04 Spot writes.


Spot writes.

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Young children are eager to share their ideas and stories. It’s important that they find a receptive audience for their communicating—talking, drawing, and especially their earliest writing efforts. Because children come to the classroom with a diversity of experience and skills, it’s helpful to introduce the learning process with a likable, neutral character they can all identify with—Spot. Children may memorize and sing this rhyme. It reinforces the steps in the process—not just the process of learning to write, but that of learning to do most anything.

About the Picture Spot demonstrates the fun of having a special place to gather writing supplies. He also has a great command post for looking around and thinking as he writes.

Major Concepts

  • Writers need to think about what they want to share.
  • Writers need to talk and listen as they prepare to share.
  • Writers need tools to communicate.
  • Early writers communicate with pictures and words.
  • The heart of the writing process is a meaningful message.
  • All writing needs an audience.

Daily Lesson Planning

Day 1

  1. Present the "Spot writes" image. Talk about Spot’s writing spot. Ask children where they like to draw and write—at school, at home, other places.
  2. Read the rhyme to the children. Then, in subsequent readings, invite them to join in with the rhyming words or other key words.
  3. Discuss the steps Spot goes through as he gets his message ready to share. He looks, thinks, talks, listens to others, reads, and then writes words and makes drawings. Finally, he’s ready to share his special message.
  4. Implement "Spot writes" (BB 2).

Days 2-6

Choose from the following activities:

  • Talk about steps in a familiar process. For example, if you want a snack, first you look around and think about what you would like. Then you may talk about what you can have and get the things you need (food and plate or bowl). Finally, you eat your snack and maybe share it. When people do things again and again, they follow steps. Talk about other things children have learned to do. Implement “Writers follow steps when they write” (BB 3).
  • Discuss writing spots children have seen—Mom writing a grocery list on the kitchen counter or people writing at desks in offices. Invite children to watch for writers and their writing spots at home, on TV, in magazines, in public places. Start a class list and add new “writing spots” during the year.
  • Implement "My Writing Spot."
  • Have children list or draw favorite drawing and writing materials—crayons, pencils, markers, paints, computers, and so on.
  • Set up a writing center, or “Writing Spot.” Keep writing supplies on hand.

Concluding Days

  • Have children say the “Spot writes” rhyme with you and point out favorite sounds or words. Implement "Spot Writes Rhyme" for them to take home.
  • Invite children to share a story about a picture or note they made for someone. If individuals don’t have a story, assure them that they will have many opportunities to write and share notes and pictures throughout the year.
LAFS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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English Language Arts:

Background Information
on the Writing Process

Tools of Writing

Keep an abundant supply of writing materials on hand. Encourage children to write words and draw pictures as they put up signs in the play area, write notes, make books, create banners, and so on. Praise them for using written communication and applying it in their own innovative ways.


Children respond to modeling. When they see teachers or parents writing, they realize this is an important form of communication. Encourage parents to engage their children in simple list-making activities, writing notes on appointment calendars, writing thank-you notes, jotting notes in a phone, and other writing common in the child’s home. As the teacher, point out how you write lists for the class, use a daily schedule, list job assignments, write down special times or events. Mention how writing helps you capture special memories and class events in shared writings.


Children are aware of many times that adults write. They see them signing permission slips, recording mini-golf tallies, signing for debit transactions, texting friends. They may have seen doctors writing prescriptions and waitstaff taking orders. Encourage writing in play areas by supplying sheets of paper or old business forms for creative play.

The Writing Process

Early writers often do not wish to go back and change their writing, and that is fine. You can focus on important prewriting activities—the looking, thinking, reading, talking, and listening that precede writing. For now, listening to stories and talking about ideas may be the heart of prewriting. Discussing interesting topics can help children find ideas to write about. Inviting children’s thoughtful observations about life and literature gives young writers something to share.

Establish an Audience

Look, Mom, no hands! Children love an audience. Help them not only to share their ideas and writing, but also to be a good audience for their classmates’ efforts. Model how to find something good to comment on about someone’s work. Seek out audiences for your children’s writing—besides sending it home, you could feature it on a school Web site, put it in an all-school display case, create class books and newsletters, and tape videos that showcase student writing and drawing.

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NE ELA Standard:

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English Language Arts:

Prewriting Ideas


Paying attention to visual details helps children look thoughtfully at people, objects, and situations. Whether children are looking at a picture book, drawing a picture, or noticing objects in the classroom, ask questions that push children to notice details. Ask how many, what color, what kind, and so on. Not all details are significant. Encourage children to say why certain details are important. This yearlong strategy of honing observation skills will carry over into children’s writing.


“Ah-ha”—the sound of discovery, sudden insight, the birth of an idea—is the launching pad for great writing. Celebrate good ideas, insights, observations, and creative ideas that children share in any context! Whenever appropriate, apply the think-tank brain power of the entire class to situations that need solutions. Point out examples of careful thinking throughout the day and throughout the year.


Stress the importance of sharing ideas out loud and of being polite listeners whenever someone else is speaking. Question a speaker to draw out the complete thought and amplify a quiet voice by repeating what was said. Encourage group discussion in which not all remarks are directed to you as the teacher. Strive to have children respond directly to one another. This helps them to expand their concept of audience, to prepare for group work, and to be sensitive to others.


Establish a system of quieting the class, a hand signal or other cue that indicates it is time to listen. Try whispering to demonstrate that when it is very quiet, it is not necessary to raise one’s voice. Consider a whispering day to reinforce the power of quiet. Children may enjoy the extra-quiet atmosphere as an oasis in an otherwise active, noisy day. Use quiet time to listen for sounds that normally are ignored. Talk about important sounds—alarms, horns, and so on. Talk about how sounds affect feelings—soothing music, annoying noises, and so on.


Have a structure for sharing that always honors the speaker. Encourage show-and-tell. Speakers may be more comfortable interacting with a prop. Talk about how sharing often leads people to write down their best ideas, experiences, and stories. Set up times for sharing various types of things: objects, places, travels, meals, holidays, other special days, artwork, stories, unusual experiences, funny stories, jokes, and so on.


Acting things out empowers children. They can act out words, feelings, stories, and so on. Encourage hands-on experiences and drama to reinforce all learning. Early writers may need to act out (pantomime) what they are trying to express if they don’t yet have the vocabulary they need.

LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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English Language Arts: