Christmas in July - Back to School writing

Merry Christmas, teacher friends - Christmas in JULY that is! I'm teaming up with my friends over at I Teach K-2 for a summer celebration.  Get ready for some fantastic freebies, sales and a great giveaway - so stick with me to the end!

How do you like to get to know your kiddos at the beginning of the year? We all have favorite activities we do to find out about our bunch of students. Once we've been settled in for a few days, I like to start some quick writing activities to see what my new friends can do.

These two books are my go-to choices for any "getting to know you" activity. They are easy to read, bright and colorful and filled with so many ways each person is special. After reading, we make a chart of some of the ideas the characters had, and use them to come up with a list of "all about me" categories - appearance, likes, dislikes, family, pets, hobbies, talents, etc. This gives everyone LOTS of ideas of what to write about themselves.

Next it's time for brainstorming. I like to do a little oral partner sharing first, just to get the ideas flowing. Everyone partners up and rolls a die (I have big foam dice that are perfect for this.) We make a chart with each number 1-6 representing a category (appearance, etc.) The number you roll tells the topic of your "all about me" fact. Then your partner rolls - same thing. We switch partners a few times, and then we're ready to write! This brainstorming sheet is open-ended enough to allow students to choose ideas that are important to them.

Now comes the organizing part! We work out a topic sentence together (although some kiddos will go with their own ideas), choose our three most important facts, add details and a closing sentence. We don't write full sentences here - just ideas.

The final writing brings together everything we have done. It's not only a good way for me to learn about my kiddos, but I can also see who can write a detailed sentence, who remembers punctuation and capitalization, etc.  Win-win!

Thinking that this will work with your students? You're in luck! These sheets are part of my August and September Writing Workout resource and I'm featuring them as a Christmas in July freebie! You can download them by clicking on the image below.
The full resource includes graphic organizers and ideas for writing in all three genres - narrative, expository and opinion - all with a back to school theme. They are perfect for whole class writing projects, small group centers, or independent work. Annnnnnd, as part of our Christmas in July celebration, they're all on sale July 6-9!
Each unit is on sale and the bundle of 5 (the spring one will be added after January!) is also on sale!
You can click the links below to see more about each unit.

Still with me? It was definitely worth it because here's a chance to enter to win one of four fantastic prizes!

Did you see that? THREE TpT gift cards? a Target card? Both of those places do major damage to my bank account for back to school. And if that's not enough, Jen from over at Teaching in the Tongass has generously donated a gift certificate for $100 of clipart in her store!! Head over there right now and start planning your purchases!
Ready to enter? Use the Rafflecopter below and good luck! Be sure to visit my other friends who are taking part in our I Teach K-2 Christmas in July party, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. WONDERFUL resource! Thanks! Happy Christmas in JULY! Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  2. Thank you for the great writing activity!

  3. What a great resource! I love the steps you take - reading, brainstorming, partnering, organizing the writing, and putting it all together in the final writing. The kids will learn so much in this one activity! Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a great activity! Kids will love it!


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