Writing Assignments

Facebook Character Profiles

You might have seen that cute Pinterest image of the Facebook page that students can fill out for a person or character. I love this idea! Students can fill it out about a character, a famous or historical person they are studying, or about themselves as a beginning of the school year activity.

I decided to make a primary and intermediate version along with teacher samples. There are many currently on Teachers Pay Teachers, but it’s looking like anything with another company’s logo is no longer allowed on TPT so I made my own. It’s simple but I think the kids would love it!  I had a lot of fun making the sample pages. Not only is it fun, but it would really help the kids to think about the person or character they are writing about.

Here’s a screenshot of the intermediate sample:


Here’s a screenshot of the primary sample:

Here are the downloads:



Have a great day!

Categories: Beginning Year Stuff, Reading, Writing Assignments | 3 Comments

Apples Apples Apples!

I’ve been having a bit of anxiety attack because I don’t have a writing project for September. I’ve been worrying about this months. It has literally been keeping me awake at night. Everything I’ve seen online is some version of “Tell about your summer vacation.” Today it came to me: let’s study apples!

I think one of my most important jobs as a 4th grade teacher is to help kids LOVE to learn. I want kids to be excited to come to school every day. This is especially true with writing. So many kids hate to write, and it’s really sad. I like to make writing projects fun, interactive, and non-boring.  I love the moment in the year when kids start to get excited about writing!

I think this writing assignment is fun, interactive, and is great for fall. While it isn’t life-changing in terms of 21st century learning skills, it is certainly possible to broaden this project. Students could research the drought and its effect on growing fruit, such as apples. Students could research the Honeycrisp apple, which was created at the University of Minnesota and is a cross between Macoun and Honeygold apples. You could have students use their research to propose which apple varieties could be crossed together to make apples with specific characteristics, or to make apples that are more drought-tolerant. You could include a field trip to a local apple farm.

There are three parts of this assignments:

1. Students interact with many different varieties of apples. Students write observations as to how the apple looks, feels, and tastes.

2. Students choose two varieties to compare and contrast, and learn two different ways to write a compare/contrast paragraph. They can then choose which method to use to write their paragraph.

3. Students create a guided art project. They’ll draw the outline in Sharpie and color it in with watercolors.

Here are some images of the assignment:

Parent form:

Planning a compare/contrast paragraph:

Small group observation form:


Art project (picture from Pinterest):


The download is FREE and includes:

Compare/Contrast Paragraph: Method 1

Compare/Contrast Paragraph: Method 2

Final Draft Paper

Apple Day Parent Note

Apple Observations Form
While the download is free, I’m going to make you jump through a hoop to get it. You’ll have to sign up for a free account to Teachers Pay Teachers. I highly recommend doing this anyway because there are so many great resources on TPT, many of which are free!  Here’s the link:

Categories: Beginning Year Stuff, Writing Assignments | Leave a comment

Time Capsules

Today I’m updating my time capsule assignment for the first week of school.

It’s a quick project that students can complete on their own and in small groups. When they finish, I put all the pieces in a ziploc bag and save it until the end of the year.  Here are the pieces and what I do with them at the beginning and end of the year:

Self Portrait

Beginning of year: Have students create a self portrait of their face, then mount them on construction paper and display them in the classroom. I cover up the name with a tag that says, “Guess who?” and students guess who each picture is. We then reveal the names.

I also draw a self portrait and…. (Shh, this is a secret!)…  I purposefully make it bad while acting like I’m trying really, really hard to show that it’s ok if you aren’t a good artist! I want students to feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. They look so cute displayed in the classroom. Here’s a bad picture (I forgot to save the full res version):

End of year: Compare their artwork at the beginning of the year with the end. It’s amazing how much better they get!

Hand Print and Foot Print

Beginning of year: Have students work with a partner to trace each others hand and foot.

End of year: Trace them again on top of the first picture with a different color to see how much your hands and feet grew.

Yarn to Show Height:

Beginning of year: In groups of 3-4, have students help each other cut a piece of yarn that is their height.

End of year: Do this again, then compare it to the height at the beginning of the year. Then students write how many centimeters they grew or shrunk on the board. The best part of this is that they do such a bad job of measuring at the beginning of the year that the end of year measurements are hilarious. Some will see that they “shrunk” 30 centimeters because their measuring skills were so off!

Goal Sheet:

Beginning of year: Have students fill these out individually. Conference with students during your first week of guided reading to discuss their goals.

End of year: If you have time, discuss the goals again with each student. You could also have them write a paragraph about how well their met their goals.

Acrostic Poem:

Beginning of year: Have student write an acrostic poem with their name that describes them.

End of year: Read poems. I didn’t do anything else with them.

Favorite Things:

Beginning of year: Have students fill this out individually.

End of year: Have students fill out another copy individually and don’t show them what they wrote at the beginning of the year. During the last week of school, spend 10 minutes at the end of each day going around in a circle having kids share what their favorite things were at the beginning of the year and what they are now. Sometimes they stay the same and sometimes they change.

Here’s the download:

Time Capsules

Categories: Beginning Year Stuff, Summer Work, Writing Assignments | 2 Comments

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