Writing is one of my favorite things to teach. I am always entertained by the stories students choose to share and love to see the creative ways they find to express their thoughts and ideas. But just because I love to teach it, doesn’t mean all of my students have always loved to do it.
Like all teachers, I have students who have difficulty choosing a topic and/or getting started on a piece. Many find it hard to write multiple details about their topic. Limited vocabulary makes it difficult for others to expand on their thoughts and ideas. Finally, there are those who feel apprehensive about writing due to their knowledge (or lack there of) of spelling.
Year after year, I saw students hitting these same roadblocks. Knowing that I could predict them, I decided to find a way to prevent them. Today I’m excited to share with you the Picture Prompts I created to help my first grade friends overcome these common obstacles.
My students LOVE writing with Picture Prompts. I love them because they have ALL of my students WRITING! It’s a single resource that meets the needs of my entire class. Oh, and they are virtually NO PREP!
Scaffold of Support
The picture prompts have vocabulary words printed right on the page as a support for writers. I have taught my students that the first word in the list names the picture and the rest of the words are ones that I predict they may need while writing their story. This support has made a huge difference. Not only are the words accessible for spelling, but it also helps some students to add more detail to their writing.
At the bottom of the printable is a student editing checklist. I teach my students to use it after they finish writing their story. In order for the checklist to be effective, I had to spend time explicitly teaching what each part means and modeled how to use it in my own writing. I have a large poster of this checklist and small copies students can refer to as a further support.
Another great thing about this resource is that it is super flexible. It can be used while teaching narrative, opinion and informative writing. Throughout the day it can be used as a writing center, morning journal work, or for homework.
I had a teacher share how she used the prompts in her classroom on my Facebook page: “This was our latest writing about polar bears! We did research all week and on Thursday and Friday they use that research along with the word bank on the paper and wrote about what they learned. Then they created their own polar bear!”
Here are a few samples. The first picture is a sample from special education student. She was so proud to read her story aloud to her classmates. 🙂
I have included these student writing tools in the Picture Prompts resource:
I am in such awe of when I read the positive feedback I get from other teachers regarding this resource. It has helped so many children. Look what other teachers have shared:
“This has been a helpful addition to my writing intervention small groups. I teach special education K-5. I use these pages in small journal type packets. The word banks, picture prompts and even the single page of commonly used words have all been extremely useful for my students. For my oldest but most challenged, the scaffolding means the difference between independently writing and being “stuck” waiting for help. This may be the single most helpful new item I’ve used all year!” ~Tracey