charts · dialgoue · primary grades · writing workshop

Dialogue in First Grade

Mrs. Z. is pretty accustomed to seeing my face during her writing workshop.  Whenever I have a free moment, I pop into her room.  Mrs. Z. teaches first grade, and her writing workshop is full of joy and choice and writing.  I can’t seem to stay away.  Oftentimes an anchor chart catches my eye and I have to catch Mrs. Z. after school to ask her about it.  Such was the case the other day when I noticed this chart:


Many first grade teachers introduce dialogue with charts such as “Make Your Character Move and Speak.”  This chart caught my eye because it named the different ways to make characters speak.  The characters could be nice or yell or even be bossy.

I caught up with Mrs. Z. and asked her about it.

“Did any of the kids try it?” I asked her, knowing it was a choice left to the young writers.

“Some of them,” she replied with a smile.

The student below used yelling dialogue.  (Mom said I’m running as fast as I can!)

Dialogue 1
Click image to enlarge

This student wrote happy dialogue. (And he said “This is even better than popcorn.” And he was happy.)


Dialogue 2
Click image to enlarge.

Whether dialogue is happy, yelling, funny, or bossy, it adds depth and voice to writing.  Kudos to these young writers and to Mrs. Z.


9 thoughts on “Dialogue in First Grade

  1. Hi, I am a new teacher (2nd year), and I particularly like this anchor chart. I am continuously looking for new and different ways to connect with my kids’ and get the message in. I can’t wait to try this when I start school with my new class in February. Thank you so much 🙂


  2. Hi, I am a new teacher, and am always looking for new ways to get in to my kids’ heads, and I love this anchor chart because of it’s simplicity. I makes for much clearer understanding for them, and gives me another way to get the message across to them. Thanks so much, I’m looking forward to trying this out.


  3. I was able to access the anchor chart for whatever reason and it is delightful. I especially love the title “Dynamite Dialogue.” I am really impressed with how Mrs. Z taught this and how readily her first graders stepped right up to the plate. I am also very heartened to hear that writing workshop is still alive and well in some elementary classrooms. Bravo, Mrs. Z !


  4. Kudos, to Mrs. Z! She cut right into the heart of dialogue, not just telling–but walking the walk, and showing kids how to make it real! I love this post, Dana. Shows the pitfalls that we’ve all had in teaching dialogue that’s authentic in a way that kids can see! (I’ll bet Mrs. Z does a bit of real writing in her own life!)


  5. Phooey. For some reason I can’t access the anchor chart. All I get is a tiny box surrounding an x. I would love to see the product that motivated this delightful first grade dialogue.


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