Friday, January 25, 2013

Morning Work

This year I have done something a little different for morning work. I wanted my students to have more time during the day to practice their drawing and writing skills so I have them writing every morning as soon as they come in.

Here is what I am doing that is different than what I have done in the past. Each morning I give them one or two specific word wall words I want them to include in their sentence. I never give them a prompt or starter for their morning work writing. All I give them is one of two word wall words. For example, this morning I asked my students to write a sentence using the words "look" and " "my". I know this seems like what you do when you give them a prompt with basic word wall words, but I have seen a much different result by doing it this way.

What I have noticed is that I am getting more variety in the sentences my students are writing because they are not used to prompts  and because they think of something different each morning to write about. Some of the words on the word wall are ones that students would never use unless asked to so. Even if a student wants to write about the same subject they wrote about the day before they have to find a different way to phrase the sentence because of the new words for the day.

I am also using this time to confer with students briefly about their drawings and to grow them in this area too. I use manila paper and drawing paper during this time because I think I get a better product than I do when I use a spiral notebook.

My students seem to write better sentences and use better phonetic spelling during this time than they do when I give them a specific topic to write about. For time sake I stick to one sentence for morning work. I use my ELA block to work on specific writing skills and writing multiple sentences.

Here are a few examples...

This dog is for me.

I like to go at a zoo with my mom. 

I love you mom. I like to run at Sally Moore. 

I went to Chuckee Cheese. 

I like to play with my sister at grandma's home. 

She is my friend. 

I like you Xavier. 

Me and my mom go to the park and see a rainbow. 

I like to play with my airplane and my bike. 

At Christmas I like to play with my toys that Santa gave me. 

We like to play basketball in the gym. 


Erin said...

I really like this idea. I often do not have enough time in the day to get all the writing practice in that I would like. This is an excellent way to get an extra 15 minutes or so in. I have my kiddos write with pencil, but I see that your's write with marker. Is there a reason for that?

*Please e-mail me, I would love to talk more writing with you.

Chrissy + Nate said...

Great idea! We use Handwriting without Tears and I don't really like their double lines they have for Kindergarten, so using manila paper for free-writing is such a good idea. I'm stealing! I just need to have an illustration conference with some of my boys... goodness, a few are still drawing amoeba people!

Cara said...

I do the same thing in my classroom with one exception. I also give them a shape an tell them to turn it into something. Then write about what they made. For example, I will draw a rhombus on the board along with the words they are to use. Then their little brains go to work. It is amazing what they can come up with! I have had kites, diamond rings, a shape monster, a sail for a boat. They are so creative when we give them the freedom to be!
Kindergarten Boom Boom

Ramon Abajo said...

Thanks Ms. L.
I am going to try this way, with no sentence opener and focusing on only a couple or even three words and see if the results change a bit.

Fonts 4 Teachers
Fonts 4 Teachers in TPT

April Larremore said...

I started having my kids write with markers years ago when I read some Lucy Caulkins stuff. When they make a mistake I just cover it up quickly with "boo boo tape" (wide post-it correction tape from an office supply store) and they keep on writing. We do not waste any time erasing over and over again. I have been doing this for years and I really like it.

Andrea Randall said...

My first graders and some kinders have a similar routine in their journal (and we do use lines!). We keep track of the number of days in school and always have a "word of the day" posted. The routine is this. On a new line they write the day's number and the day's word; for example "1. the". Then on the next line they write a sentence using the word of the day, underlining the word of the day and illustrating a picture to go with it.

April Larremore said...

Thanks to all of you who have shared your variations of what I am doing with my class. I love them!

Anonymous said...

I am not yet teaching, I just completed my Bachelor's in Elementary Ed and now working on a Masters in Reading. I have seen phonetic spelling and the effects (bad spellers as adults!). Can you tell me why we do this? Why don't we correct them? I love this idea though and when I have my own classroom, I will definitely incorporate it! Thanks for your (or any other followers) suggestions and answers to my questions!! :)

Kinderaffe said...

Have been trying to find a way to get more writing! Will be starting this tomorrow! Love when one little thing can help in so any areas! Thanks. Will try to find some time on Fridays maybe for some "author" sharing.

Jill Williams said...

At this stage of learning to write the focus is on getting ideas on paper. We can help them edit but we cannot put their writing or thoughts on paper.

Colleen Bowns said...

This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing :) I was just thinking last week that my morning work routine was feeling a little stale, so this might be just what we need to make it a bit more interesting and exciting!

April Larremore said...

At this stage in their writing I teach them some basic phonetic rules and chunking that they can use when both reading and writing. When we do interactive writing as a class I spell everything correctly. We share the pen and the sounds the kids do not pick up on I add to the word and talk about why I added the letters. I use a combination of both in my classroom.
At this point I want my kids to see themselves as writers and not be afraid to write about something because they think they can't spell a word correctly. I hope this information helps.

Kirstin McGinnis said...

Wow - what a great idea to get more authentic writing!! Many of students are struggling with written expression, and I think that this would help! Thanks!


Mrs. Clancy said...

April I love this idea! I think your kids spacing and lowercase letter writing looks great too! Melissa

Anonymous said...

What is "chunking?" And, I can see the value in encouraging them to write without fear!! :) I'm glad that you show them the correct spelling at other times. Most of the teachers I observed while working on my degree didn't seem too worried about it. Perhaps they think students will rely on spell check instead? :) Thanks for your help!! I love your blog! I appreciate your wonderful ideas... great for a newbie!

Anonymous said...

Love this idea. Did you start this at the beginning of the year? Just wondering how this might work early on when my kindergarteners are not ready to write sentences yet, or for those struggling writers who are still not writing much on their own.

Shannon said...

I love this idea and actually started doing this about 4 years ago. I start first day if school and I model on my big journal paper first explaining that this is my journal and not therefore I don't want to see my work on their paper. I model whoa writer do like "think" in my head of what to write. Then I start writing, spelling everything correctly. I pretend to get stuck and stop to start drawing a picture bc that's another part of writing. I explain to them that although they will not be writing like me...they are writing through pictures and labeling. It's December now and my lowest ones can write a sentence!!! My high ones write stories with details.....amazing and so neat!!