Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ocean Unit with Informative Writing!

At the end of the school year I always love to do an ocean unit.  There are so many great things I want to teach about the ocean each year, however one week is not enough time to cover it all!  So, I decided to turn my ocean unit into an ocean animal research project for each of my students!  Each student picks an ocean animal, does research on that animal, and then writes an “All About” nonfiction book about that animal.  Once everyone is done, each student presents/reads their book to the class!  By the end of the week the students have learned about 25 different ocean animals!

I also like to do this project at the end of the school year because it’s a great way for students to learn/practice the text features of nonfiction books.  There is no better way for them to understand a nonfiction book than by writing their own!

I’ve created writing templates for each page of the book, as well as supporting posters for my students to use as reference tools along the way. 
Here is a look as just some of the nonfiction text feature posters I display to help my students when they are writing their nonfiction booklets!

Here is a look at our "All About" Ocean Animals Informative Writing project!

I like to set out a basket full of nonfiction books about ocean animals.  From there the students get to look over and choose which ocean animal they would like to write about.  I usually have my librarian pull a bunch of ocean animal books for me from the library.  I also get a handful of books from my public library as well.  I find it helpful for the students to have different nonfiction reading materials to go through as they are writing their facts.

This Informative Writing outline is the first page I have my students complete.  It basically acts as a graphic organizer for them to get their thoughts/facts down before they start making their "All About" booklet.

Here is a look at the cover page the students make for their "All About" booklet.

I have my students create one writing page for each fact (4 in all).

Each fact page has a picture that goes with it.

The students add a Title/Subtitle at the top of each writing page.

The students highlight any keywords they used throughout their writing.  They will refer back to these pages as they complete their Glossary and Index page.

Here is a look at the additional pages we add to our "All About" booklets to make them like real nonfiction books!

Title Page:

Table of Contents:

About the Author: 

Dedication Page: 

Different Types of... 

More Fun Facts (Option #1): 

More Fun Facts (Option #2): 

Facts (Option #3): 


Glossary (Option #1): 

Glossary (Option #2): 


Each "All About" booklet is filled with so many great pages!  It turns out to be a fun informative writing unit for the kids!

You could even place this project at a writing center!

I really like doing this project with my students, so much so that I think next year I am going to do this project with my Insect unit as well! 

Click HERE to download my "All About" Nonfiction Booklet from my TpT Store!

Looking for just the nonfiction text features posters?
Click HERE!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sentence Writing

Teaching my first graders how to write a complete sentence is something I spend a lot of time on during the beginning of the school year.  Once I feel like my students have writing one sentence down, we move on to writing two sentences over a topic, then three, and so on.  I like to make sentence writing a slow and steady progression.

I created lined writing paper to help my students as we transition from writing one sentence at the beginning of the school year to writing multiple sentences over a topic throughout the year.  I have found these writing papers are perfect for the students to use during writer’s workshop, at a writing center, for morning work, etc!
Here is a look at some of the writing papers I have my students use:


As you can see from the examples the writing papers I have my students use have either handwriting lines or solid lines, are vertical or horizontal, have a different amount of lines, and have a different size illustration box.  I change the writing paper I have my students use throughout the year as they progress with their writing.  

Each writing paper also has a writer’s checklist on it.  This allows my students to double check their writing to make sure it has all the correct parts.  As they edit their own writing, they color in a star for each part that is complete.  If they forgot to do something, the checklist reminds them and allows them to fix their mistakes. 

Here is a close up of what the writer's checklist looks like:

I love placing these writing papers at my writing center!  I pair the writing papers with a monthly writing prompt calendar.  The students pick a topic from the writing prompt calendar and then write about it!  It makes for a great writing practice center that is low maintenance!

Here is a look at the different writing prompt calendars I place at my writing center throughout the year.  The prompts on the calendars help my students practice a wide variety of writing genres like opinion, narrative, fictional narrative, persuasive, informational, descriptive, and more!

Click HERE to download my Writing Papers and Writing Prompts from my TpT Store!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Note to Followers (2)

Hello Fabulous Followers!

       As promised in my last Note to Followers, I wanted to take a quick minute to let everyone know of some more products that have been updated in my TpT store!  If you have purchased any of my products make sure you check to see if it has a newly revised version available to download in your, "My Purchases" section of your TpT account.  If one of my products have been updated I've either added more content, better graphics, more worksheets, responded to requests, etc.  I will continue to update you each month and let you know which products I’ve updated!

       Thanks for all your support! 

       Amanda Terhune

Check out these newly revised products...

Who Saves the Day?
(Great activities to pair with the Dr. Seuss book: Horton Hears a Who!)

Feet, Feet, Feet!
(Great activities to pair with The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss

I've had a lot of requests for my Smartboard Calendar Lesson to also be made in the ActivInspire program.  So now you can get it for Smart Notebook and/or ActivInspire!

I’m also always adding new half waist pocket aprons for teachers!  Check out all the cute, trendy aprons I have by clicking HERE!

Don't forget to follow me on...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

List Writing Prompts and Extension Activities

Throughout the school year I like to place different writing activities in my writing center.  I change out the activities based on what we have covered during our writing lessons.  One of my favorite writing lessons to teach is list writing.  List writing is a super easy and fun writing lesson to teach the students.  It’s also an important skill that the students will use the rest of their lives!

I start my lesson out by having a class discussion on what lists are, what they are used for, why people make lists, etc.  I have my students give some examples of lists they have seen.  Many of the students have seen their parents make grocery lists, to-do lists, etc.  I make lists all the time, so I show my students some of the different lists I make and explain to them why I make them. We continue the lesson talking about why it's important to give the list a title.  Then, we write a list together as a class on the board so I can model what a great list looks like.  We give our list a title, number it 1-10, and add things to our list.  After we have written a class example, I have my students practice writing a list independently in their writing journal.

After I teach the lesson on writing lists, I then place list writing activities in my writing center.  I thought I would share some of the activities I have my students do with their lists.  Not only do they write lists over certain topics, but I also have extension activities they do with their list.

Here is an example of what the list writing templates looks like that I place at my writing center.  I made the lists 2 per page so it saves paper and is faster to copy.

I place a different list writing topic at the center each week.  I choose the topic based on what we are learning.  My list of topics range from language arts, math, science, social studies, seasonal, and more!  Sometimes I place a blank list writing template at the center so the students can choose what they want to write about that week.

When it gets close to the 100th day of school I have my students write a list of 100 words.  Some students can complete this list in no time...others take a little longer.  LOL 

One of the extension activities I have my students do is illustrate their list.  They draw pictures that go with each item on their list.  I have a couple different versions of each of my extension activities.  I change the activities up each week.  Each activity progressively gets a little harder.

The students also use their list to write one sentence, two sentences, and even a story.  They choose words off their list to include in their sentences/story.

They also create a list of rhyming words that go with each word on their list.

Here the students put their list of words in ABC Order.

These extension activities are perfect if you have a Top 10 Center!

I have found that the students love this writing center so much they don’t even realize they are practicing their writing skills!

Click HERE to download my List Writing Prompts and Extension Activities from my TpT Store!