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5 Tips to Support Research Writing in the Upper Grades

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Research writing can be an overwhelming process for both students and teachers. We wanted to provide a few tips to help your students produce excellent research reports without causing you to lose your sanity. Here are our top 5 tips for supporting your 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders through the research writing process. 1.  Don’tRead more

Short Story Pre-Writing and Brainstorm Activity

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Writing a narrative short story isn’t easy. Many kids enjoy creative writing, but their structure ends up being all over the place, they don’t know how to create a problem, build suspense, develop an ending, etc. I wanted to create something that would allow my upper elementary/middle school (5th/6th/7th graders) to plan more than justRead more

Character Interview – A Short Story Writing Activity

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Not only did my 5th/6th/7th writing class enjoy this activity, it was a great way to get them thinking about their main character before they started writing their short stories. What You Will Need Character Interview and Character Brainstorming Sheets (you can come up with your own questions or get it here for $1). WritingRead more

Formal Letter Writing

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This year I kicked off our first writing project with formal letter writing. All of the Google documents referenced below are included in our free resource library. Why Teach Formal Letter Writing? Writing a letter is a fun, real-world task that is short, sweet, and easy to revise. By upper elementary and middle school, students haveRead more

Short Story Annotation and Plot Diagramming

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This was a really effective lesson I did with my 5/6 combo class to work on several skills: listening comprehension, annotating text, identifying plot elements, plot diagramming, and using technology (Google Drawing). It took about four class periods, and my kids learned a lot and had a great time. Step 1: Choose a short storyRead more

Email Etiquette For Kids

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Many students enter upper elementary or middle school knowing how to text, how to quickly find information on Google, and even how to make their own YouTube videos. But a surprising number of students have never used email. It simply isn’t a preferred method of communication among today’s youth. Why Teach Email Etiquette? As aRead more

Copywork for the Modern Classroom

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What the Heck is Copywork? Copywork is a practice that is common in the homeschooling community, but seldom makes an appearance in today’s “modern” classrooms.  It is exactly what it sounds like – students “copying” the writing of other people with the primary goal of improving the student’s handwriting.  Each day, or a few days eachRead more

7 Reasons You Need to Teach Cursive

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With the rise of technology and the multitude of standards that teachers are asked to cover, cursive writing has quickly fallen by the wayside.  Some of the high school students I’ve worked with type all of their work and have little or no experience with cursive writing.  While technically a legal “signature” may be printedRead more

Highlighted Handwriting Paper

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One of the biggest things that early writers struggle with is using the appropriate letter size.  All of a student’s letters start looking the same size, making the writing difficult to read.  Traditional primary paper includes dashed lines, but sometimes this isn’t enough to keep kids writing their letters neatly. What is it? Highlighted handwritingRead more

Note-Taking By Hand

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Learning how to take notes is an essential academic skill, yet is often falls by the wayside as teachers struggle to cover a large amount of content in their subject areas. Who Should Teach Note-Taking? It is unclear who should teach note-taking skills – is it the responsibility of English teachers, or does it fallRead more