What Should I Write About?

Teaching writing in first grade is so much fun!  The growth in their writing in one year is amazing.  I use a writer’s workshop in my class and I have been very happy with it.  It really enables me to guide my students at whatever stage of writing they are at.  I always have students who struggle with what to write about.  Word lists are great for inspiration!

Inspiring Ideas

I find that one of the biggest obstacles beginning writers have is finding a topic to write about.  How many time have you heard?

“I don’t know what to write about”

Too many!  So the way that I solve this is by providing thematic word lists for guidance.

I start out with just a few word lists on a binder ring.  The ones below are called “littles” because the are half a page.


Usually when I introduce the lists, I put on the family list, school words list and the birthday word list.  I model writing a story about my family.  Once I have modeled my story, I find my first graders are able to find a story to write about their family or even a birthday party they have had.

I usually add a new list to the word card rings every week (I have a lot of themes).  Each table group has their own “littles” word ring.  It keeps my writers inspired!

At my writing centers, I have a couple of binder rings with the “bigs“.  These are the same word cards, just whole page.  Students can grab those for inspiration too!


For some of the more popular word lists, I copy the backline version and they can put them in their writing folder.  The are call the “bigs” backline version.


Whenever I add a new list, I model a story that I would write.  It’s always fun to read the new writing that comes when a new list is added.

You can find these word list packs below.  These are all growing bundles, so I do add new word lists to them from time to time.

Just the Littles

Just the Bigs (Color Version)

Just the Bigs (Blackline Version)

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