So I will be the first to admit that as a first year kindergarten teacher I don’t know everything there is to know about teaching kindergarteners to write. In fact, I probably know very little! I do a lot of reading, and use a variety of resources, and most of all go with my gut and do what feels right for my kiddos! I know there is a school of thought that says “writing workshop should be student led writing and nothing else.” I also know there is another school of thought that “spoon feeds” (for lack of a better word) words and sentences to the students. I like to think that I actually am mix – well kind of. I don’t really spoon feed my kids words or sentences to just copy. However, on occasion I do give a writing prompt for them to write too.
I would say about 85-90% of the time my kids are choosing their own stories, drawing the story and then writing the story. I do not tell them how to spell words, instead I point them to the tools in the room (word wall, alphabet, color wall, etc.) and I tell them to say the word slowly and write down the sounds that they hear. At this point in the ball game I have a couple kiddos that I help stretch the word out so they can hear the sounds.
The last couple of weeks have been “prompt” weeks. However, in addition to writing, our focus has been on revising and editing. Last week we tackled our letters to Santa using the writing process. We started on Monday by strictly focusing on drawing pictures of 3 things we wanted for Christmas and sounding out those words. Tuesday we began writing in sentences. Wednesday we talked about adding words or sentences to make our writing more clear. Thursday we talked about editing by focusing on spaces between words, capitol at the beginning and punctuation at the end. Friday we wrote our final letter on some very special paper that folded into an envelope. I wasn’t sure if I tried to tackle too much, but overall I think it was very successful. I had some kids that stayed right with that pacing and worked independently. I had some kids that wrote a draft or part of and then focused on copying the final letter on Friday. What I did like was that I saw better quality writing from them when they spent the entire week focused on the same thing.
This week I really wanted to do something Christmasy and fun. When I saw this adorable pin, I knew what I wanted to do! We started on Monday by just sitting together and verbalizing our answer to this question: “What would you do if Santa was stuck in your chimney?” Tuesday and Wednesday we took time to get our ideas down on paper and add details to explain our plan of action to help out old Mr. Claus. Today we wrote our final draft and then made our stuck Santas! (Side note: I noticed last week that some of my students felt the need to write on every line that I gave them. So this week I differentiated my paper giving them what they needed based on their rough draft. It worked great!) Here’s just a few examples.
|I wod tikol Satus fet bi climen up the chimne. (He would) wigol daon the chimne.
In case you don’t read Kindergarten: I would tickle Santa’s feel by climbing up the chimney. (He would) wiggle down the chimney.
|I wod push hem dun.
I would push him down.
|Wve ef Sat wus suc ni the chnine I wou po eyoo and wdr. I wod pro wooy in th chin th chnine.
What is Santa was stuck in the chimney – I would pour oil and water. I would pour oil in the chimney the chimney (good start at repetition for poetry 🙂
|I wod grab his bag and hem wud grab the futhr prt and I pul him awt.
I would grab his bad and he would grab the other part and I would pull him out.