I am so excited to link up again today with Ms. McClain for her monthly “You Oughta Know” blog hop! The blog hop is all about strategies, organizational tips, products, etc that you oughta know about as a teacher!
Last month I shared about Sparkle (a fun, easy, and FREE spelling game). You can check out how to play Sparkle in your own classroom [here].
This month, I think that you oughta know about a fantastic writing resource called DoodleLoops!
Before, I start… I want to say that I was not asked by the creator of DoodleLoops to write about them, but I feel so strongly about this writing resource that I felt you NEEDED to know about it!
So, what in the heck are DoodleLoops?
I’ll tell ya, but first let me give some background on why I feel they are so fantastic!
At my old school we adopted a curriculum called Writing Alive. Now, I’m not going to share much of my opinion (good or bad) on the program, but I’m starting here so that you can see some examples of writing that we did this year.
Basically, the curriculum starts the year heavy on learning the parts of a sentence. Great! My kiddos became so strong at identifying subjects, verbs, objects, and phrases. I honestly can’t remember learning those specifics in first grade!
Now this is no reflection on the curriculum as a whole, but in my eyes it was very teacher driven. I get the importance of modeling, but I wanted to see what my kiddos could write about without me giving them an example first. I mean, what would my first graders do if I just gave them a prompt or question to write about???
Coincidently I was struggling with finding activities for my kiddos to work on during reading centers (Daily 5), especially for work on writing. I had my curriculum for writing lessons, but no resources for work on writing.
So, I started digging through some of the “inheritance” that the teacher before me had left. That’s when I found a copy of DoodleLoops!
The idea behind DoodleLoops is that there are pictures (many times unfinished) with a simple question that gets kiddos started on writing. Here’s some examples of work with DoodleLoops during Daily 5. (It’s ok to laugh; I find the banana example to be quite humorous!)
To make things easy on myself, I started making packets of these for my students with anywhere from 5-10 in them and extra lined space on the back of each. This way my kiddos got the CHOICE of which they would do each day! I would collect them periodically to take a look at what my little ones were writing about during work on writing.
I love these because the writing prompts are SO simple and easy to read. I also love these because the prompts are so fun for the kids to write about. My kids would literally beg for more copies of DoodleLoops! I really feel like my students started to love writing more when I added these into our work on writing center.
Side note – I can’t stand the question “How much?” or “How long?” I didn’t want to turn my first graders into sentence counters! I would always answer back with “How long do you think it should be?” or “As long as it takes to tell your reader enough to understand…” Something along those lines. I was shocked that my first graders were already asking this question. I’m happy to say that I broke most of them of that habit pretty quickly!
Now, I’m not saying that you need to go buy DoodleLoops, but I highly recommend checking out some of the products. I will absolutely be using these in my classroom again in the coming year. You can download a free sample [here] or visit the DoodleLoops TPT store [here].
Hopefully this will be a resource you may enjoy in your class, or will at least give you some ideas for writing time in your class.
You can hop over to any of the other great blogs below to see some more resources, ideas, and tips that you oughta know about!