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We celebrate teachers who have created their own websites about teaching writing:

Always Write
(Grades K-12)

Start to Learn

(Primary Grades)

Making Mathematicians

(Grades K-12)

Learning is Messy

(Grades 4-6)

Write in the Middle

(Grades 6-8)

Writing Traits: Traits for Primary Writers... Our Nevada Print Guide and Teacher Workshops
sharing materials from Northern Nevada's teacher inservices and print guides

Are you considering purchasing the NNWP's 6 x 6 Guide, but need more information? On this page, you can find six complimentary lessons from the guide (30 more lessons are in the purchase-able version).

You can also see which picture books are cited in the 6 x 6 Guide by clicking here.

Hello, my name is Jodie Black, and I served as Co-Director of the Northern Nevada Writing Project between 2003-2007. Our Northern Nevada Writing Project is a healthy organization flourishing around the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area.

You are looking at our webpage devoted to our 2008 publication: Six by Six: Traits Writing for Little Writers. Classroom teachers, currently teaching the primary grades, who have explored how to teach the traits to five and six year olds, created this guide of thirty six lessons. This group of eager and excited professionals took the time to teach each of these lessons in their classrooms to their students. We know these lessons work. We have tested them. We know these lessons produce good work. We have included student samples. We know you’re going to enjoy teaching these lessons. When the group came together to share our work, we couldn’t wait to go back to class and try each other’s lessons.

In order to create a viable focus for traits lessons in the primary grades, kindergarten and first grade exclusively, our group borrowed a key idea from Vicki Spandel. In her book Creating Young Writers: Using the Six Traits to Enrich Writing Process in Primary Classrooms, (now in its 3rd Edition, an excellent companion volume to this guide), Vicki Spandel explains the idea of “conceptualizing” the traits. Spandel emphasizes that it may be difficult for young writers, or pre-writers to grasp the notion of the traits. So she asks teachers to think, “What is it, really?…[what] is the concept underlying each trait.” And how can we, through conceptualization, make the “definition[s] clearer to young minds?” (p.86)

In the way she outlines her ideas of traits as concepts, Spandel opens the door wide for teachers who wish to think in this way as an avenue to bring the trait language in reach for students who are generating little, or maybe no, text. For example, she explains that Ideas can be thought of as “something to write about.” Using the concept of Ideas, Spandel suggests that students use lists as a way to capture ideas and hold them for future reference (p.90). In Creating Young Writers, Spandel gives advice on how to conceptualize each of the six traits. Later in her volume, she briefly outlines teaching ideas using the traits as concepts. Spandel shares some awesome lesson ideas and our group realized right away that conceptualizing the traits leads to a plethora of primary writing lessons.

Once our teaching group started thinking of the traits as concepts, we couldn’t stop. Lessons we had previously taught, we rethought in light of conceptualization. New lessons popped into our heads. The students’ work and creativity led us further still into the traits as concepts. What a perfect way to bring the language of the traits, the concepts of the traits, the “what are they?” of the traits, to the littlest writers.

On this page, we feature lessons from the print guide we created, and we also feature resources that the Six by Six Guide has inspired since its publication. Please feel free to borrow ideas featured on this page, and please consider supporting this website by purchasing the complete guide created through this project by clicking here.

If you like this page...

...be sure to check out Jodie's Start to Learn Website for even more primary resources.
Want an e-mail alert when a new lesson or resource is added to this page?

Join our Primary Writing Interest Group at the Writing Lesson of the Month Ning.

Here's the book that helped shape our 6 x 6 print guide:

Creating Young Writers
by Vicki Spandel

Twelve Nevada Teachers Who Helped Build our 6 x 6 Guide
Six Complimentary Lessons from the 6 x 6 Guide

Shannon Allan
lesson contributor

Dee Lynn Armstrong
lesson contributor

Lisa Daines
lesson contributor

The NNWP's 6 x 6 Guide: Traits Writing with Little Writers Guide contains thirty-six lessons, six for each trait. Teachers in Northern Nevada have been thrilled with the variety of lessons featured in the guide:

"Thanks so much for the Six by Six: Traits Writing for Little Writers book.  I am so excited!  I have struggled with how to make those traits make sense to little writers for five years now. Thanks for this help!" (Gretchen S., Nevada teacher)

Below, find six of the thirty-six lessons from the guide. If you decide to purchase the complete 6 x 6 Guide from the NNWP, you will help WritingFix continue to grow.

Jody Dallas
lesson contributor

Brenda Freund
lesson contributor

Launie Gardner
guide editor
An Idea Development Lesson:

from Shannon Allan, a first grade teacher.
An Organization Lesson:

"Environmental Alphabet"
from Jodie Black, a kindergarten teacher.

Kristy Grow
lesson contributor

Corbett Harrison
webpage designer

Karen McGee
lesson contributor
A Voice Lesson:

"Bear, Bear, Bear"
from Karen McGee, a retired kindergarten teacher.
A Word Choice Lesson:

"What I Wanna?"
from Jody Dallas, a first grade teacher.

