Spelling is one of V‘s strengths. For that reason, I thought it best not make it a focus this year. Instead, we’re flexing her creative writing muscle. I really like to find the value in free resources, so I went to one of my favorite educational sites for guidance.
Here I accessed her grade level spelling list to print. The page has three columns: the spelling word, and then two blank lines to practice writing out the word. Rather than using those extra lines for spelling, however, I use them for writing synonyms and antonyms. When we run into a word with no syn/ant, we use the space to write out the word’s definition.
V and I use this Weekly Essay Writing checklist to help keep track of her daily assignments.
Day 1: During spelling (about 20 allotted minutes), read each spelling word and research its synonym and antonym. During journal time, create an outline for your assigned topic. Identify your type of essay (right now, for instance, we’re practicing narrative).
Day 2: Use the outline to write a rough draft, incorporating words from the spelling list for extra points. For double points, incorporate what we call HOT WORDS (spelling word synonyms and/or antonyms).
Day 3: Use a red colored pencil to make edits. Go paragraph by paragraph, looking at sentence structure, punctuation, grammatical errors, and repetition.
Day 4: Rewrite your essay as a final draft. This time, type the essay and add a header.
Day 5: Present your essay. Since V can be a little shy in front of a crowd, I try to incorporate public speaking whenever possible. It gives her an opportunity to practice tone and delivery, while also boosting her confidence. Since her presentation is only about a minute long, she is also assigned the comprehension worksheet that accompanies her original spelling list.
We are devoting two full months to each type of essay – narrative, persuasive, descriptive, and expository. The final months of school will be writer’s choice essays. Here are some great lists of writing prompts for 3rd grade & 5th grade that we use to get our pencils going.
BONUS: Budding writer in the family? A blog is a great way for your little one to share her creativity. Our V has Stories by a Schoolgirl. Stop by and show some love ~J