There was this….
That’s me and my first grade team. All 2 and a half of us. Denise and I, (she’s on the right) have taught 1st grade together for 15 years now. Jean is on the left. She is an amazing combo teacher with the most difficult of all combination classes – a K-1!!! Kindergarteners should NEVER be in a combo class. Right? RIGHT?! cuh-razy. (Well no child should be in a combo class, but kinders?! ugh!) Anyhoo, we’ve been teaching together for a long, long time, too.
Obviously I couldn’t find a matching sweatshirt. It appears EVERYONE else in the known world wanted to be a minion, too.
Anyhoo… that’s us. The dorky girls who teach first grade. We had our annual Literacy Day Parade at school. Most of the kiddos dressed up and brought a book in which their character appeared. It fell on our minimum day this year which made it absolutely fabulous.
So on to real teaching stuff.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how important I feel it is to tie daily writing instruction into your balanced literacy program.
With these daily writing lessons and activities, not only do I see constant improvement in their writing, but in their reading skills as well. They truly do work together.
This past week we did a writing activity from the Falling Into Literacy pack.
We always start with a basic plan. For narrative writing, I like to use quick drawings.
From there we convert our visual ideas to simple complete sentences.
I help them edit their pre-writes… a bit. I don’t correct everything. My main focus is on correct grammar, capitals, periods, and sounds. If I can use the sounds they wrote to figure out the word, I rarely edit it – unless the word (or phonic rule) is something we’ve already worked on and they should know. This helps the students develop the skills necessary to write new words and feel comfortable “sticking their neck out” in writing. If they are always fearful that they will spell everything wrong, they will be hesitant to try – and you will be looking at an empty page.
I do my very best to do “minimal – meaningful” editing. My kiddos hear things like “WOW! I LOVE that you used your sounds so well.” “What a great word choice!” “Oh! Don’t forget to use ck for the /k/ sound after a short vowel.” When they do a particularly good job in using their sounds I do everything I can to read their sentences out loud to them super fluently, with expression, when they come to me to have me review it. The pride on their faces because I can read their ideas is absolutely priceless. Each time I edit something of theirs, I try to hit on one more little aspect. That way the learning is gradual, meaningful, and manageable.
All of this leads to some amazing final drafts that the kiddos are very proud of – and they should be!
Of course some kids pick up on the edit notes quicker than others and their writing skills jump profoundly. I do VERY little editing with these writers. I have found that each time I meet with them they improve upon the previous errors on their own just by paying attention to our lessons. They also write more each time. One or two little reminders go a long way.
This writing lesson and the bat craft – My Wacky Upside Down Day, can be found in
You can also find craft-writing lessons in
Here are my digital, interactive plans for this week.
Click the image below to enlarge my plans and get a better look. Click HERE to grab a copy of my planner sheet. The download is a “clickable” .pdf so you’ll be able to visit the links for many of the various items I have included in my plans for this week.
Click to grab a peek at a few more teachers’ weeks.
Have a fabulous week, peeps!