How To Writing | tips. tricks. ideas. (and freebies)

Hello there!  We are dropping in to share a little bit about how we teach How To writing.  It's one of our favorites and we find that students share the same feelings!

Find ideas and resources for teaching How-To writing in the classroom!

Here are a few of our favorite How To "topics:"

How To Make a Friendship Bracelet: 
Students think about the steps needed to make a bracelet for a friend.  This time of year, we have the students make a bracelet for their Secret Winter Pal.   All you need is pipe cleaner and beads!

How to Wrap a Present:
Students think about the steps to wrap a present.  This is something that is usually pretty new to the kiddos and they love becoming experts.  This time of year, the kiddos wrap the bracelet that they made for their Secret Winter Pal!  All you need is wrapping paper, a box, tape, scissors, and a bow!

How To Make Hot Chocolate: 
Students think about the steps needed to make their own cup of hot chocolate!  This is always a big hit!  This would be great for a Fun Friday activity, for a holiday party, or just during your regular writing time.  All you need is warm water (I heat mine in a crock pot on a very low setting so it's not too hot), cups, hot chocolate (I get the individual packets), stirring sticks or spoons, and marshmallows (I use mini cupcake liners to hold the marshmallows).  

A few tips we've learned over the years of doing a How To writing unit:

We found that students get excited and jump ahead when they plan / write their How To - they skip steps and leave out important parts. One thing that has helped with this is using this "How To Path" on the floor.  When students "plan" their How To, they walk along the path and say the parts out loud to a partner or a teacher.  This way they can catch any parts they might be leaving out.  The path goes in this order:
How To _____  //  Things You Need //  First //  Next //  Then //  Last
(you can take out one of the middle parts if the How To only has 3 steps)
This visual and kinesthetic process has proven helpful for so many learners! 

Another problem we have encountered is students tell what items are needed versus what to do with the items in the How To.  For example, kiddos may write, "First get peanut butter.  Then get jelly.  Last make the sandwich."  We ask that students tell what items / materials are needed BEFORE  writing out the steps.  On our How To Path and on our How To writing templates, there is a place for the materials needed.  

Here we have put the "Things You Need" materials on the How To path.  In this example, students were telling How To Wrap a Present.

Here a student has drawn the things needed prior to writing the steps.  In this example, students were telling How To Bundle Up for Winter.

We have found that using How To puzzles, such as the one pictured below, are a great way to start the unit, but also provide a great remediation activity for students that are struggling with coming up with topics to write about.  

As with everything -- a good book is always a good way to model and show examples of How To writing!  Here are some of our favorites:

If you'd like a FREE copy of our How To Path and How To Writing Templates CLICK HERE!

Have a great weekend!