for the past few months. Sometimes, I have to stop and force myself to take a step back. You have to remind yourself that your students can practice this skill on their level, even when writing only a few words. The fact that the students have been excited about all the expository subjects I have chosen, including polar bears, ants, and woodchucks, is great. Now, we are just trying not to run out of gas as summer approaches. This is when it becomes crucial to change things up and dig deep. Don't let the kids lose that intensity. Don't wear yourself out!
We are seeing lots of gains this year but still that hesitation to write. I am looking for new ideas and going back to word cards and brilliant pictures as ways to encourage the kiddos to write. I am renewing the focus on oral language.
A recent sentence center that I made was beyond the reach of some because they could not read the sentences before attempting to write their own.
Do you like sentence frames? How do you make relevant sentence frames that early readers can read if they don't yet read the words that are the subject of your writing prompt of the week?
This is a question that ESE teachers and others with struggling students can wrestle with until the cows come home. We always err on the side of repetition, repetition, and repetition. But we also have to find new ways to get kids excited!
If you wrote 250 words a day on your blog, do you think it would build traffic to your teacher educational products website like TeachersPayTeachers? I have been writing content online for years. As far back as 8 years ago, I remember the advice -- and it's pretty common advice -- you must update your blog almost daily to keep traffic inbound. Ideally, you also want people to comment on your blog.
The bigger question is how do you get the traffic coming to your blog first. There is that dying breed called content marketing, and then there are the various forms of paid advertising. As a teacher, I am not much for advertising. I am looking for different ways to turn this writing blog into a go-to resource for teachers. If you have a blog that you would like me to comment on, please feel free. I would love to share information with you and learn what you have to offer.
Although my niche is currently expository writing, this teacher's writing blog will expand into other types of writing. This area of writing was a natural choice for me because I have worked for years as a freelance writer. Expository writing -- I mean when you work online -- involves how to tell the information in the most concise way without allowing people to click away from your page. Fortunately, we don't have to put that kind of pressure on our elementary students in the early grades.
Although I am used to writing 300 to 500 words, I am enjoying the challenge of blogging again, much more focused on improving the profession. If I sell a few more lesson plans on TPT, that's awesome too! :)
Today, I was looking for other blogs and websites to visit and recommend as a resource and I came across Writingfix.com. I am starting here. http://writingfix.com/traits_primary.htm
Here is where you can read about a 13-year-old writing project from Nevada that doubles as a website where you can find writing information on many subjects. Since it is teacher-friendly, you absolutely must go back more than once. Most definitely, my starting point will be reading and reviewing books other teachers are talking about. While Nevada seems so very far away from Florida, it is also part of the USA, and so there's bound to be some great advice.
TeachersPayTeachers is a good starting point, but reading teacher blogs and other sites has really expanded my horizons about what's really out there. Teacher-to-teacher education is fun. I also celebrated a comment today. I was glad to read that one of my early customers had kids who loved my unit! Thanks to that fellow teacher!