9 Tips on Types of Paper to Help Your Students Write Easier

The types of paper we are going to discuss in this article bring writing back to more than basic.  Of course, you need paper to teach writing, but who would have thought how important it is to have the right paper?  I certainly never expected to be writing about the types of paper that teachers might try to use in writing class, but as I thought about the different topics I could write about in my blog I realized this is an important issue that is often overlooked.  I decided that we should discuss the options you have for types of paper.  

When There Weren’t Many Types of Paper

Back when I was a kid there weren’t many of types of paper I could use to write on and I was a struggling writer.  In fact, I remember that all the kids were given dashed lines paper to learn to write.  You probably remember the paper that showed you the half way point in the line.  It really is a helpful writing tool and I’m glad they had something to help, but there are more options now.

The Types of Paper I Gave Students

As a teacher I have given my students a few more types of paper than I had.  But as I thought about it I realized there are even more options available these days.  In the classroom I have used highlighted paper, different spacing sized paper, and even different colors to support my students.  It’s amazing the options that exist now.  Technology has also come such a long way, that you can make some of these types of paper too.

What are Types of Paper?

There are so many types of paper like photo, computer, or construction.  Then there are the types of paper we think of for school, such as lined, plain, or college ruled.  There are many types of paper that include sizing, colors, or graphics.  Paper seems so simple, but it can help determine how successful our students are in the classroom.  In this article, we are going to talk about the different types of paper available to help support student learning.  

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I found very little help when I searched online.  These were a few ideas that were close.  

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I may not have given a lot of thought about the types of paper students use, but the longer I worked in schools with students of many different learning types the more I realized how important paper can be.  It’s a basic tool that students use in almost every lesson, but we don’t often think about how to differentiate it.

Before you decide on which type of paper is best for your students, test their writing.  I don’t mean a writing assessment, but their literal ability to write words on a page.  What should the average student in your grade be able to do?  Then using that benchmark determine if your students need extra support to work towards that goal during regular classwork.  Yes, some students are messy writers, but what if a simple change in the type of paper they are using could make handwriting easier and better?  Test their writing

  1. Dashed Lines Types of Paper

Dashed lines paper is classic.  It’s one of the original forms of writing support for students and it’s useful.  Dashed line paper is the like lined paper, but the lines students write on have small dashed lines through the middle.  These dashed lines show students the halfway point of the line so it’s easier to visualize where many lowercase letters  may start and where to connect lines to properly form letters.

Dashed line paper is still very useful for students of all different ages depending on what their learning style and needs are.  I think most early elementary classes give all students dashed-line paper to help them learn how to properly form their letters.  However, some students need this support longer than others.  One day students are expected to write without it, but not all students are ready for this step.  It’s important that we keep it available or even require some students to use it so that they can continue to learn the mechanical skills and gain the muscle strength needed to write.

  1. Types of Paper Notebooks

There are so many special types of notebooks now.  You can find notebooks that are bound in all sorts of ways so they don’t get in the way of writing.  They even make lefty notebooks now.  I know lefty students can have trouble keeping their work neat because they hit the binding.  Another challenge for them is that their hand constantly goes over what they just wrote, which can smudge their work.  It’s hard to be a lefty in a world made for righties.  If you have a few alternatives it could be helpful for these students.  You can always make lefty notebooks too.

  1. Various Spacing Types of Paper

How much room is on each line can make a huge difference to students.  Some students need the average lined paper, and it works great for them.  However, there are students who need bigger spaces so they have enough room to write.  Writing is a huge challenge and trying to squish their letters into too small of a space too soon becomes very frustrating.  If you offer your students lined paper that has slightly bigger lines it can make a huge difference for them.  It’s pretty simple to make lines of various spacing if you can’t find it in stores.  You can even reduce the spacing slowly over the year as the student progresses.  

Keep in mind that some students might need college ruled paper too.  If you have students who are ready for smaller spacing then be sure to meet them where they’re at.

  1. Types of Paper Through Skipping Lines 

Having students skip lines is another classic teaching strategy.  When teacher make students skip lines it helps them see their work better because it’s not squished.  It also gives them room to add details and edits to their work.  Sometimes they need to add whole sentences.  All their revision and editing is useless if they can’t read it.  I had one student who was convinced he was done editing when he ran out of room.

Skipping lines helps ensure students will be able to read anything they add to a draft.  A bonus of skipping lines is that students fill up the page faster, which makes them feel productive and accomplished.  Some of the reluctant writers in your class could probably benefit from the sense of accomplishment from filling up a page so quickly.

  1. Types of Paper With Big Margins

This is a trick that I heard from another teacher online and I thought it was genius.  I’m sure there are many teachers who have done this over the years, but it bears repeating for those of us who might not think of it on our own.  Make bigger margins on each page.  This strategy reminds me of notetaking back in college because I would fold my paper to make a big line down almost the middle of the page.  This line helped me use bullet points and keep my work neat and organized.  Yes, even in college I would have been a diagonal writer without lines to keep me organized.  

When you give students large margins it gives them extra room to add to their paper.   Beginning writers often have to add lots of details and revision to sentences and a big margin can give them space to do that.  I have had a student who has said he was out of room to add ideas so he must be done.  I know there are many more students like him out there.  Give them plenty of room.  

Big margins have the same effect of skipping lines, students complete each page more quickly which gives them a feeling of accomplishment.  This can lead to students being more motivated to continue working.

  1. Using The Front Only Types of Paper

Some teachers hate when students write on the back of a piece of paper.  Other teachers see it as wasteful if students don’t use both sides.  Neither is right or wrong, but having a consistent rule can be good because then you know if you should check the back of an essay.  

If you have students stick to the front of paper the biggest academic benefit is they can literally lay out their work in front of them and see the whole paper at once.  Some students are very visual and need to see how the pages connect.  If you have students write on only the front of their pages then they can see how the paper fits together better.

  1. Highlighted Types of Paper

Writing requires a lot of visual coordination.  Students do a lot of work to figure out which line they are on, write neatly across the page, and share their ideas all at once.  One of my first students needed highlighted paper while he wrote.  He absolutely hated writing because it was so hard for him.  He was very creative, had a big vocabulary, great imagination, and reading level high above this grade level, but he hated to write.  Writing was really difficult because of the amount of work it took him to get his ideas down.  However, when he used highlighted paper it made the work easier for him.  It was less fighting and more work.  

The highlight paper was dashed lined paper that highlighted under the dashes.  It made the task of knowing how tall and short to make letters easier.  It was a huge visual tool that made a huge difference for him.

  1. Types of Paper of Different Colors

One student I had had to write on gray paper.  After a doctor visit (I think the eye doctor) we were told that he had a hard time seeing well with how bright white paper was for him.  The contrast between the black letters and white paper made it hard for him to see rather than easier.  The result was copying his papers on gray paper.  Once we did he was able to do his work better.  Part of the struggle was taken away with a simple, but sometimes inconvenient switch of paper color.

Lets think about this in different terms.  Think about when you are driving and the sun glares in your eyes.  You have to slow down, peer ahead with a funny face, and go on high alert to make sure you are driving safe.  You have to focus extra hard to do a task that is normally easy until you turn your car and get the sun out of your eyes. I imagine that this student faced a similar circumstance.  Everyday at school, for every assignment he did he had to focus extra hard.  When we switched the color paper for him it turned his car so he didn’t have to focus so hard all the time.

The other thing I learned from working with him is that different people might need to work on different colors of paper.  It can help them see their work easier, which makes it less frustrating.  

  1. Digital Types of Paper

We live in a modern world and after the Covid 19 Pandemic technology is more present in the classroom than ever before.  Although there are challenges of monitoring students, keeping them on task, and using technology as a support rather than a crutch or answer key it can be very beneficial to students.  We can change the color of paper on the screen, the font, the size, and so much more with technology.  Our students can use voice to text software to help them write if they are able to come up with words but struggle getting them on the page.  Use technology as a support system for your students.

Types of Paper

Paper is so basic to lesson planning that we often overlook how important differentiating it can be.  There are many types of paper available and we should take advantage of all those options.  The best way to find out if different types of paper could benefit your students is to test some out.

