When 1 Door Closes….Another One Opens

WOW! Time does fly when you’re having fun!!! I have been so blessed to have been a part of this masters cohort. I find it bittersweet to reminisce over the last two years as I know this is the end of something phenomenal in my life. However, the end of this program is only the beginning of the rest of my career as a reading/writing teacher. I find it difficult to express the change that has happened in myself as a teacher and my students. There have been so many opportunities for change and growth that I couldn’t possibly put them all into words. With that being said, I do have to say that is what I am most proud of! I am proud of the change in myself as a teacher. I am grateful for all the resources, tools, and learning experiences that I have had which have made me a better teacher of reading and writing. I have a completely different outlook on writing myself which has directly affected the way that I view writing instruction in my classroom. I am now confident in the writer that I have become and I hope to never lose sight of this confidence. I have seen that this confidence over flowed into my students and what a powerful transformation that has caused in them!! They are only 4 but my goodness they are writing and reading and yes they are ONLY 4!!!! Proud, Amazed, and Inspired are words to best describe the reaction I have to their growth. They have proven that writing and reading instruction is needed and should be demanded at the very earliest experiences in school. They have proven to myself, themselves, other teachers, and their parents that they are ALREADY READY when taught in a developmentally appropriate fashion. Their growth over the last two years has been something that I will always hold on to and remember when hope seems lost. This experience will be the ammunition that I need to stand up to others when they say “they are only 4, they aren’t ready for that”. I am thankful that I have the data, the documentation, and the knowledge to prove them wrong. I believe in my students and I know if I can prove to my future students that I believe in them, they will prove to me that they are capable of learning.

Going forward I have no choice but to keep this flame going. I must press on for my future students that deserve the same chances as these students. I will continue to introduce writing and phonics instruction in my classroom. I will continue to have faith in my students, but also in myself as their teacher. I will be their model for writing and from me they will take confidence and soar. I want my future students to gain what these students were able to take with them and a little bit more. With time and practice using these strategies in my classroom, it is my desire to only see my students continue to benefit from what I have learned. I didn’t gain this degree for myself, but for my students! They are the ones that deserve the chance to change how the world views them. They have the right to be 4, but more importantly they have the right to be 4 year old authors and viewed as such by others. I will continue to engage my students in an environment rich in print. They will be referred to as writers and illustrators in my classroom. They will have the opportunity to experiment with writing without judgement or pressure. I believe that these classes have given us the opportunity to be better leaders for tomorrow. We can and we will be better educators that now value the importance of writing instruction at all levels and genres. It is my hope that this will spark a flame that will spread throughout our school, community, and into surrounding areas. I hope that we can make a difference through the work we do in our classrooms. I want to inspire others to be bold in their teachings and interactions with their students. I want others to see what these children are capable of and what they are ready for. I want to be part of the cohort that changed education for the future!! I hope you will join us!!

Are They Ready?

 

 

It’s all in the details

This week we continued our quest of adding details to pictures. This focus was intentional over the last several weeks as I wanted to encourage my students to connect their pictures to their drawings. I wanted them to be able to provide more details with their writing through the use of pictures. They are 4 so their writing, while progressing, is not able to describe fully a picture.

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I have to say this week was the first week that I was able to see noticeable progress in their drawings. They were all very successful in adding details across many projects and free writing activities. I have chosen to highlight for you an activity that they were all encouraged to participate in some way. We have been creating class books based on activities, themes, or author studies. This book was written with the book Brown Bear Brown Bear by: Eric Carle in mind. They each picked a classmate in the class that they saw looking at them and then proceeded to draw their pictures. We have been studying details and what kinds of things we can do to make our pictures tell a story. I have also been focusing their attention toward including all the necessary parts or items. For instance when drawing people we have been looking beyond their head, trunk, legs, and arms. I did not give them any prompting other than to read the sentence on the page for them. I wanted drawing to be the focus of this activity so their writing in this activity was minimal. They have had other opportunities to write throughout the week but their progress was too extraordinary in this activity to miss. IMG_1257[1](it is difficult to see in the picture but Daniel is pointing out the eyelashes and eyebrows he drew for Lilly in his picture.)

As they thought of the person’s name they wanted to write in the blank they then began to think about what that person looks like, what kinds of things they like, and how they dress. They began to think about what color their eyes, hair, and skin is without prompting. They dug down deeper and added even more details such as ten fingers on each hand, and ten toes on each foot. they added eye lashes, and eye brows. My favorite, and perhaps the most descriptive detail was yellow teeth. Abby said “I’m coloring her teeth yellow because she’s still at home and she hasn’t brushed them yet”.

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This activity really demonstrated how they are progressing in their ability to connect thoughts to paper. Becoming a more in tune illustrator is part of the process to becoming a great writer after all. These two little boys below make my heart swell knowing that they have gone from drawing just scribbles on the page to being confident enough in their abilities to create a recognizable picture of a person…with details!!

I’m just going to go blog about it, ok?!?

