Archives for February 2014

Narrative and Expository Writing Rubrics

WHEW!  I FINALLY finished my own rubrics for expository and narrative writing.  These are based on the STAAR Writing rubrics from TEA.  I was tired of thumbing through 4 pages of text and trying to determine those little differences between the scores, so I took the important parts and put them into a rubric that is one page and easier to follow.  I also created a rubric that is kid-friendly so that my students can see what they do well and where they still need improvement.  AND…I created a rubric with simply numbers for scoring at a glance.  All-in-all…5 pages of awesomeness that I can use from now on…or until TEA decides to change it up again!

You can check out a preview of the products below.

Expositroy Rubric Pic

Scoring Rubric Pic

I’m uploading these to my TpT store.  Especially if you are a 4th grade writing teacher in Texas, these are for you!!   I’ve had several teachers and bloggers ask about how I grade my students.  This is it!  😉  Click here to get your set!

And the best part….Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale in celebration of reaching 3 million teachers!  The sale is Thursday and Friday, Feb 26 – 27.  In addition, my products are an additional 20% off!  So now is your chance to get some awesome products for a GREAT price! Be sure to enter the code TPT3 during checkout!

Be sure to leave feedback on all of your purchases.  Not only does it give the seller feedback, but you also accrue points toward future purchases.  Happy shopping!!  :)


More Introductions for Narratives

Today I challenged my kiddos with a different type of introduction.  This time around I told them to start with an important line of dialogue.  Again, they rocked it.  😉

I showed them my blog post this morning and they were ecstatic!  I had more eager beavers today that wanted to become “famous,” so there are more examples.  Gotta love ’em!

Click here to see what they wrote.

Ready to watch the women’s figure skating!  It’s my favorite thing to watch out of all Winter Olympics sports!  Have a great night, y’all!


Interesting Introductions

Another quick post for you tonight.

Last week, I had my students quickly write both narrative and expository writing pieces on the same subject.  I’ll devote another post just to explain all of that, but it was very interesting to see how my students instinctively start their stories.

What I found out was that MANY of them are starting the same way.  Surprised?  Nope.  Those little minds think so much alike!  That’s totally normal!  So what do I do?  Go to Gretchen Bernabei’s resources for help…and boy, did it!

Before we did this activity, I had several students starting with the following words: One day, One time, I was, and It was.  Frankly–that’s BORING!  I gave them the simplest challenge: Begin with where you–and only YOU–are, and what you’re doing.  I told them to think about being in line waiting for a roller coaster to begin.  Some of my students have never even been on a roller coaster before, but they have all seen one on TV or imagined what it would be like, so they all had schema for the activity.

I made sure that they knew that they could not begin the ride…only write about the moments leading up to the start.

Wow!  They stepped up to the plate yet again!  In fact, after they shared them with their table mates, they were so excited and filled with emotions that it was hard to settle them down afterwards.  They were able to capture their emotions so well that they were truly excited and living the moment.  Awesome.  Just awesome.  :)

I wanted to share some of them with you, so I’m attaching them here.  Feel free to use them with your students.  They are not all created equal, so you can definitely talk about how different they are, compare them, and even use them to do some revising and editing!

Have fun reading!


More Expository Writing Samples (4th Grade)

Whew!  I’ve been sitting for a couple of hours typing up some expository writing samples from my kids since so many people are still needing lots of examples.  And…of course…I can use them in my class, too.  It’s great to use REAL student writing in class to show what is working and what isn’t.

Some of you have asked when we started expository writing–well, we began way back in October.  We flip back and forth throughout the year between the two types of writing.  We spend an average of 4-5 weeks on narrative, and then move on to expository, and so on.  Now that we are getting closer and closer to test time, we are only spending a couple of weeks on each.  There are even days/weeks where we do both.  I’ll be posting soon about an activity called “Genre Switch” where kids write for just a small amount of time in both genres.

For now, I’m posting several expository writing pieces that my students have written to various topics.  Some of these were written as their choice of 3 writing prompts, and others were written on the students’ last writing benchmark.  The benchmark prompt was the prompt that our students were given last year on their STAAR test (our official standardized test–for those of you who don’t live in Texas).