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

How Real-Life Writing Assignments Can Engage and Motivate Your Students

A huge reason students don’t want to write or participate in school is that they feel like it’s another school skill that they aren’t going to use in real life. But writing is a skill that every profession needs.   Students will write in real life at some point.

No Examples of Real-Life Writing

When I was in middle school I started to feel like I was being taught skills that I would never use in real life.  The further I got into my schooling the more I felt this way.   There are many things I was taught that I have never used, and I’m a teacher.  It’s this same feeling that made me want to teach elementary school.  Kids still love school and the skills they are being taught are needed by everyone.  

How to Teach Students with Real-Life Writing

Now I know the other skills I learned were important, but it didn’t seem like it then.  It took a long time for me to use some of the skills I learned in school, and some I still haven’t.  I think our students feel the same way.  They start to see learning and writing as work they must complete.   They don’t see the real-life application of what they’re learning.  We have to show students the real-life applications of their writing skills.

What is Real-Life Writing?

Writing in real life is the application of writing to a career or real-life circumstance rather than a school assignment.  It’s when teachers take writing out into real life rather than assign tasks that just need to get done.  The goal is that students get a true look at what their writing would like look in different careers.

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What are Real-Life Writing Careers?

There are many careers that have a complete and total focus on writing, but there are also careers that require basic writing skills to be used every day.   We need to make this clear to our students.  They will not always be writing papers, stories, or arguments in their everyday life, but they will be writing.  We owe it to them to teach them all kinds of writing for many different purposes.  Once they understand how they will use their writing skills beyond the classroom they might just be more cooperative, engaged, and perseverant as they learn through classroom assignments.  

Real-Life Writing Careers

  • Journalist
  • Blogger
  • Screen Write/Play Write
  • Author
  • Grant Writer
  • Copy Writer
  • Speech Writer
  • Technical Writer
  • Editor
  • Medical Writer
  • Content Writer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Ghost Writer
  • Proposal Writer

You can have a lot of fun creating assignments that require students to write for one of these careers.  It would give them some experience writing as if they would if they pursued that career.  There are so many ways to approach these ideas with students.

Real-Life Writing is Not Just for Professional Writers

However, it’s not just professional writers that write every day.  Most employees have to write for work.  It just comes in different formats.  The boss will expect anything they write to be done well and in a professional manner.  Here are just a few things that employees need to write while at work.

Real-Life Writing Everyday

  • Emails
  • Report Cards
  • Evaluations
  • Patient Notes
  • Business Letters
  • Memos
  • Reports
  • Newsletters
  • Press Releases
  • Meeting Agendas
  • Handbooks
  • Customer Complaints/Feedback
  • Resume/Cover Letter
  • Notes to the Teacher

It might sound silly, but these are also great assignments to give your students.  You can give them a format to follow to email you when they need something.  They can write their own report cards.  Give the students a big announcement and have them write a press release from the White House.

Adding Real-Life Writing to the Classroom

For years now research has talked about making schoolwork more meaningful to our students.   When the work is meaningful it engages and motivates students.  Changing your writing assignments from teacher designed this is the way it’s always been done assignments to real-life writing assignments can help students learn so much more.  

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

How to Be Flexible and Creative with Super Classroom Writing Prompts

Writing prompts can be a great way to support student creativity and teacher lesson planning.  They are convenient and help students start writing about their topics.  Sometimes writing prompts seem boring, or it can be hard to use them in a variety of ways in a busy classroom.  Really, it all depends on how you think about writing prompts.  If you are prepared with a variety of ways to use them then they can be a great resource in every classroom.

How I Used to Use Writing Prompts as a Teacher

When I was teaching in the classroom and learning from seasoned teachers, it seemed that writing prompts came in two forms.  The first was a huge writing project that the kids spent weeks on and counted for a large portion of their grades.  These kinds of prompts stressed kids out because they were full of pressure.

The second kind of prompt is busy work.  Especially around holidays, teachers tend to give out writing prompts related to the holidays.  Sometimes they were optional and sometimes they were required.  The teacher tended to give them a quick read and a checkmark.  They didn’t really give the students feedback.  It was busy work right before the holidays.

Don’t Use Writing Prompts as Busy Work

I don’t think writing prompts should be busy work or super stressful.  Students need to learn to enjoy writing as much as possible.  We need to show them we value their writing every time they write.  Their work can be meaningful without being a stress trigger.  It can also be meaningful without creating a giant stack of papers to grade.

What are Writing Prompts?

Writing prompts are ideas that trigger writing.   They help writers get started by giving them a topic, idea, or question to focus on.  The purpose of a writing prompt is to help a writer get their thoughts down without struggling to find a topic to start with.  

Writing prompts are not just for schools.  Many adult and professional writers use writing prompts to help them start their writing projects, get fresh ideas, or as an exercise that is different from their normal writing.  Writing prompts are meant to support writers.

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I think many teachers use writing prompts as an easy out to fill time and make lesson planning easy.  Writing prompts should make lesson planning easier, but we also need to use them purposely to help our students become better writers.

  1. Writing Prompts as Warm Ups

Writing prompts have been a classic warm-up in the writing classroom.  They are a great way to get students in writing mode.  They are a quick and easy way to start off the writing day.  After your students have completed their warm-up writing prompt it’s important that it’s not just put away in a notebook and forgotten.  Students can share their work so others can recognize it.  Your students should share all their writing, sharing ideas is the point of writing.  They can even look back at their paper and find their favorite sentence or paragraph and just share that much.

Of course, there is limited time so another option would be to grade it.  Grading can let your students know you value their writing enough to grade it.  But let’s keep grading simple because time is always a factor when grading writing.  I would suggest that you have students leave their work on their desks.  Once they start their next project go around and read through their work.  If they answered the question and it makes sense then they get full credit.

  1. Untimed Writing Prompts Activity

I find that writing prompts tend to be short assignments, but writing prompts can take up the whole class.  There is nothing wrong with taking a break from their current writing project so that students can get fresh ideas.  It can also be a good activity in between big writing projects.  Not every writing project needs to be huge, but you also want to let your students’ creativity flow, which means sometimes there shouldn’t be a time limit.  

  1. Give Students a Choice About Their Writing Prompts

How often do we fail to give our students choices?  Often choices come when there aren’t any grading implications.  Then there are the times we ask the students to write about anything and they get so overwhelmed that they write nothing.  Writing prompts can help solve these problems.  You can offer students a choice of several writing prompts.  They can choose their favorite to work on.  Using the prompt can help provide guidance about how to write about a topic, but the choices they have let them have control and hopefully find something they’re passionate about. 

  1. Writing Prompts That are Relevant

Giving students writing prompts that are irrelevant is a surefire way to see your students fail.  We need to give our students writing prompts that inspire them or they can relate to.   That’s probably why there are so many personal narratives out there.   But I don’t find writing a personal narrative to be all that inspiring.  If we can find the right writing prompts that inspire our students and are relevant to what they see and imagine in their lives without having to write about their day last Friday I think we would see their creativity explode.   We have to know our students to give them writing prompts that are relevant and inspiring.

  1. Writing Prompts That Provide Practice Leading Up to Bigger Assignment

I love the idea of giving students 5 or so writing prompts over the course of a week and at the end of the week asking them which one they did the best on.  Then you can grade that one assignment or have your students take that one piece of writing and expand on it.  Have them grow the piece of writing they did best into a full story or essay.  It will be more fun to grade the work your students thought they did best gives you a variety of topics to read about.

  1. Writing Prompts With Simple Grading 

I think one of the reasons teachers avoid lots of writing prompts is that they don’t want to grade a ton of papers.  I don’t either.  But you are the teacher so you can decide how in-depth their grading should be.  Part of my writing prompt series is that students are graded on three simple things for each writing prompt.  You don’t have to grade everything, just three things.  If the students do those three things they get a good grade.   Changing those things over the course of the year can help students focus on the areas they need to work on.

