first week of co-teaching writing in kindergarten this year. I have been thinking and searching and
writing and revising all weekend. Much of the time my mind has been as cluttered as my desk....
But then, I found my framework. And, for me, that's crucial when I plan.
- How are my unit and lessons organized?
- What is the overarching objective?
- Is there more than one?
- What is the scope and sequence of my unit?
- What are the resources I can use to teach my lessons?
- How can I get them?
And after all of those questions have been asked and, hopefully, answered, I begin writing the lessons. There is such a feeling of joy and confidence when I begin writing lessons if all of the planning has been done. When I am in control of what I want the students to learn, it is much easier to design lessons for how I want them to learn.
Process and Product
Launching the writing workshop in the first grade classroom is challenging. When I created my introductory unit for first grade, I used Eric Carle's wonderful picture books as my framework. His words and pictures inspired my writers' products while I set up the routines and expectations of our writer's workshop process each day. I was able to teach craft and process at the same time. First grade writers handled it with ease because they already had a context for writing in the classroom - kindergarten!
As I prepare to launch the writer's workshop in kindergarten, though, I think I will separate my craft, or product, lessons from my process lessons. Most of these youngest of writers will have zero context for writing in the classroom. They will need explicit direction and ample time to become comfortable with the world of writer's workshop. And let's not forget a good dose of redirection as they explore and attempt and approximate...:)
But, at the same time, I do not want to spend twenty days just setting up our classroom rules and routines. There will be many writers who are more than ready for craft lessons to inspire them and get them started on their own work.
Kindergarten - Week One
Session One - (This is a day where I will combine Process and Product) Where Do You Sit? and Why Writers Write
Process - To show students where and how they will sit during writer's workshop instruction. (transition to the carpet, where to sit, expectations during mini-lesson, transition to writing time)
Product - To begin a conversation with students about why writers write - for an audience and with a purpose. Read Aloud - Bear Has a Story to Tell, Philip C. Stead & Erin E. Stead
Session Two - Students As Authors
Product - To help students begin to think of themselves as authors. Read Aloud - Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons, Agnes Rosenstiehl
Session Three - The Structure of the Writer's Workshop
Process - Students will understand that every single day, they can expect the same things to happen in the writer's workshop - mini-lesson, writing/drawing time, conferencing, and sharing. Read Aloud - on the Construction Site, Carron Brown & Bee Johnson
Session Four - Seed Ideas/Experiences
Product - Students will continue to build ideas for stories that come from their own lives. Read Aloud - No, David!, David Shannon
Session Five - Supplies and Using Resources Around the Room
Process - Students will follow explicit directions on how and where to store their work folders, where to find resources in the room, and tour the writing center. Read Aloud - A Perfectly Messed-Up Story, Patrick McDonnell
I am hopeful that by the end of the first instructional week, my kindergarten writers will have begun to create a context for what and why writers do this work. And that they will be excited and inspired to put their own stories on paper. This is our journey in kindergarten.
Off we go!!