Starting to Look Like Writers

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Well, we just finished week 4 of school.  Still in that good day – bad day routine but this week I’m going to lay part of the blame on the weather.  If you’ve been teaching for any amount of time you know that changes in weather means changes in students!  Despite the not so great change in behavior having a little rain was so worth it!  For those of you not in Texas, we have been in a never-ending drought and we are currently on Stage 3 water restrictions.  Any water that falls from the sky is worth whatever else it brings!

Despite plugging away at behavior expectations, we have been making great strides in Writer’s Workshop.  I apparently did something write when starting off this year because my kiddos love writer’s workshop and are doing a great job.  Actually, in hindsight, what I think I did right is to slow down!  My lesson plans went quicker but I put on the brakes to really reinforce these first few weeks.

We started the year off learning that writers can tell their stories with pictures.  I always take this opportunity to create an anchor chart for my Coloring Expectations in kindergarten.  I usually don’t say a lot about coloring until going over this lesson.  But after this lesson, I don’t accept scribble-scrabble any more.  Here’s the anchor chart that I re-create in class (which I originally found on – you guessed it – Pinterest):

coloring anchor chart

When I am starting out, I take things slow.  We actually worked on “our pictures can tell the story” and coloring for the first week. 

Next, in week 2 of writer’s workshop, I did a lessons on adding labels and words to our pictures.  This was our first introduction to stretching out words and listening for the sounds to write down.  Some kiddos jumped right onto this and did fabulous, while others still struggle with knowing which letter makes the “f” sound.  I also showed the students how to use the tools in their classroom to help them write words.  I modeled using the word wall with our current words I, see and like.  I was really proud of how many kiddos went into writer’s workshop and immediately tried using their sight words.

This one says “I see wklplofnom.”  I love that she is trying
to use her word wall even though the stretching out skill is
not quite there.
Love the labels and words in this picture! 

Week 3 of writer’s workshop was my lesson on adding details to our pictures.  This is one of my favorites because it really helps out when kiddos shout out “I’m done.”  I can go and conference with them and we find that there are a lot more details that could be added.  If you came into my classroom, it wouldn’t be long before you heard “add more details” or “fill in the white space.”  With each week of lessons we do a quick review of the others.  Before I send them off to write I always remind them what we have learned and what we are working on.

The details in this one are FAB-U-LOUS!  He told me “Mrs. Biddison, I
worked really hard on the kids jumping on the trampoline, and the chickens
that were in the yard.”

We have also been working on building stamina as we write.  My writer’s workshop expectation is that students are using a Voice Level 0 (no voice) unless they are stretching out words.  In that case it should be a whisper.  This week they were doing such a great job that I flipped on the video camera to catch them action.

We still have some work to do but for 3 weeks of Writer’s Workshop I am very proud of them.  This has definitely been a great reminder for me to go slow now so I can go fast later.  I just keep reminding myself to take baby steps.  When I do it, it definitely pays off.

I’d love to know what you are really proud of your class for doing so far this year! 


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