Here's how it works.

  • I keep the masters (see below). I can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if I put kids in charge of cutting and gluing their own goals.
  • I set the goals with the kids during a writing conference. We determine, together, what they need to work on to make their writing better. We cut out that objective and glue it down to the chart they keep in their folder.
  • The kids generally only get one fresh aim at a time.
  • I remind the kids every day when we begin Writing Workshop to check their writing aim.
  • When I conference with kids, I ask them how they're doing on their objective. We look through their writing to see if they are consistently meeting that aim, or if they still need to work on it. 
  • If they have met it (for example, if their aim was to leave spaces inbetween their words and they consistently do that), I let them color in that aim on their chart and we choose fresh purpose. 
  • The goals work across writing genres. So whether we're working on writing private narratives or all-about books, they can still work on each purpose.
  • We work on other writing abilities at the same time. For example–the entire class might be working on writing facts, or adding details to a private narrative. But at the same time, individual kids will be working on the differentiated goals on their chart.
  • Not every writing conference concentrates on these goals, but I almost always mention them. For example, I may conference with a student about our entire class objective–writing facts. But at the end of the conference, I might add a quick “Let's see how you're doing with your writing aim. “
  • The goals are not necessarily sequential. Some kids skip goals entirely because they've already mastered them. Some kids go back and work on a objective that they had once mastered but now need more practice. 

We keep a chart in the room so we always know what goals we're working on.

If you think this might be helpful in your classroom, you can click the link below to get it for yourself. Please note, this is a view only file (Google Doc), so you just have to click and print. There is no need to request access (and unluckily, I cannot give it). 



Like many of you, I've been reading In Pictures and In Words by Katie Wood Ray this summer.

And it's truly made me realize just how significant the illustrations are in kids' writing!

Even before kids are actually writing “words,” they are creating incredible stories through their pictures! That's why I was excited when Barker Creek products  sent me a set of their Draw * Write * Now books  by Marie Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer.

Have you seen these? They are colorful books that demonstrate kids ( and, ahem, adults ) how to draw all sorts of things–from animals to people to much more. As you can see, the directions are colorful, clear and effortless enough for even kindergartners to go after.

I love them, because not only to they display step-by-step directions for drawing specific items, they instruct kids how to add a background and details to make their pictures even better.

Don't misunderstand me–I am downright against showcasing kids one way, and one way only to draw something. I would never want to stifle a child's own creativity. But these books give kids the devices and the confidence to create their own drawings!

There are 8 books available:

Book One: On the Farm, Kids and Critters, Storybook Characters

Book Two: Christopher Columbus, Autumn Harvest, The Weather

Book Three: Native Americans, North America, The Pilgrims

Book Four: The Polar Regions, The Arctic, The Antarctic

Book Five: The United States, From Sea to Sea, Moving Forward

Book Six: Animals & Habitats: On Land, Ponds and  Rivers, Oceans

Book Seven: Animals of the World, Part 1: Forest Animals

Book Eight: Animals of the World, Part Two: Grassland and Desert Animals

As you can see, they would be good to integrate into science and social studies units. I can already see some awesome science journal pages.

They also include text for handwriting practice and lots of joy facts.

I plan on doing specific lessons from the books with my kids across the year. I also plan on putting all of the books in my art center, where I'm sure they will be well-loved!

So head on over to Barker Creek. and check out these books, and all of the other excellent products they have for teachers!

Don't leave behind, you can use the flashcards from the different packets together to make sentences, which I think is the most valuable activity of all. My kids love to see who can make the longest sentence–it becomes fairly the competition!

1. Where do you get your glance words? What order do you train them in?

The view words I use are very typical–all on the Dolch and Fry's lists. As for the order, that just comes from my own crazy, little mind. I believe very strongly in training glance words in context. So I don't want to group a bunch of words together simply because they all have Two letters and are “effortless” to learn. I want kids to begin using those words instantaneously to build sentences. Also–I attempt to train words that the kids use a lot in their writing very early, even if they're a little more difficult. You might also notice that I repeat words in the packets–more practice!

Two. How do you introduce the words?

I  introduce one set of words at a time during a mini-lesson (sometimes during Calendar Time. sometimes during Reading Workshop ). When most of my class has mastered those words, we stir on to the next set. (BUT–sometimes I give students packets I haven't introduced to the entire class if they're ready for them).

Trio. Do your kids do one page in their packet a day?

Not necessarily. I assess kids via the year to see what glance words they can read and write. If a student can already read and write the words in a packet, they do not do it at all. If a student masters the words in a packet quickly, they are ready to stir on. If a child is fighting, they will work with that packet until they get it. Which means at any given time, kids may be working on several different packets.

Four. When/how do you use these packets?

  • I send them home as part of my optional homework.
  • During Reading Workshop as Word Work .
  • During petite group reading instruction and/or interventions .
  • During Calendar Time. we use the flashcards to build sentences.
  • Once a word has been introduced to the entire class, it goes on the word wall. Once it is on the word wall, students are expected to spell it correctly in their writing.


    Today I made my beginning kindergarten writing journals. It was kind of a no-brainer–I just stapled some blank typing paper together (albeit I did print a lovely cover). I embark the entire class out with blank paper until I can assess their writing and fine motor abilities.

    After a week or so, we budge on to this paper that has a specific box for the picture.

    Eventually, as their writing abilities improve, we stir on to paper that has broad lines. Some kids will get this paper earlier than others.

    When we very first embark learning about organization and that stories have a beginning, middle and end, I give them paper that has a divided box to help them organize their thinking. I do not do this forever. Our writing can be organized in many different ways, and I do not want them to think that this is their only option.

    And eventually, I give them paper with a dotted middle line, to help get them ready for our Primary Journals. These are composition books that have a blank space at the top for pictures and dotted-middle-lines at the bottom.

    Some kids are ready to budge into these notebooks by November or December. My aim is to have the majority of kids in them by the begin of the 2nd semester. I'm not going to lie –these notebooks are not ideal. I still think the lines are too puny for most kindergartners. And we use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum to instruct handwriting, and their lines are entirely different! But by mid-year, my kindergartners are very prolific–they can write pages and pages! My copies are very limited and it takes time to staple all those journals. These notebooks are practical.

    I do stress with my kids, via the year, that it doesn't matter what kind of paper we write on. I model and give them opportunities to write on all kinds of paper. It's the words–not the paper–that matter!

    I made a lovely label for the writing journals if you want it. I'm going to steal an idea from one of my teamates and have kids and their families decorate the outside of the journals with pictures, so that the kids will have instant story ideas.

    And here is the paper if you want it:

    Here is a quick idea for helping your students take ownership of their writing Goals. It's a sheet of basic kindergarten goals that can be cut out and glued (one at a time) to a sheet kids keep in their writing folders and refer to every day. 

    Here's how it works.

    Related video: √ Ancient Roman religion, temples and gods | iitutor

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