My classroom is composed of 16 active and noisy kindergarteners. I have 9 girls and 7 boys. The majority of my class is still 5 years old at this point in the year. As a whole they are an energetic group that needs a lot of movement often. They enjoy listening to stories and humorous ones or heavily sequenced books are their favorites. As a teacher of writing, I am modeling writing everyday in a whole group setting and a smaller lesson in guided reading groups. The smaller lesson is differentiated to meet the various needs of my class. Most of the time we are writing about text we have read or are working on specific words. I also have a journal time everyday for my students. At the beginning of the year, I had students write as soon as they came into the room, morning work. It was explorative, I would show a picture on the Smartboard or a tangible object, sometimes a mystery object; and they would write and draw about it. This activity included them saying aloud what they were going to write (multiple times), counting how many words it would be, then pointing to where each word would go. This takes so much practice. However I began to see growth in December. Most of my students understand the concept of tracking and use beginning sound knowledge, the are tapping out words to write and have some amount of sight word vocabulary. At the return to school after Christmas break, I made the transition for my students to complete the daily journal writing in the writing center now with the help of my assistant.
My top goal for my students, is to help them achieve a positive self images as young writers. The reason I have chosen this goal is because of the stress I have seen my kindergarten students have at the beginning of each year. I start the year with being very supportive and try to encourage free “writing” and exploration toward what the rest of the world outside of kindergarten knows as writing. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the year children cry and are filled with doubt about writing. I am not sure why at the age of 5 they are already feeling pressure to be perfect in something that they have not been taught. It makes me sad and confused when they just do not scribble like i know they do when no one is watching. I believe that most of them know how to “write” like that.
I am setting this goal because I want writing to be a more productive discovery activity, in which kindergarten students morph at their own pace to become ready to write in kindergarten and continue to grow in first grade. I want them to feel free to write, they way they know how and are comfortable with. Through modeling daily and showing a variety of writing (lists, narratives, poetry), I want them to be willing to write and feel proud of the writing they create. Some concerns I have about this goal are the various different levels of children I get at the beginning of each year. I know children, even at the age of 5, struggle more when they realize that they do not know as much as someone else in class. I want to be able to reach every child and allow them all to feel proud of their work.
I am also setting a goal to write more as a class. I have a time for daily modeling with some direction from the students. However, I want my students to work together to make pieces of writing, which can include pictures and/or dictation. These can be letter books, picture books, stories, poetry and lists. I believe that writing as a class can help support the individuals that are not as far along with writing as others are, as well has boost the kids that are confident and promote the ability to help others and share their knowledge. I need my first goal of having a positive self image to be in place before I tackle class writing. At the beginning of the year I did make a letter book. A few students worked on a letter at a time. In the end most students worked on 4-6 letters in the book. I did not feel like I made the activity collaborative enough. Everybody worked on it at different times and I added pieces to the book as they were completed.