Traci Mendoza
lesson contributor

Anne Newlin
lesson contributor

Leta Rabenstine
lesson contributor

A Sentence Fluency Lesson:

"I Caught It!"
from Brenda Freund, a kindergarten teacher.
A Conventions Lesson:

"Writing Rainbows"
from Kristy Grow, a kindergarten teacher.
Twelve Primary Classroom Lessons Inspired after the Publication of our 2008 6 x 6 Guide

The 6 X 6 Guide was distributed in December of 2008. Since then, teachers who have used it have created their own lessons, using the lesson template we provide them. Below, find twelve additional lessons written by both teachers who contributed to the original guide and teachers who enroll in our workshops and inservices for K-2 teachers.

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

A Voice Lesson:

"Terrible, Horrible Days"
by Dena DeGolyer, a first grade teacher.

A Word Choice Lesson:

"Antonyms and Onomatopoeia"
by Summer Kaufman, a first grade teacher.
An Organization Lesson:

"About Frogs"
by Dee Lynn Armstrong, a kindergarten teacher.
A Word Choice Lesson:

"Onomatopoeia Adventures"
by Polly Schebetta, a first grade teacher.
A Sentence Fluency Lesson:

"Oh, Messy Cheetos"
by Anne Newlin, a kindergarten teacher.
A Word Choice Lesson:

"Rain Drop Shape Poem"
by Shannon Allan, a first grade teacher.
A Sentence Fluency Lesson:

"We Saw Him at the Zoo"
by Jodie Black, a kindergarten teacher.
An Idea Development Lesson:

"Some Animals Don't Do That!"
by Summer Bean, a first grade teacher.
An Organization Lesson:

"Writing a Roundabout Story"
by Ann Urie, a first grade teacher.
A Word Choice Lesson:

"Alliteration Potluck"
by Jodie Black, a kindergarten teacher.
A Sentence Fluency Lesson:

"The Colorful Desert"
by Anne Newlin, a kindergarten teacher.
A Word Choice Lesson:

"If You Give a Student an Animal"
by Danielle McIntosh, a second grade teacher.
More Primary Lessons Featured at our Other Projects:
Our Trait Resources for Older Student Writers:
Below are two lessons created during our iPods Across the Curriculum Workshop and inservice course:
Our 2008 6 x 6 Guide is a collection off lessons specifically designed for kindergarten and first-grade teachers. Our second- and third-grade teachers, especially those at schools with high populations of language-learning students, have also found appropriate inspiration within its pages.

If you're asking, "What about older student writers?" then you haven't thoroughly explored WritingFix yet!

First of all, our 2006 resource--the Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide--contains trait-inspired resources from 3rd-12th grade students.

In addition, the two lesson collections listed below were all designed by Nevada 3rd - 12th grade teachers. Enjoy exploring these two collections, if working with older students:

Lesson's Mentor Texts: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," sung by Jack Johnson and Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr.

Lesson Objective: Students create original pieces of writing about saving the environment.

Lesson's Mentor Texts: "I Love," sung by Tom T. Hall and the picture book, I Love, by Brigitte Minne

Lesson Objective: Inspired by both mentor texts' ideas, students create an original poem about things they love.

Below are two lessons featured at our Writing Across the Curriculum Workshops:
WritingFix's Picture Book Lesson Collection

Dozens and dozens of lessons inspired by favorite picture books. Although these lessons were written by 3rd-12th grade teachers, most could be adapted for K-2nd grade.

WritingFix's Chapter Book Lesson Collection

Dozens and dozens of lessons inspired by favorite chapter books. Although these lessons were written by 3rd-12th grade teachers, most could be adapted for K-2nd grade.

A Comparison/Contrast Lesson:
Can We Help Save the Earth?

Lesson's Mentor Texts: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton and Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet

Lesson Objective: Students write a perspective journal entry from the point of view of a character inspired by the two mentor texts.

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson:
UseFul Shapes

Lesson's Mentor Texts: The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns

Lesson Objective: Students listen to The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns and determine how triangles and quadrilaterals are useful. Students make books that show where the shapes occur in the world.

Looking for Interactive Writing Prompts to Quickly Inspire Young Writers?
WritingFix's Word-Game Writing Prompts for Kids

Help Keep WritingFix online! Click here to keep us free-to-use and advertisement-free!

Way back in 2002, we sat down with a large group of energetic elementary teachers, and we showed them the interactive writing games that can still be found on our Right-Brained Writing Prompts homepage and our Left-Brained Writing Prompts homepage. We asked, "What would similar writing prompts--designed to inspire the very youngest of writers--look like?"

The result of those conversations led to the creation of the fourteen interactive word games you find below. We hope you enjoy inspiring your students to write original stories using them.

Fourteen Interactive Word Games for K-6 Writers
prompts designed to inspire young writers to launch original story ideas

Come and choose the name today
Of a game we've made to play.
If you have some paper near,
We think you'll write while you are here.

The Noun Game

The Verb Game

The Adjective Game

The Crazy Animal Game

The Colored Wheels Game

The Colored Animal Game

The Feeling Game

The Memory Game

The Top Three Game

The Setting Game

The Wacky Word Game

The Opposite Game

The Color Game

Do you like these fourteen interactive writing games, all designed by teachers?

Do you think you have what it takes to design our fifteenth interactive prompt, to be featured in this spot?

Do you want to earn ten copies of the Six by Six Guide to share with your own staff?

Contact us at webmaster@writingfix.com, if you're interested in submitting a proposal for an interactive prompt that we can feature here.

The Idea Game

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© Copyright 2015 - WritingFix- All Rights Reserved.
Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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