Friday, July 10, 2015

best / favorite lessons

Hi all! Today we're blogging about our favorite and/or best lessons! I can't wait to read about all of yours! Be sure to link them up below (and if you want to write about something else, do that, too!)

One of my favorite lessons I used to do was an introductory lesson to the Writing Process. In this lesson, each child uses Play-Doh as I walk them through the process of creating a pencil holder, which serves as a metaphor for teaching writing. The kids end up creating all kinds of little sculptures, like these:

During the lesson, they "Rehearse" their piece in the beginning and we talk about not letting the critic's voice come into play - to just go ahead and create without fear of it not being good enough/pretty enough, etc. After a few minutes of working, I tell them to smash it up and start again, so the creator within them can continue to put ideas forward. They continue working, ignoring the critic, on something new. We spend a fair amount of time rehearsing - creating and then beginning again.

As they carry on, I prompt them to think about their purpose - something that looks good and serves the purpose of holding the pencil. We remind them to think about their audience, and so they ask for feedback from a friend about their creation thus far. They ask their partner, "Do you know where the pencil will go?" If so, the piece has unity and a strong message. 

Next, we encourage students to "see their piece again," as writers do in revision. They are asked to look at it from all points of view - from up high, down low, from across the way. Students make adjustments as needed.

They are then told that we also look at the fine details, which writers do as they edit, and so the kids ask their neighbors to exchange pieces of Play Doh to add the finishing touches to the piece with new colors.

Finally, students display their piece of art on an index cards that has a title and their name. Students gallery walk all pieces so all creations can be seen.

This lesson is super engaging for kids and a fantastic metaphor for the work they will do with the writing process all year! Plus, their pencil holders turn out so so cute!

This was just a little overview, but you can find a more detailed lesson plan here. Additionally, I'm discounting my Writing Process Posters - something that you might like to add to your own Writing Workshop! Check those out here. In addition to the process posters, this doc includes ideas to use for teaching the writing process at each of the six stages!

Get the details for this challenge here!


  1. I LOVE this lesson! Thank you so much for sharing it. It is fantastic on so many levels!

  2. This is so cool! What grade levels have you used it with? I'm not sure my first graders would get it. I think I'd have quite a few refuse to smash it.
    Not very fancy in 1st

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