Activities for kindergarten writing sentences in small groups

activities for kindergarten writing sentences

It’s around mid-year of kindergarten when students writing really starts to take off. At this point, they have enough letter-sound knowledge and can write some simple high-frequency words. They are reading simple sentences and are writing several words on a page. Students are ready to start writing sentences! But how do you teach kindergarten writing sentences? I like to teach in both whole group and small group, but I find that teaching targeted small groups in writing are the most successful. So, how and what activities for kindergarten writing sentences do I teach in small groups? I’ll show you in this blog post!

How to Teach Kindergarten Writing Sentences in Small Groups?

activities for kindergarten writing

There are three main structures I like to follow in a small group for writing. The groups should be based on the skill you notice the students needing to work on. Call you group together and decide which of the three structures would be the best activities for kindergarten writing.

Teach and Practice

The first structure is best for an introduction on a certain writing skill. Share with the students the teaching point of the small group – the skill they need to learn. Then, give students a visual reminder of the teaching point (like a sticky note) so they can remember it when they are writing independently. After you share the teaching point with the students, have them try it in the writing they have been already working on independently. As they are writing, observe them and coach into their writing. Give them reminders to use the skill that you just taught them.

Remind and Practice Together

The second structure is good for either an introductory small group or to practice with students who need more guidance. Remind students about the teaching point that you are working on with them with these activities for kindergarten writing. Then, work on a writing piece together as a group with the skill in focus. For example, if you are working on adding labels, then have everyone add a piece of the drawing. Then, have everyone add a label to the picture they drew together. This writing is a group piece, so it’s not individually owned. But you could always make copies to share with everyone in the group if they are really excited about it. After everyone gets a chance to practice the skill you are working on, send them to try the skill in their own writing.

I Do – We Do – You Do

The third type of small group for teaching activities for kindergarten writing would be more of an “I do, we do, now you do” model. Start by modeling for students what using the skill would look like. For example, if you want students to plan out their writing before they start writing, show them how you would plan a piece of writing. Then, have the group try and help you with your writing. Have them add to your planning. Finally, send students off to try this in their own writing. For this example of teaching planning out your writing, I would have my students plan out their story in the small group and then go to their seats to keep writing it. 

For more support with planning small groups, check out this blog post and this free planning sheet!

kindergarten small group planning free

Kindergarten Writing Sentences Small Groups

When teaching conventions to young children, focus on teaching spacing first, punctuation second, and capitalization third. Then continue to revisit and review these topics as needed, until the children are showing that they understand the skills and can use them independently in their writing. These skills should be taught to the whole class and reinforced in small groups as needed.


activities for kindergarten writing

You want to teach children that after each word they need to put a space. The space helps the reader know that one word ended, and the next word is beginning. Encourage students to use two fingers or a spacer to help them remember to put a space between words. I call this using a “finger space” with my students.

Before teaching spacing, make sure that students can hear the difference between words (an important phonological awareness skill). Have them tell you what sentence they are going to write and ask them to clap or tap for each word in the sentence, and then ask them how many words are in the sentence. This help ensures that they understand one-to-one correspondence in their writing.

As you are beginning to work with students on adding spacing, have students continue to say their sentence out loud and tap out the words. Highlight lines on their paper where each word will go with exaggerated spaces between the words. As they continue to practice this, have them take on more of the highlighting and adding sentences. Eventually, simply point to a visual (you gave them in the small group) to remind them to add spaces in their writing.

There are more tips here in this blog post on teaching beginning writers!


kindergarten writing sentences

When teaching punctuation, start by making sure that your students understand what each punctuation symbol means. I would do this whole class initially. Then, when reading books together, I point to the different punctuation symbols. Mo Willems’ books are great for teaching about reading with punctuation.

Once students understand what the punctuation marks are, have them edit some writing stories to add in punctuation marks. Use the visual reminders to help students. After editing pieces, sit with students as they are writing and use the visuals to remind them to add punctuation at the end of each sentence. They’ll need frequent reminders to check their work to add in punctuation, so give them the sticky note to keep on their writing folder and tap it when you check in with them. Then have them check over their work to see if they need to add in more punctuation.

Young children often think that the sentence ends at the end of the line. As students start to add more punctuation independently, remind them that the punctuation goes at the end of a thought, not just at the end of a line.


kindergarten writing activities

Before teaching when to use proper capitalization, make sure that students know the correct lowercase letters and their formation. Once you know that students know how to write most of their lowercase letters, then you can teach them when it is appropriate to use uppercase and encourage mostly lowercase letters in their writing. Keep an alphabet strip or chart nearby to them while they are writing so they can reference it. Once students start to practice the skill of capitalization, the main goal for kindergarten should be to use uppercase only at the start of writing sentences, the word “I” and people’s names.

Teaching Editing in Kindergarten Writing Sentences

kindergarten writing sentences

Teaching kindergarten writing sentences can, and should, be taught in a whole group. But it should also be taught as activities for kindergarten writing small groups to really guide students through the process of checking over and editing their work. I like to give my students old glasses, that the lenses fell out of, and then use those “magic glasses” to help them find mistakes or look for areas to add more. It’s a fun thing to add to the small group on editing.  Teaching kindergarten writing sentences, and specifically when teaching editing, there are three main areas to focus on.

Does your Writing Make Sense?

First, you want students to read over their writing and self-reflect on whether their writing makes sense. This is also a great opportunity to encourage them to read their writing to a partner to see if it makes sense to them. Often, just reading the writing the writing out loud, to themselves or someone else, helps them realize that they made a silly mistake or forgot a word.

Conventions Check

Secondly, we need to teach students to check for conventions. For kindergarteners, this includes correct capitalization, punctuation, and spacing. I love to give checklists for them to check over their writing on their own for conventions.

Adding More

Finally, we’ve all had the students that write a million and one stories and aren’t really pushing themselves to try harder or to write more. They are comfortable with where their writing skills are. When this happens, I push my students to ask themselves, “what more can I add?” This is easier said than done, obviously. I teach my students that when they are done with their writing, they should always go back and see if there are any areas where they can add more details or information. Having a checklist for things to add or details to consider can be really effective. They also could benefit from a small group on adding details.


There are many activities for kindergarten writing sentences, but the most effective teaching for writing sentences is done in small groups. In small groups, I take turns modeling the skill of writing a sentence, having the students work together on a shared writing piece, or letting children practice the skill in front of me while I coach their writing. In these small groups I teach the sentence writing skills of punctuation, spacing, capitalization, and editing writing.


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