Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wild about Writing Wednesday

All of my work with teachers last spring helped me to see the strong need to learn more about teaching little ones to write. Teaching writing to young children is not a simple task and I decided that I wanted to READ, READ, READ and learn as much about it as I could this summer. I also decided I should share all of the great stuff I learn with all of you!! So here goes...

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!


Jennifer Tilton said...

I have never heard of that book. I may need to get one. I loved teaching writing last year. We have a 20-30 minute Writer's Workshop everyday. It is amazing what they can do and what they choose to write about.

Deedee Wills said...

April... Yay! I love writing! I am starting a book study on Friday for Katie Wood Ray's book, In Pictures and in Words. I hope you will come by!

I started a summer weekly post on read alouds, but when school started I wanted to do a weekly writing post with student samples and lesson reflections(on Wednesdays too). I hope you won't think I copied you... :-(

Thank you for everything you do! Your blog continues to be my "go-to" place to stalk! LOL!

Mrs. Larremore said...


I ordered my book In Pictures and in Words just the other day!! It has shipped and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival!! I am all set to keep up with your book study!!

I love the idea of student samples and lesson reflections. It is that reflection piece for both us and our students that is so powerful.

Busy Bees said...

Writing is one of my favorite things to teach in kindergarten. I love stalking other blogs to learn more about writing. Thanks for sharing!

Erica said...

I can tell you're getting excited to be back in the classroom. :) I will look forward to your posts on writing. I implemented Lucy Caulkins with my kinders this past year and always love learning more about writing with the young ones.

Katy said...

I love this! Writing is definitely one of my favorite things to teach in the classroom; however, I've never tried to attempt it day one! Thanks for the motivation to try that this year!! I'm excited to see what my new kiddies can do, right from the start!

Thanks for being an awesome resource!!!!

Kindergarten Katy

Greg said...

I love the idea that they can write more than their name on day one! Thank you for this book and these ideas. Teaching writing is my weakest area and I'm constantly trying to improve but I seem to just keep spinning my wheels. Now I feel like I have some traction!


g-girl said...

Wow, like you, I always thought I was lucky if they could at least write their name on the first day! Now you're telling me I can get them to start writing on the first day?? I'm all over that idea. :) I typically wait until I feel like they all have at least some grasp of the letters. I'm ordering this book asap now. Thanks for recommending it!

Susan said...

Wow, this book sounds great! Thank you for sharing!

Kindergarten is the Best

Miss Trayers said...

Very interesting. I think writing may be my favorite part of the day with my kiddos! Sounds like a book I may need to check out-always looking for ideas on mini-lessons.


Nora Davis said...

So glad you are now on the "writing starts day 1" bandwagon. I have been doing that for years, and many people think I'm crazy... but the kids definitely don't! ;)

beachliesl said...

Aaaahhh...writing on the first day. Its something I have been doing for years, and I'm being very honest when I say it is always a painful experience. However, my kids learn SO much about both reading and writing through the year.

Have you ever read any of Peggy Campbell-Rush's books? She has a very "easy read" book out, called "Group Writing: How Writing Teaches Reading". It starts with that same premise--begin writing on day 1, and breaks down the task step by step. She literally uses pictures and descriptions to walk the reader through the first week of writing.

Thanks again for always posting such 'thought provoking' posts! :)


Mrs. Larremore said...

Thanks for the book suggestion. It sounds great. I am headed to check it out now.