I have continued to confer with students and offer feedback to improve their writing. I have also continued to give them time to share their writing. This week I started letting them share after snack which was an idea I stole from another teacher. (Thanks Michelle!) This time of day is an excellent way to wind down our day together. They really enjoy sitting in my teacher chair and reading their writing to the class. I hope they feel a sense of pride sitting in the “Author’s Chair”. We always clap for each other and I tell them what wonderful writers and illustrators they have become since the beginning of the year.
Me and Lance are best friends. We like to play football. We take turns being quarterback.
I have been reading About the Authors – Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers by Katie Wood Ray with Lisa B. Cleaveland. This book contains lots of ideas for minilessons, but the authors stress that a lot of minilessons are taught based on the needs of the students. Ideas for minilessons come from what the teacher sees in the students’ daily writing. This is what I did this week. I noticed what my students were doing (or not doing) in their writing and taught minilessons this week. One was on making sure they write the date on their work. Another was remembering to use capitals and periods. Still another was making sure to use spaces between words.
I was presented a chance to teach a minilesson about where authors get their ideas. Bob wrote a story titled Fires. It was about a topic that was disturbing. Some teachers might not have allowed him to share it with the class, but I did.
- page 1: Fires title page
- page 2: fire low fire burning kids
- page 3: fire big fire
- page 4: Four kids are dying cause of the big fire.
- page 5: The mom and dad lived in the fire. They wanted their kids to die. I feel sorry for them.
- page 6: The End
As he was reading his book to the class, I heard comments such as “Did that really happen?”, “That’s awful!”, “I just about cried.” and “Why did you write that?”. I stepped in and told my first-graders that writers get their ideas from many places. Writers may write about something that happened in their daily lives, a special memory, family, friends, a special event, a special place, pets, a historical moment, other books or just from sitting at a park and watching people. I explained that Bob got his idea from a show he watched on t.v. I went on to say that not every book has a happy ending. Some writers may choose to write a sad story. I talked with my students about the idea that stories can be silly, happy, scary, funny, sad, fiction or non-fiction. It was up to the writer as to what kind of story he or she wanted to write. They nodded in agreement then proceeded to discuss with someone beside them the type of writing they like to write. I will be curious to see if I have any more sad stories written in the near future. Since it was at the end of the day, I had Bob leave his book so we could talk about fixing capitals at the beginning of sentences, periods at the end of sentences and possible spelling errors.
After a phone call to his parents to confirm what Bob told me, he did indeed get his idea from a show he watched with his mom called Snapped. This is a true-crime reality series. What he saw and heard on this show had a lasting impact on him and he was compelled to write this book. It was a topic that mattered to him and I would never want to make him feel that his ideas are not worthy to be put into a book.