Every Wednesday this summer, I will make a post sharing a favorite tip, idea, lesson, or thought that I learned about writing during the week. Hopefully along the way you will find something that will help you grow your little ones into writers when we start back in the fall.
In the past, I always thought students should not be expected to write much more than their name during those first few weeks of school. I thought since most of my students did not know their letters and sounds that I should wait on starting the writing process with them.
While reading a chapter from Marvelous Minilessons for Teaching Beginning Writing, K-3 by Lori Jamison Rog, I learned this line of thought was WRONG!!
Lori recommends starting writing with your kindergartners on the FIRST day of school. Of course this does not mean you just hand out paper and pencils and tell the kids to "write."
In her book, Lori has a specific mini-lesson for writing on the first day of kindergarten. Just like the Daily Five has you teach students 3 ways to read a book, Lori starts by having you explain to students that there are different kinds of writing that are acceptable in kindergarten.
Start by choosing a topic for your writing. Model for students by thinking aloud how you chose your topic, why you drew what you did in your picture, and how you decided what to write to go with your sentence. (This is a process we are all very familiar with. We are probably not used to using it on the first day of school though.)
Think out loud about and model the different ways to write in kindergarten.
curly writing- squiggles and curls
with some letters- random letters
book writing- the kind of writing other people can read
Before having students write independently, give them dry erase boards and markers and have them practice the different types of writing with you.
Teach students the word "I." The topic that interests young writers most is usually themselves so "I" is a very important word to learn. Explain to students that "I" is a word in book writing. It looks the same for everyone. From then on, require your students to read and spell the word "I" correctly in all of their writing.
Spend some time brainstorming writing topics as a group. Then as soon as each student can tell you what he or she is going to draw and write about, send them off with materials in hand.
Happy Writing in Kinder!