  1. Writing Prompts That Skip Grading 

Not every writing prompt needs to be graded, however, we do need to show students that we always value their work.  Instead of grading everything you can have your students share their work with a classmate.   While they share you can simply walk around and check off that each student did a reasonable amount of work for their ability.  They get a grade for their work and they get to share their work without a huge fuss about perfection.

You can also have students hand in one writing prompt out of a series for a grade.  They get to choose which one they did the best work on and that’s the one that counts for their grade.  It takes a lot of reading off your plate and asks students to honestly judge their own work.

Possibilities for Writing Prompts 

My hope is that you found some new possibilities for writing prompts in your classroom.   It’s easy to build the habit and routine of doing the same things all the time, even with writing prompts.  No matter what you do make sure your students know that their work is valued and try to add some variety for everyone’s sanity.

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students on how to use sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

How Creative Writing Prompts About Winter Can Easily Elevate Middle School Writing

As students get older, teachers tend to step away from seasonal writing prompts.  Students still experience the different seasons and holidays, but it seems the time set aside to celebrate and enjoy the uniqueness of the seasons has dissipated.   Shouldn’t we help our students remain kids and enjoy those special times as much as possible?   I know a lot of people don’t celebrate every holiday so that can get tricky, but writing about the seasons can always help us get to know our students better.  

What Writing Prompts About Winter Did We Use?

When I was teaching 4th through 6th grade I followed what most teachers did.   We didn’t use writing prompts about the seasons or holidays.  If we did use a writing prompt it was for a big assignment that counted for a big grade.  If we used a writing prompt about winter it was usually about a holiday and it was busy work.  Teachers would give students fun writing prompts before a holiday.  If the students happened to complete them the teacher would say “Good job!” and send them home.   It didn’t count for a grade and their work and creativity weren’t appreciated because of time constraints.  This was true of writing prompts about winter and every other season and holiday.

How Would You Feel About Writing Prompts About Winter?

If your teacher simply said, “Good job!” and handed it back, how would you feel?  I would feel that my opinions and work didn’t matter.  I would be upset that my work wasn’t given credit after I did work hard on it.  A huge battle we fight as teachers is learning how to show our students their writing is real and valuable.   We are constantly trying to show them that the assignment wasn’t just for a grade or to keep them busy, but that their work matters  Writing prompts about winter can add value to our classroom but we have to do it right. 

Why Use Writing Prompts About Winter?

Writing prompts about winter are exactly what they sound like.  It’s using winter to help students engage in writing.  As students get older we step away from these kinds of prompts, but they are still useful.  Kids are in school for almost the whole winter season.  Other than a few breaks students are learning during the winter months.  It makes sense to have them write about the season.  Winter is a unique season and very different depending on where you live.  Students can write about a winter they imagine or the winter they really experience.  The smells, animals, air, and trees are very different in winter.  It makes for great descriptive writing.  Students can tap into their creativity as they try to imagine what winter would be like in different places.  It’s a creative challenge for students to use writing prompts about winter.

Writing prompts about winter does not have to be the focus of your lesson.  You can make them long assignments or short bell ringers.  Seasonal writing is beneficial for your students either way.   You don’t have to grade every writing prompt in detail.  It’s okay to give students a grade for completing the assignment or just have them share their work.  Keep it as simple or complicated as you want.  Winter writing prompts can also relieve some of the stress of preparing the curriculum because they can be so simple.

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My Favorite Writing Prompts About Winter

Writing prompts can come in many forms but I have been working on creating a unit focused on writing prompts about winter.  Eventually, I will have information, opinion, and narrative writing prompts about winter.  Let’s take a look at how these prompts work and a few bonus poetry prompts.

Writing Prompts About Winter Informational Writing

I love lessons that are versatile so that is what I created with Winter Information Writing Prompts.  When I created these lessons I also created five ways to use them.  What I am going to share with you is my ideal use, but from that, I think you will be able to visualize the other ways you can use them. 

How often have you given your students a writing prompt and they don’t connect with it?  It seems like a simple and easy prompt, but getting them to write a few sentences is painful.  The idea of getting them to write an actual essay seems impossible no matter how much support you offer.  I love the idea of giving students several writing prompts over the course of a week.  This means that I might offer the choice of 7 writing prompts and ask them to complete 5 of them. I leave myself the option to either grade them or check off that they are complete.  At the end of the week, students pick their favorite writing prompt to develop further.  

The next week the students are working on the prompt they picked.  They have more options and control over what they are going to spend their time on in the next week, which will hopefully be their best piece and increase their engagement and effort.  They could be working on researching, expanding their ideas, adding details, or simply answering the question.   Each student will be working on the skill they most need to work on as they develop their piece further.  If you meet with small groups you can break students up by what kids are working on.  

I love how this writing prompt unit works for students because it challenges them to write more and be thoughtful about their own work.  The work you get from them should be their very best because they told you this was what they could do the best job on.  Another bonus is there is a little more variety in what you read while grading their work.

Winter Narrative Writing Prompts and Winter Opinion Writing Prompts

Though I don’t have an opinion and narrative writing prompts up for sale yet in my TpT store they are coming.  Using a similar format to present the different types of writing can help students understand the differences in the types of writing.  A similar format can also make teaching students easier.   There is a reason the big curriculum companies always use the same format.  Kids can engage with the material a little better when they aren’t worried about the directions as much.  If they know how the assignment works, then they can focus on doing it instead of figuring out the directions.  

This writing prompt unit provides you with some versatility and options while also providing the students with some consistency.

Poetry Writing Prompts About Winter

Writing prompts about winter are great and I love a true writing prompt.  But I also wanted to share a quick peek at my winter poetry writing prompts.  The format is different from my writing prompts unit, but they are great lessons that will teach your students a lot.  Here is a quick peek at my winter poetry lessons.

Winter Haiku Poetry

In this Winter Haiku Poetry students will practice writing about the season.  The haiku syllable format of 5-7-5 naturally causes students to become more concise and descriptive.  

Winter Cinquain Poem

Cinquain is a five-line poem that originated in France.  In a cinquain, students use specific parts of speech to describe winter.  The format of the poem makes it easy to write, but a challenge to determine the right words.

Ode in Winter Poem

An ode is a poem that praises or glorifies the subject.  There are several different formats that odes can follow, but I choose the simplest for students so they can focus on the purpose of the poem.  Students will tell all about the parts of winter that they love and think are so great.

Poems on Winter Onomatopeia

Onomatopeia are sound words and poetry is a great way for students to practice them.  This lesson and super simple poem are a fun way to write about the unique sounds of winter and learn about onomatopeias.

Winter Poems Funny

Rhyming poetry is easy to make funny, but rhyming well can take some practice.  This rhyming poem is a silly way to talk about the winter season and write poetry.

Haiku on Winter Trees

Trees go through huge changes during the winter months and this haiku poem highlights them.  Haiku poems originally focused on nature and this poem does too.

Writing Prompts About Winter

Just because students are getting a little bit older it doesn’t mean they don’t need to talk and write about the seasons.  If your students start to pay attention to how winter is unique they will be able to incorporate that into the rest of their writing.  Think of it as specific practice to teach them how to focus on details they might otherwise forget.  They should be able to use what they learn about writing details in all of their writing.  The skills they learn are transferable to the rest of their writing assignments.

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students on how to use sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

3 Great Saint Patrick’s Day Activities That Keep Students Learning

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the less prominent holidays, but we can still recognize and celebrate it with Saint Patrick’s Day activities. We need to keep students learning while recognizing the holiday because there is so much to get done.  Students love holidays and anything that is a slight break from the usual academic rigor.  You will have fun options for your ELA block with these Saint Patrick’s Day Activities.

Saint Patrick’s Day Activities in My Classrooms

The classrooms I’ve worked in haven’t paid much attention to Saint Patrick’s Day.   The teachers usually just told the students to wear green or Saint Patrick’s Day clothes.   They might do a worksheet about it, but it didn’t teach much.  Some students would be devastated if they forgot to wear green clothes, which would throw off their whole day.  

