Thursday, December 27, 2012

6 Traits Writing and a Secret Code!

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a safe and Merry Christmas! We didn't get any snow in Georgia, but my family and I did drive up to the mountains earlier today to check out the snow on top. It was awesome. Now, little Brody is tuckered out and has been in bed since 5! WOW! That is unusual for Brody bear! Think 9 year old Autistic boy with TONS of energy. So I have some time to blog. :D

I thought I would blog a little about writing and how I integrate the 6 Traits of Writing into my daily writing. To me, 6 Traits Writing is simply a way of organizing mini lessons or key writing skills into groups. With that in mind, I have used a CAFE inspired 6 Traits Board for several years now. Here is a snapshot of it!

A little disclaimer: In the state where I teach (TN), the 5th graders are only assessed on Narrative Text for one more year! We have been sooo lucky in that regard. So the board and the code which will come later are biased towards writing narrative stories. However, the board can be used for all types of stories!
Here is how I use the board: After I teach a writing mini-lesson, I post a really simple, easy to read and understand phrase under the trait that the mini lesson matches. I also tried to include a graphic or example to help jog the students' memory about what that strategy is. I teach some very low writers so this is necessary and so helpful for them! As we are doing any kind of writing, I am constantly referring back to the board to remind the kids to include all of the traits into their writing. It works! They refer to it, they remind each other about it, and they refer to it during writing conferences! Nothing makes my teacher heart happier than to hear a kid say, I checked my verbs..see right here. LOVE!

Here are couple of close ups!

Now onto my favorite part of writing! The CODE! I made this fancy banner from Vista Print and the kids just eat it up! They use this code in their writing to make sure they have included everything they need to get a 5 or 6 on our state assessment. I introduce this code 2 months before the writing assessment. This way the students have learned all of the elements and are not overwhelmed. They write the code on their writing paper like this: 1 5 5 2 2 1 R but vertically. As they include the different elements, they check off the number of the code. I love seeing it on their paper and I love hearing them say, “You can’t be finished. Did you put the code in your paper?” J Can you tell I love to teach writing?

What are some of your tricks that you use to help your students in writing?

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  1. Do you sell these posters? This is my first year in 5th grade and I think these would be an awesome resource!

  2. Mrs. Flores, I got them for free on Here is the link:

    I just love them! They are so bright and colorful. Last year I color coded my sentence strips to match the poster!

    Have fun in 5th!

  3. Hey Jen! I love this :)

    I also saw a link on Pinterest to a 5th grade Common Core lapbook that you have. I couldn't find the blog post you did about it. Do you have a link? I would like to check it out. :)

    Teaching in Room 6

  4. I love this post! We use a lot of Step-Up to Writing at my district but you have inspired me to look more into the six traits model. Thanks:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. How do you explain to kids what $5 words are?

    1. We talk about the value of words, and how some words are "worth" more. We make a list of words that we think are only worth less than $1 (fun, said, mad, etc). Then we talk about how synonyms that are grade level appropriate are worth more, and will make your writing have more value. We keep a list of $5 words on the wall and continually add to it. I also typically tell them that if the word has more than two syllables, it is probably a $5 word. Hope this helps!


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