I had already given them that topic as a choice, so some of them already had prior experience writing to that topic.  The funny thing about it is: most of them wrote something completely different, even though I’ve told them that they don’t have to…and frankly, if they have already had positive feedback, they should write the same thing, but even better the next time around!

So, without further ado…here they are:

Christmas Eve by Daniel

Dance Season by Aaliyah

Fantastic Friends by Blake

Folklorico by Daniella

Football by Chris R

Friends by Abram

Friends by Gasseli

Go Meet Your Teacher Night by Avery

HALLOWEEN by Gasseli

Summer by Annaleah

Summer by Kylie

Winter by Sherlyn

These samples are simply in alphabetical order.  They are not grouped by topic or by awesomeness.  You can pick and choose which ones you want to use, or you can print them all and use all of them with your kiddos and talk about what was great and what needs improvement.  You could even use them with some revising and editing!

Some of you have waited patiently for me to finally get these posted…for that…THANK YOU!  It takes some time to get these gathered up, pick out which ones should be posted, type them, and get them up on the blog.  Please feel free to share these with other people that you know.  They will always be right here on my blog, so you can always save paper and just project them from here.

As always, my students (and I) love your feedback!  If there was something that you really liked, please leave a comment letting us know!  I show my blog to my students so that they can see who is showcased and how many people around the world are looking at their AH-mazing work!  😉


Other posts you might like:

Expository Writing at its Finest; Expository Writing Samples; The First Installment of Writing Samples; Narrative vs. Expository Writing


Monday Made It February

I’m linking up again with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her February Monday Made It.

20140106-193555.jpgOver the past month, I’ve mostly been busy planning out how to get my kiddos ready for the Writing state assessment coming up in April since they did horribly on our benchmark in November, so….


MMI 1I have now created 2 sets of task cards for editing and revising with QR codes.  I’ve used one set with my kiddos that attend Saturday school…and they LOVED them!  Here are a few pics of them working with the cards.

photo 3(1)photo 5photo 1(1)If you need a set for your classroom, I have posted a FREE set on TpT.  You can get them here.  There are 8 task cards that review various editing and revising skills.  My second set is a more complete set, with 17 task cards, an answer key, and a student response form.  You can get them here.  I know your kids will love them, too!  😉


MMI 2We had a lesson on schesis onomaton…or in other words, renaming.  I challenged my kiddos with renaming the main subject of their writing.  We used some mentor texts as a guide, and the kids did fantastic!  They had a lot of fun with it.  Here is the chart we created together.

photo 2

It was easier for some than others, but they ALL did it!  Yeah!!


I’ve also been busy creating anchor charts for the text structures that we use in writing.  These babies help the kids…SO MUCH…in organizing their thoughts.  Whether it’s a narrative or an expository piece, ALL kids can be successful when they use text structures.  These come from Gretchen Bernabei.  If you haven’t checked out her stuff, I HIGHLY recommend it…especially if you teach 4th grade!!  You can find her here or here.  I also have TONS of her resources listed on my Writer’s Workshop page.

photo 1

And that about sums up my productiveness…at least with things I’ve “made.”  😉

Be sure to stop by Tara’s blog and visit more AH-mazing teachers to see what they’ve been up to lately!  There are lots of talented people out there willing to share their ideas…thank goodness!



**NEW** Editing & Revising Task Cards with QR Codes

Just a quick post to let you know that I have uploaded a brand new set of editing and revising task cards with QR codes to my TpT store.  There is a one-page story with 17 questions.  All questions have self-checking QR codes.QR codesIf you teach writing and grammar, these are AWESOME!  I have used them with my students, and they told me that they are “way more fun than doing a worksheet.”  Funny that it’s the EXACT SAME THING…just with iPads and cards!  Haha.  :) QR codes answer sheetYou can check them out here, or just click on my TpT button to visit my store.

**The first 3 people to leave a comment about how you would use these in your classroom will receive them for free!