Get Your Students to Produce Quality “How To” Writing

September 20, 2014 by

Hello and welcome to my blog!  This month’s Bright Ideas post will find you a few quick tips for producing quality “How To” writing from your students.  Be sure to check the linky directory below to read over 100 other “Bright Ideas” from other fantastic teacher bloggers!
“How To” writing can be very challenging for children if they are not able to connect it to real life.  If they are unable to identify it’s purpose, they will struggle.  One way to divert this problem is to create a “real life” situation and let kids actually explain what happened.  This allows them to think through the process, talk about it, and finally write about it.
For my Firsties, I brought the kitchen to the classroom with simple recipe all kids can understand.  We made trail mix.  It is easy enough to write about, yet still requires step-by-step directions.  We used M&M’s, raisins, and peanuts.  I did not want to use too many ingredients because we just wanted to get the concept of a “How To” writing.

In the above picture, you will see an excellent graphic organizer for the “How To” writing.  I had my students draw detailed pictures first.  When they were done drawing the pictures, I let them write their sentences.  Before their sentence, I have them “write it out loud.”  This really helps them with their complete sentences.  I also emphasize using the correct verbs and materials/ingredients.

My kids loved using this real life experience and writing about it.  When you are able to create meaning for your students, they have more motivation and they show ownership of their writing.
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