Now that you’ve started the year teaching writing from the first day, and your students have the habit of writing every day, you may wonder what’s next. Writing every day takes time, and you still need to teach the basic grammar skills, right? My time-saving tip for this week is to begin teaching writing basic skills with a national day calendar.


Here’s how it works. You can teach a mini-lesson on a basic skill, and then have the students practice it in their daily writing for a week. You can spiral back and reteach it for another week later. This will save you time in teaching, assigning, and grading worksheets. You can even use self-checking task cards or Boom cards for even more practice, without adding a single minute to your grading time.

Use a Checklist to Save Time

I have a checklist that I use for my two-color writing system that takes you step-by-step through the basic skills student work on during the elementary grades. The checklist starts with super basic, “use proper capitalization” to more advanced topics such as “use similes” or “use metaphors.”

As you review the daily writing with each student, look specifically for evidence of the writing skill in which you are focusing for the week. As the academic year progresses, you’ll find that students in different groups may be working on different skills. The checklist will help you track what you’ve taught and expected of each student.

I made a separate copy of the checklist for each group. By teaching this way, you’re building on the previous skills and creating that strong writing foundation they need to advance to more extensive writing.

Daily Writing Prompts with a National Day Calendar



Don’t waste your time looking for new and engaging topics for the daily writing time in your class. I’ve done the hard work for you. You can simply focus on teaching the basic writing skills and then you can use the digital interactive writing journal for the daily writing.

I created this with images, links to videos, and links to sound files. In my class, we always would watch a short video together or some other form of media before they wrote. I guarantee that by providing some authentic media, the students produced better writing.

No More Wondering What to Write

This National Day writing journal also solves the problem of students wondering what to write. So often we give a topic that we think is engaging, but then the students waste ten or more minutes trying to figure out what they are going to write.

This part of the system takes all the guesswork out. The students interact with the media to begin writing. As they write, they know which skill they need to practice. Maybe the skill is to include a compound sentence. Using transition or sequence words could be the skill. Maybe the skill is just to have them include adjectives in their writing.

The skill focus of the week gives a definite purpose and learning goal for the students. The national day calendar gives them a topic with which to practice the skill. It’s a way of integrating the two together without requiring any extra class time.

You can download a free sample in PDF format of three days of writing prompts. Then, if you decide you enjoy teaching basic writing skills with a national day calendar you can purchase the full version in my TeacherspayTeachers store.

Boom Cards for Figurative Language

If you have a skill you have taught, and you have a student who finishes super quickly, (don’t we all have students like that?) you can use Boom Cards as an early finisher activity.

I started using Boom Cards with my students in March 2020 when our school started doing distance learning. They loved it. Students asked me for more Boom Cards. Whenever they finished their work they wanted to practice with Boom Cards.

If you haven’t yet used Boom Cards, they are similar to task cards or scoot cards, only they’re digital and self-checking. The students get instant feedback from them.

I created my first set of Boom Cards on simile and metaphor. This set has turned out to be one of my most popular. Just click on the Boom Card logo below to get a preview of the first four cards.

If the cards are at the right level for your class, you can download the entire deck by clicking on the image below. It’s in a PDF file that tells you how to access the deck.

Simile and metaphor task cards.


What Would You Like to See Next?

Please let me know what other topics you’d like to see in future Boom Card decks. I’m here for you, and I want to create the resources you want! Leave a message in the comments or contact me in the Q/A section of my TeacherspayTeachers store. Tell me your grade level and the topic you’re interested in.

Okay, friend, that’s it for today! Thanks for reading this far.

I’m so happy you’re here!

Finally, I’d like to leave you with this quote from Albert Camus.

Albert Camus quote

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

As you go through your days, I hope you’ll take a few moments to just breathe and feel the joy in the beauty of nature.

Happy Autumn!


I’d love to meet up with you on social media!

I’m on Instagram and @teacherwriterco on Pinterest.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!





P.S. If you know any teachers who would like to learn time-saving tips and strategies for teaching writing, please share this post with them!

Do you want to learn how to curriculum map your way to success and integrate writing across the curriculum? Then sign up for my free video series today!

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