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LKSD Best Practice #16: Students engage in writing in all subjects, every day

There are many different types of writing to choose from in our classrooms: reflective, journal, structured, and free. Writing should be entirely original and student generated thought. 

Reflective writing takes the form and feel of a journal or diary in that students should be able to look back and review what they did in previous lessons.

Focus Friday: January 27, 2023

EOY Writing Goals


By the end of the year, students will be able to

write one complete sentence in 8- 10 minutes


By the end of the year, students will be able to:

  • write one *new* complete sentence each month

  • write a total of 9 sentences in 15 minutes

9+ Sentences -> Multiple Pages

1st Grade

By the end of the year, students will be able to:

  • read on grade level

  • write one full page with an increased complexity from kindergarten

  • 15- 20 minute time frame

2nd Grade

Write 9+ sentences or multiple pages:

  • Fall semester, 15 minutes

  • Spring semester, 12 minutes 

3rd- 12th Grade

Write 9+ sentences or multiple pages in 10 minutes

Key points to consider:

  • Students should have separate journals for language arts, math, science and social studies

  • Reflective writing should occur everyday and include academic vocabulary from the lesson's objectives or classwork 

Types of Writing 


  • How it's said VS What is said

  • Focus on grammar 

  • Punctuation is stressed

  • Emphasis on "correct" writing

  • Less creativity 


  • What is said VS How it's said

  • Punctuation is NOT stressed 

  • Facilitates skill retention

  • More creativity

  • More (volume) 

"One Word Essay"

Free Writing Strategy

Teacher Showcase

I've been working with the class on writing using journal exercises. I give a one-word prompt, and the students write for 15 minutes.

Students are instructed not to worry about form and spelling; just write. 

Since August, the students have increased the amount they can write in the allotted time. They're building their ability to imagine and write.

Teacher Abigail Schwerin, Platinum

Looking to differentiate or spice things up a bit? 
  • Step 1: Assign writing task (250 words or 5 paragraph essay)

  • Step 2: Students write an essay centered around the one word you provide

    • Example: Write a 5 paragraph essay focused around the word "blue" ​

  • Step 3: Students ​complete the assignment and turn in

  • Step 4: Teacher reads the papers with two things in mind:

    • Assess creativity and interesting value

    • Teacher does *not* correct the papers

  • Step 5: Teacher anonymously reads out loud the 3 "most creative/ different" papers​

  • Step 6: Students can quietly guess who the author was; teacher quietly returns those three papers to their original owners as positive reinforcement 

  • Step 7: Teacher returns the remaining papers to the class  

If we put a limit on our expectations, that's all they're going to give us. 

One Assignment: Parallel Effort

When working in pairs, we recommend partners use a different color (pen, marker, etc).

  • PreK: pairs write one letter at a time

  • KG: pairs write one word at a time

  • Grades 1- 12: pairs write one sentence at a time

  • Students are NOT allowed to copy from their partner

  • Students are NOT allowed to do their partner's work for them

In this example, Partner A used the purple marker while Partner B used the orange one.


When we compile and showcase students' writing, it provides students the opportunity to reflect and see how their skills have grown over time. 

Credit: The teachers of Mertarvik

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