When I was teaching fourth grade the teacher I worked with had the students write limericks for Saint Patrick’s Day.  Students loved writing limericks because it allowed them to be funny and silly.  They learned a little bit about a type of poetry that is credited to Ireland, practiced their writing skills, and laughed a lot.

Do Saint Patrick’s Day Activities Have a Place in the Classroom?

There are probably at least a few kids in your classroom that have some Irish ancestors, so it’s nice to recognize the cultural heritage of your students.  However, there are so many holidays that students must keep learning academic skills among the fun.  Saint Patrick’s Day does have a place in the classroom depending on your students’ cultures and what you’re studying.  Celebrating a holiday always helps shape the classroom culture.

Saint Patrick’s Day activities can help your classroom in four ways.  Saint Patrick’s Day activities are a great way to bring another culture into your classroom.  You can look up some of the most interesting aspects of Irish culture and have the students teach about them.  

Celebrating any holiday in the classroom helps to build community and shape classroom culture.  The community of a classroom lets kids enjoy school and feel safe making mistakes.

You can always incorporate different academic skills while celebrating a holiday.  Just think about how to bring together the holiday and academics.

Most holidays have historic origins so it’s a great way to teach history that might not usually be included in the curriculum.  It’s always good to teach more history.

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3 Fun Saint Patrick’s Day Activities

These Saint Patrick’s Day activities are ELA based.  I love having kids learn through writing, but there are so many ideas that you can include in a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration.  Never limit yourself on which ideas you include in a holiday celebration.  It’s a celebration so have fun with it.

What is the History of Saint Patrick’s Day?

As students get older I love having them research why holidays became holidays and how they became holidays.  Giving them a deeper understanding of holidays while practicing writing is a great way to still include the holidays in the curriculum.  

This particular project is a collaborative research project to help students learn to work together and give you less grading.  Students each research Saint Patrick’s Day, then they review their research as a group.  They take time to fact-check each other and determine whether the information is accurate.  After that, the groups decide which information is the most important.  Then they use the most important facts and events to build their slideshow or report.   

So much of this work can be done digitally, but it’s also a good challenge for students to learn, work together, and prioritize information.  It’s simple for students to fact-check for an actual project too.

Limericks for Saint Patrick’s Day

Limericks are a type of poetry associated with Ireland, but there is some debate about whether they originated there.  I always start my lesson with this idea for students.  The great thing about limericks is that they are very silly.  Students love writing and sharing them.  

If you don’t recall what limericks are they are a five-line poem.  One start might be “There once was a man from Peru.”  Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 rhyme too.  The rhythm of a limerick is very distinct because some of the lines are long and some are short.  They are poems that are meant to be performed.

Saint Patrick’s Day Poetry

Acrostic poems are classroom classics because they are simple and easy to teach.  However, when I teach my students acrostics I expect more from them.  I require them to use sentences as they write.   Their sentences can be more than one line, which also makes it easier to find a good idea for each letter.   

These more mature acrostics help students to tell a story or explain their idea better.  It’s also just a bit more mature for kids who are in upper elementary or middle school.  

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students on how to use sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

3 Amazing and Simple Classroom Activities for Women’s History Month

Women’s History is often brushed over or touched on slightly by school textbooks.   They don’t spend a lot of time recognizing the inequalities that women faced.  But Women’s History Month gives us the opportunity to put down the textbook and teach Women’s History as the main focus of the lessons.

Women’s History Month Skipped

When I was in high school I remember reading bits of women’s history in textbooks, but often it was only a paragraph or two.   The work of amazing women has been condensed to almost nothing.  I remember thinking that there should be more written about it.  I also remember when I was reading biographies in school I didn’t jump for the great women in history.   As I reflect back on it now, I can only think that it’s because over my years in school, men were more predominant and valued. That mentality seeped into my life.  I didn’t see women valued in history so I didn’t value them either.  As an adult, I love reading about amazing and strong women who change the world and make a huge difference in their fields of work.

Women’s History Month Can Change the Future

Just because women’s history has been brushed aside in the past it doesn’t mean it needs to continue.  Teachers can take full advantage of women’s history month and show students the work of women is valued.  This does mean that you may take a break from the curriculum for a day or so, but it will be worth it to start to show your students the importance of women’s history.

What is Women’s History?

Women’s history is the fight for gender equality between men and women in the United States.  For generations, women have been considered lesser people with fewer rights than men.  In 1776 Abigail Adams began the fight, as our country began, pleading with her husband to “remember the ladies.”  She wanted more rights for women from the start of our nation.  For most of history, women needed husbands to survive.  Women were expected to care for the home and the child.  Once women gained the right to vote some changes occurred in other areas too.  It was a pivotal moment in Women’s History. 

There were more work opportunities, but women could be fired if they got married or had children.  Women needed a male signer for credit applications.  More women were able to get divorced, but they probably wouldn’t get custody of their children and would have to deal with judgment from the community.  There was progress being made during these years, but the fight was long from over.  Gaining some rights was not achieving equality, so the fight that started when our nation began continues.

More Activities for Women’s History Month

Best Women’s History Month Lessons and Activities 

Books and Activities to Celebrate Women’s History Month

18 of Our Favorite Women’s History Month Activities

How to Embrace Women’s History Month

Women’s History is only a small portion of history.  It intertwines with many other big world events.  But Women’s History is the history of about half the world.  The world population is close to 50/50 between males and females.  There are countries that are more male-dominant and countries that are more female-dominant.  However, our textbooks are full of male-dominant history, which sends the message to men and women alike that the history of men is more important.  It says that Women’s History can be fit into small paragraphs here and there.

We can change this though by making our students focus on Women’s History for a few days.  Depending on your school’s format it could be during Women’s History month, but it could also be anytime that you decide to focus on Women’s History at a point that makes sense in your curriculum. Start focusing on Women’s History in your classroom this year.

Here are a few lesson ideas to get you started.  What I love about these lessons is that they are research and writing based, which means that it’s not a lot of prep work for you.   It gives your students a chance to explore Women’s History and really learn about it.

Women’s History Biography Project

Women’s History spans centuries and is made up of many events.  It’s a difficult task to teach it all especially if you have to keep up with the school’s curriculum at the same time.  In this Women’s History Biography Project each student selects one woman to research.  The students will learn everything they can about one woman who changed history.  Then students get to decide how they will share their research with the class.  Essentially your students will educate each other using the method they think they will be the most successful with.  It gives your students more responsibility and choice.  I also helps to keep the presentations interesting.

Women’s Rights Activity

A huge turning point in Women’s History was the Women’s Rights Movement.  Suffragettes worked tirelessly for the right to vote and greater equality.  However, most textbooks simplify the events that took place.  In this project, students will research a specific year(s) and become an expert on those events.  Then students will create slides for a presentation or book pages of their years.  Then students will share their research with the class.  This is a great way to help students understand women’s rights more in-depth.

Women’s History Month Project

Writing a classic biography can be a bit boring to write and grade.  In this Women’s History Month Project students will pick a woman who impacted history, research that person in great detail, and then create a timeline.  This timeline can be a digital slideshow project or it can be a book.   Either way, students are going to learn about and create a timeline about a woman who impacted history.  Then students get to present what they learned to the class.   It’s a great way to help students learn about some incredible historical figures on an in-depth and personal level.

Women’s History Month

Teach more about women’s history in your classroom to show all your students that women’s history is valued and that it deserves more attention.   Children should know about the women who paved the way for the rights they currently have and the rights that are still being battled for.  

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students on how to use sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

How to Easily Start Incorporating Culturally Responsive Teaching in Your Classroom

Culturally Responsive Teaching can help us build community in our classrooms and include all students.  When I was learning about cultural diversity in the classroom Culturally Responsive Teaching seemed like it was the most natural way to build a classroom community.  In a lot of ways teachers do a lot of pieces of Culturally Responsive Teaching, but if you incorporate it into your classroom it will be a little more intentional. 

Why I Needed Culturally Responsive Teaching as a Student

I grew up in a mostly white community, but we have some culturally diverse cities close by.  I graduate from a state school that represented diversity well.  It was at this school that I took a course on African American Literature.  The professor was new and was trying to prove his worth by overstacking the curriculum.  However, the books he chose for us to read opened my eyes to the issues of race in a way I had never seen before.  Even though we only read about half of what he had planned I was thankful for the course and all it taught me.