I was probably one of the most reluctant writers on our blog at the beginning of the semester. When the idea of writing “professionally” for our peers in our class was brought up I immediately began to let fear take over. Then there was an add on of writing for administrators, or possibly other teachers, and then I shut my brain off telling myself, “you can’t do this”. I am happy to say that I pushed through those fears because blogging has changed the way I view myself as a writer, my approach to teaching writing in my classroom, and the way I view my students as writers.

It sounds exaggerated to say that blogging could do these things, but I am proof that writing for others strengthens, changes, and fosters the writers within us. I now thoroughly enjoy writing our blogs because it has become a platform in which I can showcase my students growth. We have so much to be proud of in our students, but rarely do we have a stage to highlight them on. I have enjoyed sharing with other teachers just how hard the students in my classroom work, and what they have learned. They have learned so much more than even I thought possible in writing before changing my view of the writers in my classroom. They too have grown a love for writing and are so excited to share their writing with others. I am constantly hearing phrases such as “every good writer always signs their name”, “can you please make more books we are out”, or “can I have a stapler because I made my own book”. These phrases are music to my ears. Looking back at the beginning of the semester I can honestly say I wasn’t sure we would actually make it to this point. I felt confident in the fact that they would grow, and they would produce writing but they have blown my expectations out of the water. I stumbled across the first blog I ever posted describing my confidence in them. The title, Every Good Writer Began In Preschool!, is an immediate reminder that no matter the age, with a little confidence a good writer is born. They grew more as a writer than I thought possible by the end of preschool and I couldn’t be more blessed to have been a part of their journey.

Personally, I can’t find words to adequately describe my writing adventure with the blog. Opening the window to my classroom with this form of writing has forced me to closely examine individual students, and tailor my instruction to better meet their needs. I have found this to be one of the most useful strategies for focusing on growth related to teaching methods across time. The ability to look immediately at what has been taught and the direct effect on my students has been beneficial to me. More than that I have enjoyed reading collective what my peers are doing in their respective classrooms, and how their students are responding. I have found myself craving this and spending hours reading other preschool teachers blogs as a result of writing in this way. I love sharing ideas with others and trying out their successes in my own classroom.

Looking back through my writings over this semester I reminisce on their growth and the changes that I see in them as writers. I must also be honest and say that I have also grown and changed as a teacher of writing. Being able to read back over the effort that was poured out into my students has been one of my favorite aspects of the blog. If I chose a recap of the semester I would point you to reading, Bittersweet. This blog depicts all the things that I never saw possible before the blog. I would have never attempted a whole group writing lesson, I wouldn’t have imagined that they could stay focused and engaged for 14 minutes, and I wouldn’t have thought that I would see this much growth in my students. Blogging has made all this possible, writing a blog didn’t teach me things I needed to be a better teacher of aspiring writers, but it did teach me how to be an effective teacher of writing. I am now able to better tailor writing instruction for my students as I view their progress over time. All in all, I am a confident writer, who now enjoys sharing with colleagues.

Bittersweet

 

Prepare for picture overload this week!!

As an early childhood educator I have the privilege of teaching the youngest of learners. I have the blessing of watching as their face light up as they learn new things. However, I am also faced with the dreadful end of the year!! I know my coworkers reading this are now thinking…WHAT, there is NOTHING dreadful about the END of a school year!!!!

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For me as a preschool teacher I dread the end, not because I’m not ready for summer break, but because teaching young children is such a magical experience that I don’t want to end. It is absolutely amazing what they can learn in a short period of time. This week is proof that the end is near.

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I have watched my students grow and change in so many ways, but I have been completely blown away particularly by their growth in literacy development and writing. I set out on a journey at the beginning of this semester to grow aspiring authors and illustrators. I had it in my mind in order to do this I would increase their stamina, confidence and create opportunities for writing instruction on their level. Guess what….

IT WORKS!!!! This week I have proof that hard work and dedication pays off no matter the age of the child! As we were in the middle of our large group meeting, I was conducting my daily writing instruction. I knew immediately it was going to be something worth while so I quickly turned on my camera (for our assignment this week), and let me tell you I’m glad I captured this moment!!! The author that you see hard at work in this clip is one that has been very reluctant because she didn’t believe in herself as a writer. I have noticed that she began to observe and engage with the two students who write the most in our room recently. It is amazing what their peers can bring out in them!

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She is proof that everything I’ve been doing this semester was not in vain. She had been making random strings of letters but never before this attempted to sound out any words. She had never drawn a picture that connected to text. Today she also landed us right in the middle of a talk about details in pictures. She came up with ideas about how to make it clear to the reader what was in her pictures on her own.

I could go on and oun about how proud I am of her, and my other students, but I will let you just watch their interactions from our large group time together. You can hear them encouraging her, helping her, and adding ideas. I wish I would have been able to show them all during this time so you could see their engagement, but I think you will still be able to join in the moment from the clip below. The password is abc

 

Excitement in the Unexpected

Whew what a crazy time in the land of the littles it has been these past two weeks!!! When I say crazy I really do mean CRAZY! My class was hit hard by the flu which affected all but 2 of my students and my assistant.  Any time there is a new face in my room it sets us into a whirl wind. Then this week we have had 2, two hour delays and sickness still running its course in our room. We would finally appear to be out of the woods and then out of no where “clean up In room 421”! The nurse got her fair share of us for Year all in the last two weeks.

