I'm Lovin' Homework: Writing

Check out all of the posts in this series here:

Post 1: TEAM Homework

Today I'm going to focus on writing homework.  Say what?  You give writing homework?  Who does that??  I love writing.  I love to teach writing.  I love to write (especially poetry).  I love to read writing....especially second grade writing.  PRECIOUS!  And, yes, I give writing homework.  Well, it's one of my "extra options" at all times.  So, my goal is to make 
I want to make writing just as much of a priority as reading and math!  I am a strong believer that students at this age need to WRITE!  It doesn't matter what they write, they just need practice recording their ideas!  If there is one subject that my students come to me dreading it is writing.  That makes me sad.

Nothing breaks my heart more than having student after student say "I don't know what to write" during writer's workshop.  You know why they say that?  It's because they don't have much experience writing.  Sure, they write answers to questions, but to actually come up with ideas of their own and record a story....it's not something they do as often as reading or math.  And, they are afraid that what they write is going to be "wrong" - after all, their answers in math and most other subjects are either right or wrong.  They need more experience with writing to understand that there is no wrong topic to write about.  They can write about absolutely ANYTHING!

Also, writing is the one thing that parents often don't get to "see" how their students are doing.  They see math papers come home, science tests, they read with them nightly, but they have no idea how their writing is progressing.  I think it's important for parents to see this and be just as involved in writing as they are reading.  In fact, I tell my parents that I would prefer they trade some of their reading time and WRITE instead!  By second grade, my students are on their way to becoming fluent readers already, but writing is often another story.  And do you know what?  Reading and writing go hand-in-hand.  If the students are writing, they're also using many of those reading skills!  But it doesn't work the other way around. :(

Traditionally, I don't really believe writing homework is given.  I know I never gave it my first few years of teaching.  I mean, sure, students may have reading responses or essay questions to respond to in other subjects, but writing homework?  Nope.
When I first started offering the option of writing homework, it was to respond to reading.  Whatever book the student read that night, he/she was to write about it - a response, a summary, their thoughts.  Now, don't get me wrong, all of those things are important for a student to be able to do.  But I believe that assignment is better suited for the classroom.  For one, I don't want the writing to take away from the enjoyment of reading at home.  Also, I want them to write more creatively in order to foster that love of writing.  Who wants to be TOLD what to write about?  That's no fun at all.
Several years ago I decided that I wanted my students to begin practicing the same types of writing that we were working on in class at home, too.  Not only would it give them more practice, but it would also let their parents see exactly what quality of writing their children were producing.

So, I created writing calendars.  I've always taught writing through genres in my classroom.  So, I created a calendar for each genre.  At the beginning of the year, we always start with sentences.  Yep, just sentences.  We work on expanding them into "fancy sentences" using lots of adjectives and adverbs - details!  Then we move on to writing a paragraph.  After those are mastered we dive into our genres - descriptive, persuasive, friendly letters, expository, how-to, poetry, dialogue, and comparing/contrasting.

After teaching each of these in class and giving students lots of exposure and practice with each genre, I place a writing calendar choice as an extra homework option.  The actual calendar is placed in students' daily take home folders (in a clear page protector) to stay for the month.  The calendar is FILLED with topics so students have lots of choices (or they can come up with their own ideas...these are just to help those who are "stuck"). 

{Writing Calendars from Teacher's Clubhouse}
I definitely don't want students to complete a writing task each night.  I don't want it to become a chore.  But, I encourage parents to have them choose this option once a week - especially if they could benefit from the practice.  The topics range from (persuasive) "Persuade your parents to let you get a new pet." or "Persuade someone else to do one of your chores." or "Persuade a monster to stop scaring people." or "Persuade an alien to take you back to his planet."   Lots of choices for lots of personalities!

With the change to common core and a strong focus on Narratives, Opinions, and Expository pieces, I am redesigning my calendars for this year.  Each calendar will surround four monthly themes and the topics will all be narrative, opinion, or expository pieces about these themes.

{Core Writing through the Year BUNDLE}

I also send out a Family Write Night idea each month to parents.  This is a FUN writing-themed night idea for the entire family to participate in!  It is so important for kids to see adults writing, too...and for it to be FUN!  You know I'm all about having families incorporate learning into QUALITY family time. :)  So, even if they just choose to do this one monthly writing piece, I know that they are building a LOVE for writing. <3

From having each member of the family write a persuasive piece about a movie for family movie night to writing spooky stories to read while roasting marshmallows, this resources gives a fun family "write night" idea for each month of the year!  It gives the task, ideas for creating a setting for the "mood" and also provides a skill to work on - an instant family hit that gets the entire family writing!

If you have our Summer Buckets Unit you already have this resource as a part of that pack!  If not, you can pick this resource up on its own at our website - look under the "Summer Buckets Unit" for the "Family Write Night Idea Packet" - it's a steal at $0.99!

If you aren't providing a writing homework option, I hope I've given you some ideas to think about.  Come back tomorrow to learn how I handle spelling homework!

And, CONGRATULATIONS to Krystyn from Ms. Richard's Musings for winning the Great Poetry Race Pack!  Look for an email from us soon. :)  If you didn't win, remember that is on sale for 30% off in our TpT shop through Friday!

Links to all posts in this series:

Post 1: TEAM Homework
Post 5:  That's a Wrap!


  1. I have been using the original version of your writing calendars for the past few years as an option on STAR homework. I really saw a huge growth in writing in those students who consistently chose to write for homework. I can't wait to try out this new version of the calendars.
    The Traveling Teacher

  2. I got the email! Thank you! I can't wait to use it next year.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. do you sell the new common core writing calandars separately in you tpt store? I just want to try out the calendars and not the entire writing unit. :) Great ideas.


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