I think the two chapters I read this week in Martha Horn & Mary Ellen Giacobbe’s Talking, Drawing, Writing, Lessons for Our Youngest Writers, are my favorite ones so far. The first chapter talked about “Writing Words”. It started out talking about how on the first day of school and each day thereafter, teachers and students together compose messages and “share the pen” as they put words on paper. It said they may write text and / or label a mural in the classroom, title a bulletin board, write letters or thank-you notes, or list guidelines about how they will work in their room. They showed examples of a label on a bulletin board filled with environmental print done during interactive writing, A thank-you note to the principal done during interactive writing (all the children signed their names on it) and Class rules written as a list done during interactive writing where all the children signed their names saying “We can do it”. (Horn & Giacobbe’s 2007, pp. 97-98)
I learned a lot about teaching children that there is a relationship between the words they say and the letters they put on the page. In kindergarten, we teach the children to listen for sounds in words and then how to put text on the page. By modeling this, the children see us working on our sentences and illustrations. I use words like “let me show you what I mean”, “First you think of the word you want to write for my picture that will tell something about it. We teach them how to say the word slowly, stretching the sounds and blending them together especially listening for the sound at the beginning. If they can’t remember how to write a letter, I remind them to look at the alphabet chart. Then I say, “today as you write, here’s what I want you to think about as you write,” and then I “share the pen”. The book if full of lesson plans for all of the above and more. I know it sounds elementary to some of you but, I needed this book.
Chapter 6 dealt with assessment. This tool will help me in my up-coming research study in another class as well as this class. It talked about looking closely at students’ writing at a time separate from our work directly with them allows us to see each child clearly and think more deeply about him or her. Wow! Secondly, naming what we see, we begin to generate a common language for what craft means in five-, six-, and seven- year old’s writing. Some of you may feel comfortable with this, but I am not used to doing it. I will attach a shared copy of The Cumulative Writing Record (CWR) that list what an individual child knows about craft and conventions of writing at any given point, as well as documentation of what you plan to teach as a result. (p. 127)
Lastly, I will share a video of some of my students this week sharing their writings.