Ice Cream "Small Moments" Stories freebie with rubric

For one last writing assignment for the year, we wrote ice cream stories. We've written several personal narratives this year, but for this one, I wanted them to take this big topic and zoom in to make it a small moment. This is of course Lucy Calkins-inspired.  :)

I started by writing a boring version of an ice cream story. It was basically just listing events like this:

I went to the ice cream store on Saturday. I went with my son. We got chocolate. It was good. We had fun. 

I asked the kids if they enjoyed my story, then went into reasons why it wasn't very interesting. We decided that we would rewrite the story together to make it more interesting.

First, we brainstormed some sensory words that could be used in an ice cream story. Then I modeled the small moments concept during a shared writing. I was leading the story with an experience I had getting ice cream, but as a class we worked on narrowing the topic and zooming in on small details. Together, we wrote a great "small moments" narrative! My students helped me add in interesting words and good transitions. They has some really cute ideas to make my story sound more interesting. I don't have a picture of the actual story, but one cute idea was: "The line was pouring out the door" in place of "There was a long line." Another student said, "I wondered if anyone would notice if I cut the line. I couldn't wait another second." SO cute!

We reread the story together to practice the editing process as well. After going through the whole writing process together, the kids were ready to write their own ice cream narratives. After writing our stories, I set the timer for 5 minutes. For the entire 5 minutes, students have to reread their paper to edit. Even if they already edited, they all still have to take this 5 minutes for one more edit. Then we read our papers to a buddy. I encouraged them to ask each other questions about their stories. Finally, we read our stories to the class.

I've created this freebie for all of you to write ice cream stories with your class:

I included a few different options for paper...

Frames by That Girl and KPM doodles; clipart by Thistlegirldesigns

A graphic organizer...

and three different rubrics, depending on what you want to focus on.

This one equally assesses everything.

These two focus more on content/ideas:

You can get this here at my TPT store  or  here at my Teacher's Notebook Store.

If you take the freebie, I'd love to hear from you. If you do a small moments writing assignment, I'd definitely love to hear what you do and how you teach it. If you have links to your blog talking about it, that would be fabulous! I'm always looking for more ideas about how to teach this concept.

If you love rubrics and would like a megapack of them, click here!


  1. I've been following Lucy for years, but just bought her units of study. It arrived on Friday and I'm very excited to follow it next year!
    Love the ice-cream writing idea. Thanks!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  2. Love, love, love this idea. I teach 4th grade and believe me we are STILL working on teaching those "small moments." I wanted to have my 4th graders do a lot more small writing projects this next year, so this is perfect. I had mine write about how to eat an oreo at the end of the year and they turned out so great! Ah-ha... you may have just inspired a post on my own blog. Can I link back to you? Thanks for sharing your great idea. I'm bookmarking and saving in my writing file for next year.

    The Teaching Thief

  3. I can't believe you are giving this away! Thank you so much! I am going to use it with my new second graders in July. I know they will love it. :)

    Heather at TeachItToday!

    Visit my blog for a math freebie!

  4. Wonderful, thanks for sharing.

  5. What a great freebie, Sarah! I love the idea of teaching "small moments." Not adding interesting details is something a lot of my second graders struggle with. I am going to use rubrics with writing for the first time this year, so you have good timing! Thanks so much for sharing!

    PS: I am a brand new teacher blogger and would love for you to stop by!

    EduKate and Inspire

  6. Thank you everyone for your comments!

    Barbara, you are going to love her books. I can't wait to hear what you think! Thanks for the comment!

    Amanda, thank you so much for your sweet comment. I can't wait to read your post about your oreo stories! I'd love a link. :) Maybe I'll do oreo stories next year after reading your post!

    Kate and Heather, I'm headed your way to check out your blogs!
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

  7. Your boring example sounded oh so familiar. Thanks for the ice cream ideas.

  8. Thanks so much for the sweet freebies! I have used this example before, but it will be even better with the supportive organizers and cute paper you gave! :)

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  9. Thank you so much! I am so thankful that you share your hard work! I absolutely love it!

  10. This looks great, Sarah! I bet you really got their attention when you talked about ice cream:) I love that you have incorporated a rubric!!

  11. HI! I am your newest follower!! I would love to have you stop by my blog when you get a chance.


  12. I love the graphic organizer! You have so many great ideas. I just stumbled upon your blog and I can't wait to see more of your ideas :)

    Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans

  13. I LOVE this idea! So cute! I think you may like some ideas on my site. Oh, and I'm doing a giveaway very soon so make sure you join my site!

    Kate :)

  14. We are teaching memoirs next week. This is wonderful! Thanks for the freebie. I can't wait to get started.

    Jeannie Hunter
    The 2nd Grade Surprise