When I Learned About Culturally Responsive Teaching

Then in graduate school, I had a professor who picked her home to ensure her kids had a culturally diverse experience.  She challenged us to face our own biases and think about how we would deal with different races and cultures in our classrooms.  She taught that though it can be challenging and even though we might not have the answers, we must talk about diversity and race.  Ignoring it is the biggest mistake we can make.  

I looked a the different approaches she offered for how I could do better than past teachers. I read the methods and ideas that currently existed to help with these conversations. I searched for a method that fit me as a teacher and I found it – Culturally Responsive Teaching.

What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?

Since I first wrote my final research paper on Culturally Responsive Teaching it has evolved.   There are three ideologies that exist around Culturally Responsive Teaching, they are slightly different but share the same heart issues of wanting to serve students better.  Let’s break these down as simply as possible.  If one of these resonates with you a lot then research it further.   This breakdown is meant to help you better understand the similarities and differences.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Gloria Ladson-Billings introduced Culturally Responsive Teaching because the common belief was that black children were deficient and deviant.  She wanted to know what was right and wonderful about their communities.  She looked at teachers that were excellent according to principals and parents.  These teachers had high expectations for their students and became part of their students’ communities.  The culturally relevant pedagogy that she defined was made of three components.

Student Learning 

Prioritize students’ intellectual growth and problem-solving skills.

Cultural Competence 

Create an environment that affirms and accepts student culture and helps them learn about other cultures.

Critical Consciousness

Help students learn how to identify and solve real problems especially social justice issues.

Culturally Responsive Teaching is Formalized

Geneva Gay took all of this information in 2000 and defined Culturally Responsive Teaching.  She broke it into five parts.   A lot of the unit I will share with you below is based on Gay’s work.

A Strong Knowledge About Cultural Diversity

Teachers need to know about, understand, and incorporate the different racial, ethnic, cultural, and traditions of their students into learning.  

Culturally Relevant Curricula

Instruction should include multiple perspectives on the topics and the classroom should represent the world’s diversity and the local area.

High Expectations for All Students

Academic success should allow students to represent and love their culture.

Appreciation for Different Communication Styles

Different cultures communicate differently and teachers need to understand that students might be respectful, not rude while they communicate differently.  Teachers need to understand and welcome different styles of communication.

Use Multicultural Instruction

Teachers should connect new lessons and information to what students know and their cultural experiences.

Culturally Relevant Teaching 

Student learning and achievement are a huge focus of Culturally Relevant Teaching.  However, students should be able to be academically successful while embracing their culture and identity. At the same time, students and teachers are working on developing cultural competence to develop positive ethnic and social identities.  Basically, they are working to understand the cultures in the classroom.  If teachers are not part of helping their students develop ethnic and social identities then they are likely discouraging it.  It’s hard for students to confidently find who they are and teachers can be part of students successfully and confidently determining their identity.  

Culturally Relevant Teaching also focuses on critical consciousness.  Critical consciousness is the ability to identify social injustices.  As students are able to identify them they will be able to discuss, and work through social injustices towards solutions or simply how to cope with them.  So many students see social injustices every day and they need to know what to do when facing them.

Culturally Sustaining Teaching  

Culturally Sustaining Teaching acknowledges that different races, cultures, and groups are different which means that students of color should not be allowed and encouraged to embrace their culture, rather than adhere to white cultural norms.  The teacher should encourage and nurture the cultural journey of their students.  Having students of different colors and cultures adds value to the classroom and is not something that should be educated students.

Culturally Sustaining Teaching values the community languages and practices.  It encourages student input and participation.  The curriculum uses students’ roots and history to support lessons.

More Articles on Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally Responsive Teaching Guide (+ 10 Examples)

5 Steps to Become a Culturally Responsive Teacher

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Empowering Students Through Respect

How to Use Culturally Responsive Teaching in Your Classroom

It can be intimidating to start culturally responsive teaching in your classroom.  It’s a challenge to see your students through a new lens and maybe change old habits.  I am going to layout for your a strong starting point to bring culturally responsive teaching into your classroom.

My Culturally Responsive Teaching Unit

I created a culturally responsive teaching unit for the beginning of the school.  This unit is comprised of five lessons.  The goal of these lessons is to help you get to know your students on a deeper level.  

Personal Narrative Writing Prompt

Personal Narratives are a great way to kick off the school year.   However, simply having your students write a personal narrative is a little boring.  This lesson is a literature-based activity that helps students see how to use their personal memories to tell a story.  The class reads the book Wilfred Gordan McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.  After a class discussion of the book, the students have the task of finding their own special memories which they will share with the class.  From there, students will write a personal narrative based on the book, discussions, and special memories.   

Not only does this lesson provide a great writing sample, but it also requires students to reflect on who they are.  As students think and reflect on what’s important to them.  It helps them see what’s important to them is different from their classmates.   And it helps them get to know their classmates better.  It shows the students that all students are valued in the class.

Building My Family Tree Activity

The modern family tree is complicated and intricate.  There are so many different connections that intertwine a family.   In this activity, the class will read and discuss two books about families.  Then students will build their family tree using the technical markings which are reserved for family trees.  The goal is to help the students see that every family is different and unique.  A family is created by all kinds of people.   

Free Verse Poetry Template

This is one of my favorite lessons.  Students reflect on who they are and write a poem about it.   The format is simple, each line starts with I AM.   Students use who they are, where their from, their family, and traditions to create a masterpiece of writing.   This poem is meant to have rhythm, and increase in intensity.  Students will take ownership of who they are as they write this poem.

Making Connections in Reading

After reading three books and discussing them as a class the students must think about their most unique qualities.   They will choose one to share with the rest of the class.  This lesson is simple, but guides students through reflection and embracing themselves.   

My Ethnic Identity & Where I’m From Culturally Responsive Teaching

Students are so focused on the things they want and what comes next in their schedule that they don’t know their family’s history.   The goal of this lesson is to have students start this conversation with their families at home.   If they don’t know the answers because of their family situation that’s okay.  They can simply talk to the adult or legal guardian in their life.   

When I taught this lesson I emailed parents to ensure that they understood the purpose of the lesson was that students would get to know about their family history and traditions.  One of the things I like most about this lesson is that the teacher learns early in the school year which holidays to include as part of classroom celebrations.  It’s a simple way to give the teachers and students a better understanding of who they are.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Starting Point

If you decide to use these lessons and activities in your classroom you need to remember that they are a starting point. They are a guide to help you start the process and get to know your students in a different way.

Any steps you take towards culturally responsive teaching in your classroom are positive steps.   Enjoy the process and let it transform your teaching.

Culturally Responsive Teaching All Year

Culturally Responsive Teaching can direct and improve your teaching all year long.  Once you’ve gotten to know your students in a different and personal way it’s a lot easier to think about who they are and let that influence your teaching.  With every lesson, you teach you to need to think about who your students are.  You need to consider their background knowledge and experiences and use those to teach.  It’s not about filling in gaps of knowledge, but using the knowledge they already have to help them retain and connect with the lessons you are teaching.

Don’t be afraid to change or rethink the lessons you’ve always taught so your students can access the material better.  Studies have shown that when teachers are culturally responsive, relevant, or sustaining their students learn more

Culturally Responsive Teaching Looks Different in Every City

The culture, ethnicity, and life experiences of children change in different cities, states, and countries.  This means that their isn’t a set curriculum or way to be a culturally responsive classroom.  

The teachers are an integral part of learning about the students so they can connect the curriculum to their culture.  Instead of teaching to one people group, stereotype, or average middle-class white person, the teacher is teaching to the students in front of them.  Of course, this looks very different in every city.   My town looks very different from the town one mile away.  It would be a mistake to teach these two groups the same way.  Instead, the teacher needs to learn about their students in an authentic way and use that knowledge to create meaningful lessons.

