So, this week being a week of assessment. I spent the better part of a day of my Spring Break exploring kindergarten writers' notebooks. And it was magical. Not because every story was perfect. Not even close! But because all of our writers showed us what they know about writing.
They showed us WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT WRITING!!
Remember, the classroom teacher and I did not give the students any direct prompts or starters. We simply gave them time each day to write their own stories.
Here's what they know:
* Stories include characters (who is in the story?)
* Stories have a setting (where does the story take place?)
* Stories include action (what happens in the story?).
They also know that:
* There should be capital letters at the beginnings of sentences and punctuation at the ends.
* There should be spaces between words.
* Writing goes from top to bottom and left to right.
* Illustrations add details to stories.
We taught mini-lessons about all of these things. We read stories, mentor texts, and talked about why and how authors make decisions as they write. And then we let them write. And make decisions.
Here is some of what they wrote, and how I assessed with positivity.
And I am only assessing that which we have taught. No more. No less.
Sometimes when I look with a narrower lens that is without positivity at the work my kindergarten writers have produced, I imagine greater criticism. Or lesser appreciation. I cringe when I think that others will look at this work and see only mistakes or gaps or sloppy words and pictures. I shudder when I think that others will look at this work and not appreciate the absolute dedication and steadfast determination that these authors pulled from within themselves to create stories from their lives. Or the belief in themselves as storytellers that had to exist in order for them to place their pictures and words on blank paper for readers to read.
It is with these youngest writers that our work begins. If we can plant in their writers' hearts the seeds of confidence that their words matter, that their words are beautiful, that their stories count, then, and only then, will we have done our part to ensure that #allkidscanwrite.
Have a great writing week!!