• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Where do I begin?



Where would you suggest a teacher start if not doing a great job with writing? I am a bit lost in this area and need your help. Help me get the basics from step one to end result. Thanks in advance.


Senior Member
need more info.

What grade and skill level? What do your students do well?

If they write sentences well, then move to paragraph organization. If they nailed organization then work on word choice. Do they use transition word?


Senior Member

Step Up to Writing is an excellent program to get kids into the organization of writing. (it's heavy on organization and ideas and light on the voice/style component that 6 traits covers.)

Step Up does have a primary component, though.

does your district have a writing assessment that your grade must do? my advice is get more involved with it-- in our district, the 6th grade must write an expository essay in march (ack! this coming wednesday!!) and 6th grade teachers from around the district score it with a 1-5 scoring rubric. i was asked several years ago to help the district make a "Pencil Box" to help 6th grade teachers prep for this assessment. this involved having our students write "fake" DWA's (direct writing assessments)--they have 90 minutes to create a "final" essay. we then used our scoring rubric (after fine-tuning it) to score those essays and create samples of all different scores--so teachers and students know what a 3 looks like, a 5--an NS (not scorable) due to illegibility (?), format other than essay, and not on prompt.

anyway, every year since then, i have attended the scoring session for these DWA's. (we aren't allowed to score our own schools, or any students' that we know.) i feel this has made me a much better writing teacher because i know what they need to be proficient writers--also, i lost that dread of scoring a class of essays--i just use the scoring rubric to give a holistic grade rather than nitpicking every thing. (i teach my class the scoring rubric, and we occasionally score sample essays--and i have them tell me what they need to add/fix in their writing to earn a higher score.)

hope that helps!


I have taught third for two years now and I like beginning with a Mary Rose activity that I learned in a workshop. I found it's a great way to teach organization and it's something that you can have the students go back to later in the year to add elaborations. Give students a brown paper bag and ask them to collect three things that are very important to them, must fit in the bag, and the object has to relate to them. For example, I had a student who was really into softball bring in one and she wrote about it. You start out by modeling your bag and makin a big deal about each of your items. Each of your item is a paragraph. There is some really fun writing activites in her books.

Hope this helps.