Culturally Responsive Teaching is One Option

Culturally responsive teaching isn’t the only way to teach our students in a positive and impactful way.  The research has proven that culturally responsive teaching and its counterparts are effective in the classroom, but I don’t want you to think if you struggle to start using these concepts in your classroom that you are a failure.  There is never one pedagogy that is 100% correct for everyone.  Implementing culturally responsive teaching is a process.  I firmly believe that using these ideas in your classroom will help you grow as a teacher and improve your classroom culture.  Take baby steps to get started and find your groove.

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

How to Easily Talk About and Teach Black History Today

Black history shouldn’t be limited to a month, but I love that we have a month devoted to remembering and learning about it.  It’s a time to highlight how important black history is.  However, black history is a sensitive topic.  There was and is a lot of social injustice in our world.  The topics we are trying to explain to students are jarring and uncomfortable.  They bring up so many feelings for everyone regardless of race.

H2 Personal Experience Title with SEO

I grew up in a predominately white town.  Diversity was basically non-existent.  In all of elementary school, I remember one black student.  Of course, we talked about Martin Luther King Jr. and other famous black leaders, but it was distant from our lives.  We didn’t know other students whose history and life trajectory were impacted by the great leaders of black history.

Black History

I know there are other teachers like me, who didn’t have a lot of exposure to diverse groups. It’s just not the town I grew up in.  Whether I like it or not my childhood experience shaped who I am and it’s something I need to be aware of as I teach.  I  need to work extra hard to make sure that I am doing the best I can for my students and not following the patterns or expectations I experienced in childhood.  

What is Black History?

Black History is the commemoration of the achievements and history of African Americans.  During the month of February, we bring special attention to Black history.  In 1915 the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History was founded.  Eleven years later in 1926 group declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week.”  The goal was to recognize the contributions of African Americans because it was rarely studied and wasn’t in textbooks.  The second week of February was chosen because it was the week of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays.  In 1976 President Gerald Ford extended the week-long event to Black History Month. 

Black History Month is meant to bring focus and attention to the contributions of all African Americans to the United States.  This includes a long list of incredible African Americans from the enslaved to Barack Obama, the first African American president.  Now other countries are following the example of the United States and have started celebrating Black people in similar ways.

More About How to Talk About Black History Today

Black History Month: Teaching The Complete History

42 Black History Month Activities for February and Beyond

Teaching Black History in the Classroom

The First Time I Felt Successful Teaching Black History

A few years back my 5th and 6th-grade students were reading the book The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis with their reading teacher.   I knew my students didn’t have the background knowledge to really grasp what this story was talking about.  I knew they were missing vital information and experiences in life to learn as much as they could from this book. 

I decide to have them dive into research.  I looked up major events of the Civil Rights Movement and made a list of topics for them to choose from.   They were going to complete a research paper on their topic. And an important piece of what I ask them today is to figure out why this topic is important today. Some of my students were shocked by what they read.  I remember having a conversation with my student who we’ll call Kyle.  He had read about a boy who had been beaten and hung for walking down the street. I asked him if this sounded similar to anything that happens today.  He said no at first, but with some conversation and encouragement, he quickly found cases in recent history.  I knew this student learned a valuable lesson that could change his life.  For the first time, he saw social injustice and that it still existed today.

The most important thing to remember when teaching black history is that we need to talk about it to help our students learn.   We need to expand our students’ world views.  We will also make many mistakes in our attempts, but if we start to have an open dialogue with our students then we may be able to teach them while learning ourselves.

Civil Rights Movement 1960s Research Project: MLK Jr. & Black History

The Civil Rights Movement 1960s is a research choice board project.  Students will research a particular topic from the Civil Rights Movement.  Then they will choose how they want to share what they learned from the choice board.  Students will learn more about the Civil Rights Movement by researching it and sharing what they learned.  Since students get to choose their project they will be more invested and engaged.  I also love how this lesson walks students through the writing process to make the learning support all future writing projects.

This is my original Civil Rights Movement lesson that I taught to my students.   I saw them make grow a deeper understanding of social injustice through this project.  

Famous People in Black History Research Project

There are so many famous people in Black History that have made valuable contributions to their country, culture, and world.  In this choice board research project, students will one person from the list of famous people in Black History to study.  Then students will research all about that person.  Once their research is done they will decide how to share what they learned with the class by choosing a project from the choice board. 

Learning about one famous person in Black History can help students connect to history through that person’s story.  Giving students a focus on 

Timeline of the Civil Rights Movement: Class Project

The Civil Rights Movement took years to organize, push forward, and cause change.  It is a lot of information over a long period of time to wrap your head around.  In this timeline project students take responsibility for one event in the civil rights movement.  They learn everything they can about it.   Then students turn all of their research into a concise slide (or worksheet) emphasizing the most important facts.  Then the whole class will pull their work together to create a timeline.  Each student gets to share their information and research with the class to show what they or learned.

Black History Leaders Biography Timelines Research Project

There are so many amazing Black History leaders who changed the world.  These leaders span history. In this timeline project students will research one of the major black history leaders.  Then students will create a timeline of that person’s life.   This project is a great way to have students learn about research, determine the most important facts, and present what they learned to the class.   This project will help your students connect with Black History as they learn about one person who changed the world.  

Biography of Martin Luther King Jr. Timeline Project   

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential people in Black History. He went from a simple life to the face and leader of the Civil Rights Movement.   Our students all know his name.  How can they not? They get a whole day of school off to celebrate his birthday.  This timeline project asks students to dive a little deeper into the life of Martin Luther King Jr.  Each student will research a life event from Martin Luther King Jr.”s life.  After they complete their research and turn it into a slide for a class slideshow or a book page for a class book.   Students can then share what they learned about their event of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life with the rest of the class.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The Most Important Thing About Teaching Black History

The most important thing about teaching black history is that you teach it.  You must be willing to take the uncomfortable steps of talking about race, racism, and social injustice to teach your students.  It’s not a topic to be avoided, it is a topic to approach with sensitivity, empathy, and thoughtfulness.  These are a just a few projects to help guide you.  It’s teaching students about Black History without the textbook.  

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

18 Simple and Fabulous Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Teachers

Persuasive writing is a lot of fun to teach students because they get to talk about topics they are passionate about, convince their readers to agree with them, and write.  Even though persuasive writing is fun to teach there are so many parts to persuasive writing it’s good to have a well-thought-out plan for how you will go about it.   Mini-lessons are a great way to allow your students time to learn quick lessons and write.

Fun Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

Analyzing advertising, creating ads, and debates are fun parts of teaching persuasive writing.  Students quickly become engaged in learning about persuasive writing because it brings writing to life in a new way.  Persuasive writing sparks creativity and interest from students in a way that other types of writing don’t.  I always loved the way my students lit and talked when we started persuasive writing. Enjoy all the fun parts of teaching persuasive writing.

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas Bringing Together Writing and Persuasive Skills

One of the reasons students love persuasive writing is because they get to convince the reader to agree with them.  By fourth grade, students are working on persuading friends and family to do all sorts of things they want.  When students realize they can do this in writing, for school, and get good grades for it they are surprised and engaged. Persuasive writing brings together students’ incredible persuasive skills and writing to help students learn a completely new skill.

What is Persuasive Writing?

Persuasive writing essays are when the writer is trying to convince the reader to agree with them.  The writer wants to be right and to prove that they are, they may blend facts and opinions.  They can also use emotional connections to try to persuade the reader. After the writer has convinced the reader they are right, the writer is trying to get the reader to do something like stop using plastic straws or buy them a puppy.  How they manage to convince the reader to adopt new ways of thinking depends on the technique or combination of techniques the writer decides to use.  There are a lot of tips, methods, and ideas out there, but they all come back to three techniques.

Techniques of persuasive writing are the methods a writer uses to convince the reader to agree with them and do what they want.  Remember there is a slight difference between opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing.  If you want to read about the differences, you can look at my article Discover this Powerful 3 Part Detailed and Simple Guide to Persuasive Writing Essays.

