My first graders are continuing on their journey to become good writers.   We have learned that writers need lots of tools to do their best work.  We know that writers use markers, pens, pencils, crayons, folders, paper, etc….This week we learned about a huge tool that we need as writers.  Sometimes, to get our thinking going, writers talk with other writers.  We need company.  We need a writing friend, or two.  We call this special writing friend – our writing partner.

Prior to our writing lessons this week, I divided the class into partnerships.  I considered ability levels, friendships, and behavior issues to form our mixed-ability partnerships.  Since I have an odd number of students, we have one threesome.  We call these our “Peanut Butter and Jelly Writing Partners”. The students got to decide in their group who was peanut butter and who was jelly.  Surprisingly, no arguing.  The students were super excited about having partners.

This week we are continuing to write narratives.  In our lessons, we have explored mentor texts that include speech bubbles and thought bubbles, so I challenged my students to consider how they might include one of these in their writing.

Here are some pictures of the students meeting with their partners to discuss what they will write on each page of their blank books.  The students were told to tell their partners what they planned to write about and to point to each page in the book and share what they will write on each page.  This is a strategy from Lucy Calkins’ Unit of Study, “Small Moments: Personal Narrative Writing”.




Some of the students volunteered to share their writing plans with the class. Here are Lillian and Sage’s videos of their writing plans.

IMG_1949Lillian’s Video   IMG_2210Sage’s Video

Even though some partners did not give feedback on how to make the writing better, they all listened intently to each other about what was being planned.  All the students understood the concept and wrote a personal narrative: small moment story.  Later this same day students shared their rough drafts and we had a whole class sharing time to give feedback.  We found out that some students did not add all the great details that they planned to include in their story.

Here are a few videos from the whole class sharing session.

Add a “thought bubble”                 Did you include that?

Lillian did add a speech bubble that showed how loud she was crying when the nurse pulled her out from under the chair to get her flu shot.  Sage added a thought bubble to show the strategy he had for his team winning the big game.  These are just a few examples but all the students were able to include at least one thought or speech bubble.

I’ve enjoyed reading through some units of study for first grade and being able to incorporate these into my lessons.









2 thoughts on “Forming Writing Partnerships

  1. Michelle,
    I really like the writing partners idea. I think it really works as a powerful tool of sharing,and getting feedback from each other. I love the pics of them close together sharing their writings with each other.


  2. What a powerful post that includes words, pictures, and video to take readers into the heart of writing time in your classroom. It’s hard to believe these are first graders! The video of Lillian sharing her writing plan by pointing at the pages and telling a story shows that young children CAN plan their writing and that this kind of talk before, during, and after writing is critical to the developmental process. Children must learn how to stretch out a story orally before they’re ready to apply the same ideas to paper.

    I LOVE the term “peanut & jelly partners”! I’m borrowing this. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s