Set the bar high, and students will reach and stretch and believe...and WRITE!
We had an exciting week in Kindergarten. I started with our very first lesson, working with the students on where and how to sit, as well as beginning our conversation about why writers write. They enjoyed hearing Bear Has a Story to Tell, by Philip C. Stead, and we talked about what a story is and what readers find in stories. These kindergartners knew that stories have people or animals in them, that stories have pictures and words, and that stories tell about something that happens. This understanding is the foundation for becoming writers themselves. They know how books go. And they are not afraid to try their hand at picture book-making :)
After the first lesson, we set them free with paper, pencils, and crayons, asking them to draw or write a story about their own lives. We did get a full spectrum of stories, from a few imagined tales of dragons and monsters, to many more pieces on birthdays, tea parties, baseball games, family trips, and on and on.
Here is one student's story of a birthday party. When I asked him to tell me the story, he started naming who was there, with "BF" standing for Best Friend. I nudged him to tell me what was happening in the story, and he added that as his friends were singing "Happy Birthday" to him, he was blowing out the candles on his cake.
This week we will begin with Lesson 5, which we did not get to last week - Supplies and Using Resources Around the Room. I will read A Perfectly Messed-Up Story, by Patrick McDonnell to get us started.
We will continue with the following teaching points, mixing product lessons with process lessons:
- Writers plan their writing by thinking about their stories like a movie in their minds before they write.
- Writers learn how to move from activity to activity and place to place within the Writer's Workshop.
- Writers learn that illustrations should fill the page and add details to their stories.
Remember, writers can work on a piece or book for as long as he or she wants. There is no expectation of beginning and ending a piece of writing within a day, or even two days. What is important is that you are talking with students individually and learning how they are thinking as writers. I will tell our students each day how authors mostly start working on a book, and then keep working on it until they finish it. In our classrooms, we ask the writers to let us know when they have finished a book so that we can conference with the writer and celebrate his or her story!
It's time for me to get working on lesson plans for this coming week :) I am so excited I can hardly sit still...
All Kids Can Write! The proof's on the page!
If you are doing this work in your classroom and would like to share, feel free to leave a comment here, or use the hashtag #allkidscanwrite to join the conversation!