Articles about Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

Teaching Persuasive Writing…Painlessly

10 Steps to Teach Persuasive Writing 

18 Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

It can be hard to know where to start with persuasive writing.  It’s difficult to determine what our students know, how we can engage them, and how many lessons to use.  Then creating the lessons is a whole other challenge.  Here are 17 persuasive writing mini-lesson ideas to simplify the whole process.  Keep an eye on my TpT store [KPN2] too because these lessons will be for sale soon.

Persuasive Mentor Text Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

Mentor texts always have a positive impact on student learning.  Students are still learning what persuasive writing is in the upper elementary grades.  Let them explore and observe mentor texts in small groups or as a class.  See what they can learn just from reading mentor texts.  They might make observations about the type of writing, the language used, transitions, and more.

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas to Explain “What is Persuasive Writing?”

It’s important that near the beginning of your persuasive writing unit, you take time to define persuasive writing with your students.  They need to know how persuasive writing is different from other types of writing.  Here are a few ideas on how to teach your students what persuasive writing is.

  • Look at mentor texts
  • Compare different types of texts
  • Use a Venn diagram
  • Name that type of writing game
  • Book sort
  • Look at where persuasive writing is used in the real world

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Picking Persuasive Topics

Your students need options for what their persuasive topics will be.  You can give a few options, set parameters, or allow students to write about any topic.   Persuasive writing is all about convincing others to believe what you believe, agree with you about what is right, and think about an alternative perspective.  You can challenge older students by having them persuade others when they don’t believe in the topic.  However, students who are still learning to write a persuasive essay must believe passionately in their topic.   

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Research Persuasive Topic

Once students pick their topics, they need to research them thoroughly.  I have students research their topics before they declare their stance because sometimes after students research a topic well, they change their stance.  What they believed to be true was incorrect or inaccurate.  Teachers know how to research but students do not.

  • Give Your Students Specific Websites to Use for Research
  • Use a Persuasive Writing Graphic Organizer
  • Watch YouTube Videos
  • Get the Librarian Involved

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Thesis Statements

Once their research is done students should decide on which side of the argument they are on.  What position are they taking? What are they going to try to persuade others to believe?

The first thing students need to write is their thesis statement. Their thesis statement should clearly state their opinion on their topic. It must be straightforward and clear to ensure that the readers don’t get confused. Usually, the thesis statement is in the introductory paragraph, but they can write the thesis statement and then go back to write the rest later.  I think it’s easier to write the rest later because then the rest of the essay is clear. 

  • Show your students several examples of thesis statements.
  • Sentence starters could help your students write their thesis statements.
  • Have your students work in small groups to declare a clear thesis statement.

Task, Purpose, and Audience for Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

The students know the purpose of their writing is to persuade others.  That is the type of writing they are required to complete. 

Their task is the assignment the teacher has given.  You could ask them to give three clear reasons with evidence.  You might say the opening and closing paragraphs must be engaging and well-planned.  You might require data and statistics.  The task could be the topic of the persuasive essay.  Their task involves the specifics of the assignment you have given them.

Their audience is extremely important.  If students are writing to their peers, they will write differently than if they write to their audience, if their parents.  Vocabulary, sentence structure, and reasoning all change depending on who their audience is.  It’s important to teach students how to identify and write to their audience.

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos as Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

Have you heard of ethos, pathos, and logos?  They are the three modes of persuasion that Aristotle identified long ago.  Persuasive strategies stem from ethos, pathos, and logos.  Ethos is moral persuasion, pathos is emotional persuasion, and logos are logical persuasion.  Many people have broken persuasion into smaller or more specific parts, but they can be traced back to ethos, pathos, and logos.  Teach your students about these ancient terms that still hold true.  They will be better writers for it.  You can read more about ethos, pathos, and logos in my article Discover this Powerful 3 Part Detailed and Simple Guide to Persuasive Writing Essays. 

Persuasive Reasoning Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

By the time you get to this lesson, your students should have researched their topic thoroughly.  Now they must determine the best reasons and arguments they will present to the reader.  Here are some ways to get your student started

  • Organize their reasons and arguments into categories
  • Star the best arguments
  • Have students work in groups to determine their reasons and arguments

Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Adding Counterarguments

As students grow as writers, they will mature beyond sharing their opinion, then adding strong reasoning, and finally addressing counterarguments.  Counterarguments are what the reader or opposing viewpoint might say about the topic and reasons.  Counterarguments are the reason to not agree with the writer.  A strong writer will point out the counterarguments to explain that they have researched and considered these ideas, but still, believe their viewpoint is correct.

Teaching students about counterpoints can be fun and tricky.  Here are a few ideas.

  • Mentor Texts
  • Debates
  • Small Group Discussion
  • Research

Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Organization

Organization is extremely important in persuasive writing.  Sometimes the writer is educating the audience at the same time they are trying to persuade them.  The sequence of reasons should build on each other at the same time as they inform the audience.  Students need to make sure their reasons and evidence all belong in the same paragraph.  Then they need to make sure their paragraphs are in a logical order.

Students tend to dislike arranging and rearranging their work.  I think it’s often because they aren’t sure how to do it.  It can be hard to see how other writers’ ideas build on each other and figure out how to do it themselves.  Here are some ideas you can try in your classroom.

  • Read mentor texts to examine how ideas build on each other.
  • Put their reasons and evidence on sticky notes so they can rearrange them easily
  • Use Graphic organizers that support organizing their ideas
  • Discuss their organization with a few partners who know the topic well and some who don’t.

Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Writing Style

Students quickly learn how to write in the first person in narrative writing.  Then we teach students about the third person and formality in expository writing.  However, the second person is a little more complex.  It’s not used as much in school.

Persuasive writing uses all the writing styles.  When students are writing opinion pieces, they use the first person.  Then when students start writing persuasive essays, they can use I or you, first or second person.  Finally, when students start argumentative essays, they should maintain a formal style or third person.  Persuasive writing is a great opportunity to talk about the benefits and purpose of each writing style.

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas on Persuasive Words and Sentence Structure

Persuasive writing has a unique language that is effective for persuading the reader.  Persuasive words and sentences help the reader understand and connect with the topic.  They can make something seem wonderful or awful depending on the description used.  The sentence encourages the reader to think and compare both sides.  A quick Google search will help you find lots of persuasive words and sentence structure.  I like to check the images tab. 

Persuasive language can be really fun to teach, and it practices a lot of description.  You can have students discuss these in small groups, create a quick project, or debate both sides.  Here are a few ideas.

  • Sell a Product
  • Political Ads
  • Environmental Issues
  • Describe a Person
  • Describe a Book or TV Villain

Expanding Persuasive Thoughts Through Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

When a student is passionate about the topic they are writing about it can be easy for them to get stuck on a small portion of the topic.  They can only see their small point of view.  It’s important to teach students how to expand their ideas and thoughts, not just in writing class, but in life. 

Expanding ideas can simply mean that students give more detail and description in their writing to give the reader a clear picture.  It can also mean expanding their topic for greater examination.  The best way for students to do this is by researching thoroughly, but even after the research phase, students can have trouble letting go of their original idea.  Let’s look at how to do it.

  • Create a question starburst so students must dive deeper into research.
  • Small group discussions with people who agree.
  • Small group discussions with people who don’t agree.
  • Interview people who know or are impacted by the topic.
  • Make it a game where students get a topic, and each student has to come up with a question.  See if students can build questions from other people’s questions that dive deeper into the topic.
  • Make students answer the 5W’s for each reason.

Call to Action Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

A call to action is a key component of persuasive writing.  Opinion writing is more about sharing the writer’s opinion.  Argumentative writing gives research and data to let the reader decide what is right using logic.  This means that Persuasive writing is where students will want to have a call to action, some argumentative writing might also.

A call to action is what the writer is asking the reader to do about what they read.  They could ask the reader to do something, stop doing something, or take action beyond themselves.  Here are a few examples.

  • Recycle
  • Stop using plastic straws
  • Write a politician
  • Share the information so more people know

It’s great to be able to write so people will listen and believe you.  It’s incredible to write so people will change or get up and do something about it.  The best way to teach your students a call to action is to have them read some short articles about a topic.  Ask them which one made them want to do something. See if they can find a call to action in the writing.

