Teaching Procedural "How To" Writing

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Often classroom teachers ask me to help students with sequencing activities; specifically how to help them with story recall. I often look to everyday activities to teach "how-to" do something before I work on recall of a story they have read. Activities such as getting ready for school, how to make a bowl of cereal or a sandwich. Familiar routines are a great place to start. 

Have you ever asked a student what they did that weekend, and end up hearing a convoluted sideways disjointed story that ends up with something about a vacation to the moon they are going on? No kidding. It seems to happen all the time - kids can't tell the simple tasks on how to do something or recount a recent event.
I recently found some fun felt toys in the fabulous Target Dollar Spot. A hamburger, pie, and taco. OMG- they are PERFECT because they have all the "pieces." Immediately I thought they would be an ideal visual for working on procedural texts. In speech, the kids are loving "teaching" me how to make things! Food is always a fun way to get kids engaged and excited to work on these tasks.
If you don't have the space or "time" for the mess of a food activity, there are many other procedural tasks that are engaging as well. Since it doesn't snow much in Texas, we have to be creative with "snow." I have the melting snowman - another great visual of "how-to" build something. I found it at Target also but I've seen them online and at Barnes and Noble. By the time we finish writing, he is usually melted flat on the table - kids totally dig this!
After we have "talked" our way through sequencing steps, we physically do the activity, then we write about it - I ALWAYS do several examples on my white board first and leave it up as an example. 
Would you like to download 4 free pages of writing templates? Download the preview of my new "How To Writing" templates! I have templates for food writing activities such as hot chocolate, fruit salad, and hamburgers. I also created some for everyday activities (home, school and seasonal topics).  There are enough template for the whole year - even some for saying the pledge and fire drills!
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What's your favorite procedural writing task?


  1. Did the taco activity today with a group of autistic 2nd graders. They loved it! After we built our tacos and wrote the steps, I had the students practice telling each other how to build the taco. I also had the hamburger because Target ran out of tacos! Thanks so much for the great therapy idea!

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