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Looking at Writing

Second Grade: Writing Sample 5

Second graders are polishing a wide range of basic writing skills, including writing legibly, using capitalization and punctuation correctly (most of the time!), and moving from invented spelling to more accurate spelling. For most, handwriting becomes automatic, so they can concentrate more on the content of their writing rather than on the mechanics. Second graders can organize their writing to include a beginning, middle, and end. They can write a simple essay with a title and introductory sentence, provide examples and details that support their main concept, and write a concluding sentence.

"Ideas are the cheapest part of the writing. They are free! The hard part is what you do with the ideas you have gathered. " — Jane Yolen

Context of writing

A second grade boy wrote this piece in response to a prompt to write about something fun he did over the weekend.

What is this child able to do as a writer?

  • He generates an idea and sticks to his topic.
  • He narrows his topic to one specific part of his weekend, the baseball game, rather than trying to write about the entire weekend.
  • He groups sentences into a paragraph.
  • He starts with two sentences that tell what the paragraph is going to be about ('This weekend was awesome! I went to the ring ceremony at the baseball field').
  • He ends the paragraph with a final sentence that wraps up the paragraph and tells how he felt about the experience ('I had a lot of fun').

Move your cursor over each red bubble image marker for observations about this child’s writing.

[Click the sample to view the full size image. See transcript]

Transcript: 

Title: My Weekend

This weekend was awesome! I went to the ring ceremony at the baseball field. They played the blue and orange World Series. And I won a raffle to throw out the first pitch. I wore my baseball uniform because we played catch with the players. I got to keep the ball that I threw at the mound. My brother won too. He got to announce the players for the first half inning. I used the ball to get Brian O'Connor's signature. He is the head coach of Virginia. We got free soda and a hot dog. I had a lot of fun.

What does this child need to learn next?

This writer narrowed his piece about his weekend to one baseball game and sticks to the topic of the baseball game, but jumps around a bit when telling about the game. He tells about winning a raffle to throw out the first pitch and then later about keeping the ball and then finally about using the ball to get the coach's signature. The writer could improve this paragraph by narrowing his topic even more and adding more descriptive language. The teacher could teach a mini-lesson to the class about choosing one small, exciting moment in an experience and adding sensory language to describe that experience. The writer could look for places to add what he felt at the game, perhaps when he was throwing the ball with players, or what he saw, smelled and heard as he walked up to the baseball field.

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass