Yes, I know it is not Christmas. I am just so excited and a little bit shocked about how well my week went. I have been reading, Talking, Drawing, Writing for our Youngest Writers by Mary Ellen Giacobbe and Martha Horn for the past three weeks. I have also been trying to reach my semester goal of having my kindergarten students write stories independently and as a class. I have been deeply immersed in the first part. Last week we took a journey through different Three Bears stories as well as beginning to share stories orally.
This week I was able to start working with students to write down some stories. This process has been very eyeopening.
To begin with, the rest of my students received new drawing and writing story journals, they made them personal with the use of stickers and markers. They thought this was so fun. They all have had a writing journal, but they were always semi-directed in their writing and each day they began something new. Stickers tend to make the even most simple activities exciting.
We did continue to share stories orally this week. We focused on naming our characters and giving a clear setting so the listener better understood the story. Many stories, even one of my own had a snow theme. These students who spoke on this theme, were encouraged to let us know as listeners were the story was taken place by using key words, (for example, snow, cold, wet and ice.)
On Thursday morning, I a created a story that they could relate to, based the chilly weather. I talked about adding more than one sentence to create a story that flowed together. I stressed about staying focused on finishing my thought and not writing about something that did not relate or make sense. Example, I can not talk about putting a puzzle together after the sentence, I zipped up my coat, because I am talking about my clothes, not games.
During centers, I pulled students who has already shared their story orally to the class and discussed with me whether or not it was a good story, to begin writing their story in their drawing and writing journal. They would tell me the first part of their story and then say to me what their first sentence would be. They would write it, then read it to me to see if it made sense. Each one of my students has a sight word strip and a name tag which has their color words and numbers. These were available to them when they wrote, along with the many words on our walls and in past morning messages that posted all over as well. The only helping with spelling I offered was with names. By the end of Thursday, five of my students had stories started. One about a pony, one about two crazy cats, one about a silly dog in an unlikely place, a visit to Paw Paws and a comedy about a baby and a friend named Dukie.
Miranda wrote three sentences her first day of writing. I thought it was a good stopping point to get her to illustrate a picture that matched. She wrote about a pony she used to have, the size it was and the color of it. Below is the video of her sharing with her friends. The password is abc.
Yes, my students say, “Bravo,” after we read poems or stories or anything in a group. They are so kind.
Overall, I am very pleased with how hard my students worked with this activity. I saw the very best handwriting, spelling and just pure positive motivation. It has been so rewarding to see smiling faces and students who are excited and taking ownership in their work.