Writing from the beginning is important. AND writing from the beginning of school is crucial to creating healthy routines and expectations, but let’s talk about back to school. Back to school means a few things to me:
- new students
- new classroom
- new opportunities
I get excited about all of the things on the list…even the routines. If we start the year off with routines, the students will become independent and need you less. They will also know exactly what you expect and what is expected from them. It’s a win-win-win.
This Back To School post is special, several bloggers and I have teamed up for a FREE Back to School eBook…ready for you to download. Check the bottom for the link!
I have said it before (about a hundred times) and I’ll say it again (a hundred more)…every class needs a sound chart. The sound chart needs to be specific and chosen carefully. The letter/sound connections need to be deliberate. Sounds should be the linked for maximum use. Vowels should be short, and carefully chosen. E is the trickiest and “egg” is a great choice. You don’t want to use “elephant” or “elevator,” it becomes a l-controlled vowel. Consonants also need to be chosen carefully. G and C need to be the hard sound (gum and cat), not the lesser used soft G and C (gem and circle).
The routine for the Sound Chart evolves throughout the year, but it is shared daily. As the year progresses, the sound chart, does as well. As the students are becoming independent and quick to echo or read, move to a new choice for review. It keeps engagement high.
- Echo read each letter and sound DAILY.
- Choral read each letter and sound DAILY.
- Read the columns vertically, top to bottom, DAILY.
- Read the columns vertically, bottom to top, DAILY.
- Read the rows RIGHT-TO-LEFT DAILY.
- Read the rows like you are following a snake…going left-to-right, then right-to-left, then back again DAILY.
- Read 10 random letters DAILY.
- Whatever you do, the routine needs to be DAILY.
When you download the eBook, there is a link to a FREE Sound Chart!
Four Square Writing
A simple idea for creating routines is using a 4 Square template. The template, designed by Judith Gould, is perfect for early writers. I have created templates for anything you need in the school year and tweaked the original 4 Square idea. The basic 4 square includes a topic box in the center, surrounded by 4 “squares” with a detail in each. This MEGA BUNDLE has 394 templates for a wise variety of writing topics and needs throughout the year.
As a whole group, students can be guided through writing 1 sentence a day for four days with an illustration day at the end OR 1 sentence a day for 5 days, with a topic sentence first.
The key to using 4 Square early in the school year is making sure students are using word wall words as sentence starters and setting routines for writing each day. The routines need to include stretching and writing “what they hear” with connections to the sound chart and using the sound chart and word wall for the word patterns.
Creating routines in the beginning and using them consistently can help all year!
Grab Your Copy of our Ebook
As I mentioned, we have compiled a Back to School Made Easy eBook with lots of ideas and lots of tips and tricks. Each page in the eBook has links to FREE and DISCOUNTED products for you. My sound chart set is included as an email subscriber freebie. You can unsubscribe any time if you do not wish to receive emails from me. Click below to download the ebook, but be sure to visit the other posts listed below.
Guess what? ONE LUCKY PERSON will get a FREE copy of all the DISCOUNTED products. It’s worth over $700. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
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