Writing at the Middle of the Year (Jan. - March)

Writing is generated as a meaningful tool to share meaning throughout curricular work.


Children retell familiar stories using a wide variety of materials.

Children's expressive language is extended in many ways.

Writing in Grade One - Middle of the Year

by student teachers: Miss Heacock, Miss Horne, and Mrs. Turner           

The students are encouraged to generate their own writing in a variety of contexts. One way the children are involved is through creating original class stories based on the styles of famous children authors. For example, a grade one class decided to build their own class story based on the style of Robert Munsch.  First, they used their background knowledge of Mars to brainstorm the characters, setting, possible expressions and so forth.  These ideas were then placed onto a storyboard to get their creative ideas flowing.  Story boards allow students to organize and plan their thoughts to create a title, characters, setting and a beginning, middle and end to their story.  The students expanded upon these ideas to produce their own original class work that replicated the style of Robert Munsch.  The students love this type of activity as they take on the role of authors. Another way the students generate writing is through the modeled approach.  Here, the students write a daily saying down in their journals, paying attention to word structure, punctuation and spelling.

          Writing a journal is a very powerful tool and practice which can help students explore and develop their writing skills.  Students write about the personal experiences and feelings they have in and out of school, which allow them to reflect on the situation, and then choose the words they want to use to express their thoughts.  By writing about something they know, students are the experts and they will be more selective and descriptive in their sentences, and are also more likely to want to learn creative words to retell their story.  The grade one students are constantly generating writing across curriculum subjects.  For example, in science, the students keep a scientific journal of the subject they are learning about.  Writing is not strictly limited to Language Arts.

During the middle of the year, the students use more descriptive words in their writing.  Again, using descriptive words is reinforced through brain-storming words onto the board that “describe” a certain topic.  For example, the students may be working on a pig unit and the teacher would work collaboratively with the students to decide upon words that describe a pig’s behavior, colour, and characteristics.  Another way students can learn to incorporate descriptive words into their writing is to retell a published story using their own words.  For example, students can retell a patterned story, such as The Mitten.  Students can brainstorm different animals and words that would describe how they would move into the mitten.  Words brainstormed in one Grade One class included lumbered, waddled, wiggled and jostled.  These collaborative methods assist the students in learning descriptive words and expanding their written and oral vocabulary.  Through the use of descriptive words, students develop an understanding of making a piece of writing interesting.

It is imperative that children have the opportunity to share their written compositions with others as there are many benefits to this.  As students share their writing with other classmates, teachers, and parents, they become more aware of what it is that they have written.  Moreover, students begin to self-correct what does not make sense in their writing.  Students become aware of the variety, or lack of, sentence starters they use.  For example, with the use of different sentence starters (I enjoyed when, my favorite part was, it was interesting how) students continue their journey to becoming fluent authors. 

When given a piece of paper, some students don’t know where to start an idea or what words to use.  Allowing students to first orally tell a story with felt boards or pictures promotes them to learn through play.  By acting and orally telling a story, students use their imaginations to create characters, a setting, dialogue and an order to a story.  This can help the students telling and the students listening by giving them these ideas, as well as words which they may have not thought up on their own.  Teachers can help this collective process along by recording the words the students use to tell the story and to keep the felt board / picture book visually present to the students so that they can go back to it if necessary.

          Teaching students how to write can be accomplished in many different ways.  The examples above show that writing activities should be personal and interesting to the students.  Most writing activities are collaborative and they love to share their stories-just like they love to hear stories!

These activities also encompass the different types of learning styles students use to learn, such as visual, auditory and interpersonal.   By using a variety of activities, all students will learn and excel at writing, which will help them in their reading skills as well.  

Ideas to Support Young Writers

How I Can Get My Writing Started

Talk over my ideas... with a friend ... with a group ... or with my teacher.

Brainstorm ideas with some friends.

Draw or paint a picture of my ideas first.

Read about my topic.

List questions I want to find answers to.

Look through my journal for ideas.

How to Revise My Writing

When I edit, I can ask:

  1. Does my writing make sense when I read it over?

  2. Which part sounds best?

  3. Is my beginning interesting? Is my ending good?

  4. Could I add some details to make it more interesting?

  5. Could I join some ideas together?

When I proofread, I can ask:

  1. Do any words look wrong?

  2. Did I leave out any words?

  3. Did I put capital letters:

    • at the beginning of my sentences?

    • on the names of people and places?

  4. Did I put a question mark at the end of question sentences?

  5. Is my writing neat and easy to read?

How I Can Share and Present My Writing

Make it into a book.

Act it out with some friends

Give it to a friend or relative.

Read it to someone.

Tape-record it for others to listen to.

File it in my portfolio.

Make a display with it.

Illustrate or paint it.

Print it out on a computer.



Middle of the Year (Jan – March)

·       Letter-sound connection – chunks, word families, blends, diagraphs, more vowel work than consonants

·       Generating writing: original text, familiar stories – author studies, themes – describing words; brainstorming; reading versions; building background knowledge;  genres – fairy tales – retellings; personal experiences – adding detail – who, what, where, when why; storyboards; felt boards – oral first; shared writing, modeled writing, paired writing,

·       Word Work – dictionary; word wall, Making Words, McCracken,  word endings (s, ed, ing, ly, es); contractions, compound words, prepositions, describing words, action words, thing words,  

·       Editing – marks – spelling, sentences, punctuation, spacing, capitalization
Click here for an Editing Checklist.

·       Punctuation – quotation marks, comma, apostrophe, exclamations, periods, … ,

·       Reports – outline – group outline, then they add sentences – from form; from non-fiction – jot notes; simple sentences; brainstorming

·       Questions – Who, What, Why, Where, When, How


Sentence Rubric


 Student Name: ____________








I used capital and lower case letters correctly




I used periods, exclamation marks and questions marks correctly




I spelled high frequency words correctly




My sentences are clear and make senses




My sentences stayed on topic




I used several sentences to describe my topic




 For a printable version of this rubric, click here.