Kindergarten Students Understand What it Means to be a Writer

This week in our classroom we continue to give our students opportunity to engage in reading and writing.  Every day as teachers we realize the students are learning what it means to be a writer.   As we observe them making decisions about what they are going to write about, we see them becoming more intentional about their writing selection.  By encouraging them to write their own sentences, we see their growth as a writer daily.  They will line up at my desk to ask questions about their choice of sentences.  Some of them just automatically get started with their drawings and once they are finished they will come and ask ” if their drawing looks like a fish.”  Whether it does or not to me, I respond with “Is that what a fish looks like to you?”  Some will say, “I don’t know how to draw a fish.”  I keep it very simple for them and together we look at their book and observe how the fish looked.  I say, “It is very simple, you have a great beginning with your circle, give it a mouth and a tail and any other details you like.”

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In the above picture, you can see one of our students use the “space man”, that is used to help the student leave space between their words so that their work is readable.  All the students use their “space man”.

As I continue my reading of Talking, Drawing, Writing: Lessons for Our Youngest Writers, by Martha Horn & Mary Ellen Giacobbe,  I understand why Mrs. Wyatt models her drawing with the children and talks about what she is drawing and describes every detail of her drawing.  This helps the young children become familiar and comfortable with sketching and also stems conversation and interaction with the students.  They learn that drawing represents meaning and understanding.  Drawing gives children a voice.  “Drawing is a way for children to be heard. A student who has difficulty recognizing letters, perhaps even the letters in his or her name, can often draw what he knows, thinks, and feels.” p.61

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I always support my young writers drawings because drawing is an essential part of writing for young children.  Above, we have two students at a drawing center filled with interesting pencils and crayons, books and paper.  More important is that we provide time to draw daily.  At this table the two students can communicate and share about their drawings.

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6 thoughts on “Kindergarten Students Understand What it Means to be a Writer

  1. Michelle Todd says:

    I like how you are encouraging your students to write their own stories. It is exciting that they are becoming more intentional about the choices they make with regards to writing. I love the space men. I’m glad to see that Kinders like them too. You have such way with words that make everyone feel at ease. You gave words of affirmation to the students about their drawings. Some students just don’t feel that their drawings or writings are as good as everyone else. You have a way of making everyone feel worthy.

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  2. brandireedy says:

    You have such a way with words when you talk with the students in our school. I find myself constantly listening to you and even thinking how would Mrs. Jackie say this. Your words give your young writers encouragement and power. They are constantly inspired to write because you believe in them and they know that. I love the fact that you draw their attention to the idea of it not being important what others think. Your reflection this week also touches on something that we are incorporating as we look at what authors do. We are paying attention to detail and how the author connects their ideas with pictures as well.

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  3. edwardsroxanne says:

    We are currently reading a novel by C.S.Lewis in sixth grade. One of the writing activities I incorporate is a choice of an essay question or drawing a character or scene from the chapter. At first, the students mostly wanted to draw because they thought it would be “easier.” Since I always have the students share their efforts in small groups, they are being held accountable by their peers. This is so funny to me! Of course they care much more about what their peers think, so their quality of work has improved since it has to pass the “peer test” first. They almost always go back and add to their drawings after having these discussions. I have found that when they do answer the essay questions, they are more thoughtful if they have first drawn a picture.

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  4. Hannah Brady says:

    I love that you all are encouraging drawing and creativity! Drawing is one of the very first “written” ways that kids begin to express themselves, and I hate that it is stifled when they begin to have perceptions of “good” and “bad” drawing. I love how you answer them when they ask about the quality of their drawing. Confidence is a big thing to try to build in kinder-land but I know Mrs. Jackie sure helps!!

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  5. bethabuchholz says:

    You implicitly address an important question here: What do we say when children ask whether an illustration is “good” or whether they spelled something the “right” way. Often we are quick to jump in with our own pencil, correcting spelling or even showing children how an illustration might be improved, but this doesn’t actually HELP a child get better at conveying his/her own meaning. In a way, by jumping in we are preventing the child from truly learning. Your simple response of, “Is that what a fish looks like to you?,” models the kind of language we want and need to use with our youngest learners. We must help them learn to be confident language users who can use words and pictures to convey meaning. We want children to begin looking at their own drawings and asking, “Does this look like a fish? How might a learn to do this better?” and then to know how to really look at a mentor text/drawing to revise their writing/drawing.

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