Saturday, August 25, 2012

Writing With the Littles

Last spring I was so nervous about teaching math. Which led me to reading a book over the summer and then I felt much better about my understanding of teaching math. And now math time is shaping up pretty well.

I don't feel like I did a good job teaching writing last year. I have never considered myself a writer. All summer long I saw reviews for the book No More, "I'm Done!" I was so busy with other books that I just didn't get around to it.

However, when I placed my recent Amazon order I stuck that book in my cart (it was only $15).  When I finally opened it up to read I was trilled with the ideas and practical tips on how to teach writing to the little people who are just beginning to learn about sounds and words and punctuation.

We (my students, my aide and me) started writing in this manner on Monday. What a beautiful time in my room.

I start with a mini-lesson. Then we have a quiet ten minutes for writing (either drawing our ideas, or writing labels or sentences, or a combination of both). Next is time for  conferencing, telling our stories and adding to our stories. We work all the way to lunch, which is often another 30 minutes. And they are truly working.

One day this week the mini lesson was reading part of a Richard Scary book. I showed how he draws lots of pictures, labels the pictures, and then writes a sentence about it. Then I modeled this drawing/writing and sent us (because EVERYONE writes during the quiet ten) off to write. I have a piece of classical music that is 9 minutes long, and we know that we are writing during the music and can talk and share when the music is off.

Stories were written about birthdays, castles, a trip to Paris, families, and me.

On Fridays our writing time is trumped by Art with the art teacher. One sweet little girl asked at lunch time when we were going to have our writing time (which had already passed). I explained that we won't have writing today because of having art. You should have seen the disappointment in her face. I said to her, "you must have had an idea in your head for what you wanted to write about today." She nodded yes.

Wow! Other kids were also disappointed. Yippee, I have helped to create a class that loves to write. Who would have ever thought that would happen? Not me. But it makes me so happy.

Now my task is to stay ahead of them and teach them and move them along in how they write. Better get back to that book today.
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  1. The only words I saw in here were, "My aide and me..." and I kept thinking, "she gets an aide!" :)

  2. Writing was never my favorite thing to teach, but since I read this book, I love it! The quiet 10 is one of my favorite parts. I'm still working on conferencing, but it is much better than it used to be.
    By the way, every time I visit your blog, the sheep just makes me smile!
    Still Teaching After All These Years

  3. This book is one of my favorites! I read it online for free, but I may just break down and have my own copy. It really is a great book! Thanks for visiting me at my blog. I'm following you, now. :)
    Teaching Fabulous Firsties!

  4. Mrs Bartel you are a great story- teller! What a fun way to learn life- long skills that also keep kids better able to express their feelings, thoughts, family issues... Okay that's the SWer in me but wow you really have me excited over here !!!


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