4 Steps for Teaching Elementary Students How to Write

Searching for a lesson plan for the Common Core English language arts standard W.K.2 (ELA-Literacy W.K.2 lesson plan)?

The ELA-Literacy W.K.2 lesson plan follows the Common Core literacy standard closely, which reads, “Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.”

She executes the ELA-Literacy W.K.2 lesson plan in stages, but before any of the stages begin, the students have to research their topic. There are lots of fantastic resources appropriate to kindergarten-aged children that provide more than just narrative, but information on a topic.

For example, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle walks readers through a number of new facts about caterpillars. For purposes of an ELA-Literacy W.K.2 lesson plan, these simple facts—caterpillars hatch from eggs, are hungry, grow into butterflies, etc.—give plenty of informational material for children to write about.

Once children have researched their topic by reading the book aloud with the teacher, it’s time to collect facts and write about them. This is where she begins her stages for kindergarten writers:

  1. Stage 1 is “I can draw a picture of my topic and write some words.” At this point, the teacher can draw a picture of the topic on the board, or have students draw a picture themselves. Next to the picture, students can write one or more words describing what the topic is, or any words at all. For example, if students read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, they would draw a picture of a caterpillar with the word “caterpillar” under it (good luck with spelling!). Students could write about flowers, trucks, birds—you’re really only limited by your resources.
  2. Stage 2 is “I can write some words about my topic.” At this point, students are asked to write words relating to their topic. For example, “I like caterpillars,” or “My caterpillar is nice.”
  3. Stage 3 is “I can write facts about my topic.” This may require some explanation of what facts are, which, of course, is part of the point of the ELA-Literacy W.K.2 lesson plan. For example, “Caterpillars have eggs.”
  4. Stage 4 is “I can write to tell my reader more about my topic.” she describes this to her students as “stretching out” the facts to teach their readers more about the topic. She guides them to do this by creating an example of what “telling your reader more about your topic” looks like. For example, beneath the picture of your caterpillar, you could write, “A caterpillar lays eggs that look like little cotton balls. It is always hungry, and when it eats a lot it becomes a butterfly.” As you can see, this is more than just repeating the facts. It’s “stretching them out” to better explain them to readers, and help them understand.

How you present these stages and get your kids to understand concepts like “facts” is up to you, but this ELA-Literacy W.K.2 lesson plan provides the framework for guiding kids through the first stages of figuring out how to write about information.

While this guide will walk you through the basics of the lesson, you really ought to see her conduct the lesson in front of her class of kindergartners. She’s amazing—you’ll learn so much more great stuff than I could put across in a blog post.

How do you teach your kindergartners to write about information? I’d love to see what others of you are doing to help kids pass this important hurdle in their development as writers.

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