Spice Up Your Writing

        This week our focus in writing was word choice.  For the past couple years I have always introduced word choice with chips and salsa and rice cakes.  I have the students’ try a rice cake and tell me all the words that come to mind.  Most of the kids will tell me words like gross, plain, tasteless, or my favorite (This tastes like Styrofoam).  Next, I have the students’ eat a chip with salsa and tell me the words they think of.  These are much better responses.  I usually get wonderful, I like this, spicy, yummy, and flavorful.  I go on to ask my kiddos if they wrote a story would they want their peers to think it was like a rice cake or chips and salsa?  I read the responses from our chart board and the students’ always want them to think of their writing as wonderful or spicy (chips and salsa).   

     After this short activity I like to read one of the following books below.  We record some of the “spicy” words in the salsa jar poster and then the boring words on the rice cake poster.  These are all great to teach word choice.  Not to mention, there are so many wonderful blogs that have great ideas with Fancy Nancy.

        My kids got so into this that I made a cute little display to put in our writing center.  I made a spice up your writing sign and labels to put over old spice containers.  I did use shipping labels and I have the files if you want to print them.  Just send me a comment or email.  I wrote old overused words on the labels and then laminated spicy words to put inside the spice containers.  For example, big: enormous, gigantic, huge, large, or massive. My kids really love them and they are using them daily in their writing. 


  1. Very creative lesson! I'm sure your kids loved it!


    Once Upon a Time in First Grade

  2. Aww thanks. They did enjoy the writing activity and still use them in class, which is a huge plus. I love your site by the way. I'm on there every week. Keep up all the great ideas!

  3. What a wonderful idea!! I just became a follower of your site. You have such fun ideas!! I know my students will love all of the new ideas that I get from you!!

  4. I love this idea! I'm starting a word choice unit next week in my student teaching classroom and this has sparked a few ideas for me that I might consider using. Thank you for sharing!

  5. This is an awesome idea. Could you please send me the labels that you have for this? My e-mail address is joy.j.harrison@gmail.com. Thank you!

  6. Great idea!! I think I am going to try this. Could you send me the labels that you have for this? Thank you for sharing!!!!