Traits of Writing

Traits of Writing

As a teacher, I believe one of my responsibilities is to instil a love of writing in my students. Playing with words, creating imaginary worlds (and characters to live in them), exploring who will tell the story and from what perspective are all part of the process (and the fun). Even though the “traits of writing” are built naturally (or with a lot of hard work) into each piece of writing, I like to take them apart and examine each one individually so that students have a better understanding of ideas, word choice, voice, conventions, organization and sentence fluency. One of the ways I do this is through mentor texts. These are often picture books that will allow students to understand what we mean when we talk about a certain trait.

One of my favorite books when talking about “voice” is Dear Mrs. LaRue. Ike, Mrs. LaRue’s mischievous dog, is sent off to obedience school. Through his letters we are able to hear his “voice” very clearly. This is one you really should read to your class (or your own children).

Dear Mrs LaRue

I would love to hear your thoughts on the book and whether or not Ike’s voice is coming through loud and clear.

Books to be shared

Perfect Snow by Barbara Reid

Barbara Reid’s Perfect Snow is a wonderful book to read, especially now, during our Canadian winter. Children and adults can relate to the excitement felt after the first snow fall. As a teacher I can hear the stampede of children as they head outside to make snow angels, forts, snowmen and catch snow falling with their out stretched tongues. And… Barbara Reid is able to capture it all, in great detail, using plasticine, ink and water color as her medium.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 2.17.04 PM

Scott wants to create the largest snowman while Jim wants to create the “indestructible Snow Fortress of Doom”. When they team up and enlist the help of all of the school yard children they’re able to create something everyone is excited about.

As a parent or teacher, what can you do with this book? First, ask if anyone can make connections to the cover and have them predict what the story will be about. You can listen to Barbara Reid reading Perfect Snow here.

I love to use plasticine/ clay with my students and Barbara Reid is a master when it comes to plasticine. She has several videos that you can watch before making your own clay scenes.

Making Plasticine Pictures Part 1

Making Plasticine Pictures Part 2

Making Plasticine Pictures Part 3

Creating Perfect Snow 

So… have some fun with clay and be sure to head outside and play in the snow!


Active For Life Reviews Messy Jessy Gets Active

I was very pleased when the website Active for Life agreed to review my latest book Messy Jessy Gets Active. They are a website filled with great information on how to raise physically literate children. There are an abundance of resources for parents and teachers (and anyone else who is around children). If physical literacy is a new term for you, you need to check them out. If not, you should check them out anyway!

The review can be found here.

Messy Jessy cover FINAL