English Writing

First Grade Homeschooling

What “Small-Moment Writing” looks like in First Grade (at home)

Lucy Calkins’ units are not perfect, but her “whole language” approach does nurture a love of writing. She places a strong emphasis on writer’s craft, and it is not at all too early for 6-7 year olds to start thinking about how authors make a purposeful choice of vocabulary, sentence formation, voice OR tone in…

Age 6 and up

How to practice Past Tense using “Hey Jack” series (Grade 1-3)

If you haven’t already noticed, many young children’s books are written in the simple present tense. For teachers, this is wonderful to see since exposing children to different tenses in books is one way to get them familiar with its usage. Simple present tense is used to: describe facts or habitsdescribe scheduled events This is…

Ages 4 -6

Setting up a writing center for a 6 year old

Why set up a writing center? At home, a writing center provides an inviting environment so that your child can access writing tools, explore different materials and build a habit of writing. Since I am teaching Kai and Kei to read and write, I do Guided Writing lessons where I teach the skills, and let…

Offering structured choice to encourage writing

What is structured choiceExamples of structured choice in writingProviding structured choice for practicing spellingProviding structured choice through different writing genresNarratives/RecountHow-to WritingOpinion WritingReportsProviding structured choice within a writing centerConclusion 1. What is structured choice? Structured choice is nothing new in terms of behavioral/parenting strategy. A structured choice presents a child with options which are acceptable for…

What we need to know about children’s stages of writing development

Many parents ask me: When does a child start writing?  It is difficult to answer this question since writing could be anything from “meaningful scribbles,” “letter formation” to “spelling accurately.”  Children as young as 2 years old begin making marks on paper to show their thoughts and ideas.  Children go through stages of writing development when…

Using the Story Grammar Marker (SGM) to support reading, writing and speaking (Titanic Unit) and others

Children’s stories are more or less structured the same way. The structure, also called “story grammar” divides a story into smaller segments. Depending on what programs you use, the story grammar elements could be different, but character, setting, problem, events are usually standard. It is important that children learn to identify parts of a story…

10 ways to use sticky notes to support literacy at home

I use a lot of sticky-notes in the classroom! I use them for assessments, I use them for Reading Groups, and I use them during Writer’s Workshops. It’s no surprise that I’ve found ways to incorporate them at home when working with Kai and Kei. I use them so much that I keep a stash…

Guiding your child to write authentically (3-5 years old)

A while ago, I posted something on Instagram regarding purposeful and meaningful writing that I thought I should elaborate on in a blogpost. I wrote: From Age 3 until now, Kai did many kinds of writing that reflected his interests and need. After all, writing is not only the act of making marks on the…

Ways to encourage your toddler to write stories at home

Many parents have come and talked to me about their chid’s writing,  “How can they be a better writer?”  Apart from lessons at school, I think the other 50% of the “how” can be and SHOULD be done at home. Just like reading which can be encouraged, writing can be too.  Children can only be better…

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Using 5-senses to encourage your child to write descriptively

Many parents ask, “Ms. Claudia, I want my son to write about his birthday party but he has nothing to write about!” Some other issues among parents who are trying to encourage their child to write descriptively at home include: If your child simply doesn’t want to write, you can refer to my other post…

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Mommy’s Game Plan for Spring: 5-senses Goldfish Journal (Part 3)

Lahlahbanana recently introduced me to this amazing Chinese-learning platform Lingobuddies (here). After browsing the website as a premium member, the first thing I downloaded was a Goldfish Journal Template and a 5-Senses dice. As some of you may recall, I have posted about using sensory details to help a child write descriptively (See post here…

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Mommy’s game plan for Spring: literacy-centered activities (Part 1)

1. Origami Spring wreath + Butterfly Lifecycle We have 3 weeks of Spring holiday, and as our first activity, I wanted to introduce life-cycles to Kai. We began by reading life-cycle related books that we already have in English, Chinese and Japanese. Spring books: “In the Small Small Pond” by Denise Fleming (here) “Dandelions: Stars…

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Ages 8 and up

Using Popplet in Reading and Writing

  Students often struggle with writing because instructional time devoted to teaching the process of writing is limited.  What I mean by the process of writing, or the ‘writing process’,  is steps generally defined as brainstorming, planning, drafting, and revising.…

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