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small moments writing- teaching your students how to focus small for powerful narratives

Small Moments for BIG Impact in Writing


In writing this past week, I wanted to focus on “small moments” for our writing. What better way to inspire our writers than to teach about small moments writing? Although, I thought my kids were heading in the right direction with their pieces, I just felt like their stories were missing something… They were missing depth, heart, and voice. Most of my kiddos were still in the “here’s my writing about a dog” stage and it was time to grow us up!
small moments writing- teaching your students how to focus small for powerful narratives
Now, if  Lucy Calkins has told us ANYTHING about writing, it’s that ideas are what spark us as authors. So, I did what any good teacher would do, I searched for a book that demonstrated how authors can write about one “small moment” and make a HUGE impact with their writing.
small moment writing writing ideas- the best way I've found to inspire my kids with their narrative writing!



I found some great exemplar books for small moments writing
Small moments mentor text suggestions

check out more suggestions here. But, I finally settled on “Roller Coaster” By Marla Frazee

 Click the pic or here to check this out on Amazon.
Now, of course, I couldn’t find the book for our actual lesson (I KNOW I HAD it… somewhere…) so, a quick search yielded this video reading of the story.
After reading, I mean watching, the book, we discussed what the author was writing about and how it wasn’t some big and elaborate story, but something small and special to the author. We also discussed how the author made us feel as we were waiting to board that roller coaster right along with them. Good conversation to have people! Boom and the understanding of small moments writing was starting to form.
So, then we explored what we thought were small moments in our own personal lives that had special meaning to us. We used this list sheet to help us stay organized.
Small moments writing: generating ideas list printable
Then, we choose our favorite “small moment” for our writing. The rest of the list we stowed away in our writing folders for safe keeping. We used a bubble map to help spark some more details about our special moment.
small moments writing bubble map for writing
Here’s a peek at one of my kiddo’s bubble map.
small moments writing bubble map for writing
Then it was time to write! I like to use a formula when I teach writing (which you can read more about here) So, I had the kiddos organize their writings (just on a plain sheet of paper) using the sections of the formula.
small moments writing student rough draft
Here’s a better look at how the organization pieces could have looked if I had remembered to print out our sheets #teachermommybrain
small moments writing graphic organizer


small moments writing graphic organizer

Finally, we were ready to edit and give a final copy of our writings. Folks, can I just say… these were some of MY BEST writings I’ve had in my room. The details, voice, word choice. You could just tell they really cared about what they were writing about. They were telling a “small moments” special story and wanted them to be PURRFECT!I had writings on playing a video game for the first time, to the birth of a baby brother. They were AMAZING! (and if I can find the photos I took of them… I will add them to this post! HMMMP!)

So the next time you need a lesson idea for improving your student’s writing, I HIGHLY suggest going small for a BIG impact!
 You can grab all my graphic organizers, papers, and rubrics I used here at my TpT store!
Small moments writing for big impacts unit on Tpt
Do you use small moments writing for your narratives? What are some ways you get your kids writing? Comment below!
Teaching your students how to use small moments in their lives to make powerful narrative writings

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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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