Miss Buzzeo

Writing in Grade One

Our Writing Keys:



This year, my grade one class has used writing keys to help them develop their writing. Each set of writing keys consists of a key ring, and each of the five question words on a different color of paper. The picture shows the set I use to model with and a set a student keeps in his or her desk.

To begin with, we used our writing keys verbally. Each day we would interview someone using the writing keys. The children began to see how these question words could take a small event and make it bigger and more detailed. As the children asked the questions, I would hold up the appropriate key so that they learned the word. From this point, we began to write paragraphs about our interviews. At first, we did them together and I modeled how to use the keys when I got stuck and couldn’t think of anything to write. 


Once the children were comfortable using the writing keys in modeled and shared writing sessions, I had them use them independently to write paragraphs about show and share items brought into class. The children learned to ask themselves the question words to help generate new writing ideas. To date, my children are using their writing keys to help generate new and innovative things to write about. They enjoy having a real object to turn to if they need help.


When Pictures Match the Words

For the beginning part of the year, we focused a lot on the illustrations in texts. We looked at how the illustrations matched the words, and how often, they gave us more details. In an effort to carry this through into our own writing, we began our star child books. At first, these were just books of illustrations of things that children had brought for show and share. We encouraged details and scenery. After that, we began to add text to the illustrations. Now, the children write a paragraph on the show and share item and then create illustrations to match it. We used authors like Mem Fox to guide us. Once a week, three students share an entry from their star child books. They read the text and explain how their illustrations match the text and give us new information.