Persuasive Conclusions Writing Mini Lesson Ideas

The conclusion of a persuasive paper has a standard formula in the academic world. It’s a bit predictable and boring to grade but it works especially as students are still learning persuasive writing.

1. Restate the Thesis

2. Summarize the Reasons

3. Remind the Reader Why They Care

4. Call to Action

5. Strong Closing Sentence

The best way to help students learn how to write a persuasive conclusion is to give them each other’s papers. Have students write the conclusion for 3 to 5 classmates.  This activity gives students lots of practice writing conclusions and it takes the emotion out of the final paragraph of their own writing. 

Sometimes we get too close to our writing and the conclusion is usually the place that suffers the most.  We know the material so well by that point that it is poorly done.  I love the idea of having students practice with their peers’ work.  They can also read the conclusions their peers wrote for them to see if they need to revise parts further or if it’s good.  They can borrow some ideas from the conclusions their peers wrote but should still write their conclusion.

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas Revising Persuasive Writing

Each lesson has allowed your students to revise their work.  They were guided through the entire process of writing a persuasive essay.  Writing can always get better though. 

Revision is when a writer makes sure their writing is clear to the reader.  All confusing or unnecessary parts have been fixed or removed.  But of course, our students’ ideas are clear to them.  Here’s how we can help them see their work better.

  • Peer Editing
  • Examine the Conclusions Their Peers Wrote
  • Fill Out a New Graphic Organizer to Check Their Work
  • Read it Out Loud

Writers should continuously revise their work.  It’s why our student’s hand in final drafts because there are always more improvements to be made.

Writing Mini Lesson Ideas for Editing Persuasive Essays

Editing is one of the most tedious steps of the writing process.  Fixing the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization can be overwhelming, especially for the students who need editing the most.  Here are a few ideas on how to edit.

  • Editing in Rounds – Students read the paper several times fixing only one thing each time. For example on the first student check only capitalization.
  • Peer Editing – Students have a peer read their work and give suggestions.
  • Students Read Their Own Paper to a Peer – Reading out loud helps everyone find more errors.
  • Rainbow Editing – Have several students edit each paper, but each student uses a different color and tries to find errors the last person didn’t.

Persuasive Writing Essay Dos and Don’ts

If you have any special rules or things you want students to do or avoid doing, then make it a small mini-lesson.  It’s great to have this at the end of the unit because you have been guiding them the whole time.  It’s almost a recap of what you think is most important and anything extra you want to add.  It’s hard for me to give a list of dos and don’ts because this will be completely different for every teacher.

Persuasive Writing Min Lesson Ideas and Passion

Passion is so important in persuasive writing because it’s easier to argue and persuade for something the writer believes in.  In school students often must write about particular topics, study history and science that the curriculum dictates, perform the pieces that the teacher chooses, or solve the problems laid out on that cute worksheet.  In persuasive writing, it’s important to truly let your students have a voice.  Let them choose the topics, their stance, the arguments, research, and counterpoints.  Let their passion and ideas fill the pages and your students will learn.

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

5 Amazing and Meaningful New Year’s Writing Activities for 4th Through 7th Grade

New Year’s Day is a natural time to set goals and think about the future.  As teachers, we can do that for ourselves and teach our students how to do it too.  It’s a teachable moment that we can prepare for and harness.  The result could be a smoother transition back to school.

New Year’s Writing Activities in My Classroom

One of the first New Year’s activities I taught in the classroom was the goal-setting snowman.  Each student had to write a goal for the new year.  There were rules though;  it had to be measurable, include a plan of how they would do it, and couldn’t be consumer gain.  So their goal couldn’t be, “I will get the latest Xbox.”  It could be, “I will play with my dog for 10 minutes each day, so he feels loved and gets healthy.”  There is a huge difference between these two goals and our students need to be taught about it.

Incorporating New Year’s Writing Activities in the Classroom

When students come back from their winter break they are anything but focused.  They most likely just celebrated two holidays and had about 2 weeks off of school.  The best way to get them back on track is to have a conversation about the New Year, it’s the most recent event in their lives.  We can embrace the goals of New Year’s Day and turn our lessons into something that will meet our students halfway. 

Why are New Year’s Writing Activities Important?

A new year means it’s time to tackle new things, set goals, and take on challenges.  It’s a great holiday to celebrate in the classroom because it’s a natural way to teach our students how to do these things.  Our students won’t know the steps to create and write an achievable goal until someone explain and shows them how.  Setting goals to achieve our dreams and desires is a valuable skill.  They will probably use it more than colon and semi-colon usage.

More New Year’s Writing Activities

Goal Setting Defined and Refined: It’s Better Than Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year Writing Activities and Crafts for Teachers K-5 in 2022

5 New Year’s Writing Activities

New Year’s is a hopeful holiday to celebrate.  It’s a time to recognize endings, reflect, make resolutions, and celebrate.  We can reign in our wild students by doing all of these things through writing.  These activities give you some different options of activities to complete with your students.  Help them become inspired this New Year’s.

  1. Around the World New Year is Part of New Year’s Writing Activities

One of my favorite news stories around New Year’s Eve is how different countries celebrate the holiday.  Every country has different traditions that are fun to learn about.  Our students can learn what the different traditions are and where they come from.  The best part of exploring Around the World New Year’s is that some of the traditions can be done in class.  Assignments are more meaningful when they are hands-on.  

In this project, students research the traditions of one country.  Then students create a presentation from their research and share it with the class.  The goal of this research project is to expand student understanding of different cultures around the world.  My favorite part is when students can participate in the New Year’s tradition in class.

  1. New Years Resolution is Part of New Year’s Writing Activities

Picking a New Years Resolution is a tradition at New Year’s.  It’s a time when we think about how we want to change and improve ourselves.  The things that we can work towards and do differently to make a positive impact on the world.  

In this craftivity, students will write a New Year’s resolution that has some parameters to ensure it’s not selfish or about getting things.  Students record their goals on a snowman to display in the classroom.  This activity walks students through thinking about and picking a goal.  They learn how to write their goal in a measurable way.  

  1. New Years Goal is Part of New Year’s Writing Activities

Goal setting is an important skill for students to chase their dreams and accomplish what they want.  There are 10 steps to writing and completing a goal.  Goals can be pretty complex which is why it’s a good skill to teach students.   I created a goal-setting slideshow and student workbook to teach students goal-setting easily.  Now you can easily add your own flare while teaching proven goal-setting steps to your students.

  1. One Word for New Year’s Resolution is Part of New Year’s Writing Activities

Suddenly, one year everyone was talking about embracing one word to represent who they want to become in the new year.  What a concept that by improving one character trait each year we grow as people.  How concise we have to be to pick a word that represents our hopes and dreams. 

In this lesson, students choose that one word, but because they are students we go beyond that.  The students write about different areas in their lives where they want to see change as they focus on embracing that word.  Students can complete this as digital or printable activity.

  1. New Years Reflection is Part of New Year’s Writing Activities

Before students can make realistic and helpful goals for the next year they need to take a look at the past year.  This lesson helps students with their New Year’s reflection.   They thoughtfully examine their past year to help them prepare for the next.  Through a class discussions and worksheets, students reflect on their the positives and negatives of the past year.

  1. New Year’s Activities for Kids is New Year’s Writing Activities

Sometimes we need several activities to do with our students.  Maybe you plan on having a New Year’s week in your classroom.  Grab all of the New Year’s writing activities to do with your students.  This bundle includes all of the activities we have talked about.  You can use different activities each year or do them all.  Help your students embrace new goals, new starts, and New Year’s in your classroom.

New Year’s Writing Activities Final Tips

These New Year’s activities provide a simple framework and outline for teaching about goal setting and New Year’s Eve.  It’s part of our culture to participate in these activities or to choose not to, but we should know why.  There are so many other pieces of curriculum to create, these are done for you.  Most of these have digital and printable versions.  The longer New Year’s writing activities will walk your students through the writing process.  Embrace the new year and all it brings and teach your students how to also.

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.