In my blogging world we are writing about our amazing kinder writers. And it seems from browsing the kindergarten blogs and talking with my colleagues that writing workshop looks very different in our classrooms because teachers use different programs, have access to different resources, have different beliefs about how children learn and school communities are different. One thing that we all agree upon is that writers need support, space and come to school with a variety of skills and knowledge. But what stands out is that we all love to teach writing and most of us are very excited about our kinder writing programs.
I am definitely in the LOVE category. Looking at our February writing pieces, the kinders are able to draw different shapes with ease, use class generated criteria, regularly write using many letters, apply developmental writing (pn, pgn,pengn,pngin, penguin), use environmental print (words displayed around the room), match their writing with the picture, write on the same story over two or three days, write about a specific topic ie: polar animals, family or friends. Even standard spelling of high frequency words like; to, am, me, is, I, and, the are beginning to appear on some pages.
With all of the wonderful yet different models it may be of interest to parents and others who read our blog to learn about our kinder program. The program that I use is based upon research about developmental writing. I have to reference these amazing researchers Lucy Calkins; Andrea McCarrier, Irene Fountas & Gay Sue Pinnell for their influence on my beliefs. The program adheres to a gradual release model, which means that the writers begin with a highly supported and structured writing program and gradually receive less support and work more independently. As the writers mature, their knowledge and skills mature with them. At the same time the student’s writing stamina increases which means that they can write for expanding amounts of time. Using the gradual release model allows the writers to mature at their own pace and frees the teacher to work at many different levels. This is a very interactive model and very responsive to individual learners needs. I have listed a few key pieces of my framework below:
· Writers write every day
· Writers choose their own topic
· Writers have criteria
· Writers begin with large, unlined paper and gradually use smaller paper with lined spaces to write within
· Writers talk with each other about their topics
· Writers help each other with drawing shapes, discussing picture details, letter formation, letter names, letter sounds and high frequency words
· Writers work together in a group to practice interactive writing with their teacher before going to the table to write
· Writers can write on the same topic over time
· Writers have different writing experiences such as thank you cards, completing writing prompts, making posters, recording ideas, listing information, posting facts, partnerwriting, requests, labelling, ...
· Writers practice drawing beginning with step by step and moving to guided drawing as they mature
· Writers choose who they sit with
· Writers publish their work by posting it in the
room or school, making class books, reading
their stories to the class (or other adults in
the school ie: Mrs.Nobel, big buddies or
taking it home to share with their
WRITING WORKSHOP SNAPSHOTS
Prepare to be impressed!!!