I ordered a new resource for free with my Scholastic points called Draw then Wright. Each page shows a very simple (3-step) drawing and then encourages writing based on one of three ability levels. (Below you see the mid-level page) This allows students to use their own creativity to hook them into writing.
I used this page with the new first grader that I tutor. After allowing a few minutes to draw, I guided her through the 5 W's listed to develop ideas. We took these ideas to create a short story.
She orally created one sentence at a time and we practiced the sentence with air punctuation. We focused on capital letters (gesture: pulling one hand up with a "whoosh") and periods (making a clicking noise while flicking the pointer finger). The noise and gesture help to cement these skills so that students remember to use them!
I noticed that she also needed practice leaving spaces between the words as she wrote them on her paper. We added a new gesture into the air punctuation by pressing one finger on the table to illustrate a space between each word, and pressing two fingers on the table between sentences.
With my 2nd graders next school year I may introduce this early on as a whole group. After a quick draw, they could orally create sentences with their partner before moving on to putting them on paper. They can check their writing by using their gestures again as they re-read their work. After the students become familiar with the process, I can see this becoming a great center activity.
WBT Intern, 2011-12