With all of that being said we had a very busy and active time writing. Our focus has been on paying attention to details in writing and drawing, making the connections between the two, and creating a theme for writing. I had high hopes to get more accomplished including a board to display work, but things don’t always go as planned.

When things don’t go as expected you have to back up and try something else. This is exactly where I found myself this week. Reality didn’t allow for my expectations and that was ok, in fact I found that it was better than ok. We had a great time celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and St. Patrick’s Day, as a tribute to these events our writing was centered around ideas focused on a similar theme.

 

My students embraced writing in new and exciting ways this week. With paper under the tables and writing materials spread around they were encouraged to lay on their backs and write under the tables. They were also prompted to lay on the floor and write collaboratively on one large piece of paper. While this sounds like a normal day in preschool it would be except they were encouraged to write words telling about their drawings. They were also prompted to include more details in their pictures after telling me what they were drawing/writing about. They were inspired by all the writing we were down and I noticed them doing new things with words that I hadn’t observed before. I found two girls working in the writing center with the keyboards typing letters. They were sounding out words like cat and typing them. Preslie: “lets type about cats! Cat /c/, that’s C! /a/, that’s A! And /t/, that’s t!.” She proceeded to find the corresponding letters on the keyboard saying, “there now we have a title, cat”. It’s such a wonderful feeling when hard work is shown through the prof of growth in your students!

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I wrapped things up feeling a little bit like a teacher that had planned above the ability of my kids. They were encouraged to write on the prompt of “wishes granted by a leprechaun”. They had 6 pieces of paper and had to write out 6 wishes that they would request if they caught a leprechaun. I remember saying to myTA as we were working on this activity, “this really is probably over their heads”. After two weeks of craziness in my classroom, just being honest for a minute I was tired, and really just didn’t think about the skill level of the activity.

My kids always blow me out of the water at the most unexpected times. This activity was no different!!! Webster doesn’t even have the words to express the excitement and pride I found in the writing of my students this week!!! I found prof that our focus on their writing has really paid off and I couldn’t be more proud of them! They wrote words that made sense and they were able to sound them out by themselves. They were also able to sound out their words to read them back to me for dictation. I looked at this activity, that I expected to be a flop, with tears in my eyes as I was astonished by their growth in such a short amount of time. Things don’t always go as planned, but the plan that’s meant to be still works out!

It all begins with 1

I knew exactly what I needed to do this week after reading a section on the importance of drawing connected to reading. In the book Talking, Drawing, Writing; Lessons for our youngest writers Martha Horn & Mary Ellen Giacobbe point out the importance that drawing has on a child’s connection with writing. I had failed some of my students in the are a of drawing and using illustrations as a method of story telling. I always began drawing with the phrase “Mrs. Brandi is not an artist so please don’t laugh at her drawings”. This was the complete opposite of the words I needed to be using. You see if we don’t have confidence in ourselves as educators how are we to instill this in our students? After all they are only 4, who cares if I can draw a dog like the one in the book. They needed to receive confirmation that they are amazing and wonderful authors but also illustrators.

I had been seeing writing taking place all over the classroom this week as I introduced even more materials in the classroom. However, there was still 1 child that stuck out to me and never approached these materials. Carter, an extremely active boy that loves monster trucks and playing in the dirt. He didn’t have time to stop playing and write….or so I thought. I began introducing an activity during our circle time routine where they could draw a picture of anything they wanted and then we would work together to write a word describing their picture on the smart board. He was called to give this a try after the 2nd day of watching his peers. He flourished!!! I had never once seen him write at all and each time he was encouraged to even draw a picture he would immediately become overwhelmed. He would sit and wiggle in his chair saying “I don’t know how to draw that” it was agonizing for him to draw or even write in any form of letter formation. His friends all clapped and cheered as he drew his pictures and wrote a word on the smart board. His face immediately glowed with a beautiful smile and his eyes lit up with pride.

As a teacher this would be enough for the week but it gets even better! Carter began to engage with the writing materials and was drawing pictures. He sat down with my TA and engaged in a small prompted writing activity and for the first time all year he drew his picture without hesitation and talked about all the features of the monster truck that drove into his mitten. He then wrote the words without fear or even asking for help. This was HUGE for him!! He was making the connections with letters and letter sounds as he would identify letters and talk to his peers about what sound they made, but had never attempted to write them without assistance.

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This sparked excitement in his friends as he cheerfully showcased his work. They began to write more and more this week. I noticed that there were more times that they were writing during center time than they were actually playing. We have been having 1 student per week to finish a book, however, this week on one particular day I looked up front and there was an entire line of books waiting to be shared during circle time. This is a picture of what stamina in preschool looks like. They are interested in doing something, they are excited to share with their peers, and they are choosing to do this independently. More importantly they are beginning to increase how much writing they are doing and sharing. Tune back in next week as we shift the focus now from just pictures in our books to taking what we are practicing whole group and applying it to our books. They will be encouraged to begin drawing a picture and writing a word that connects with their picture.

Facebook Worthy

The more you practice anything in life the better you get. You learn the trade and what it takes to make you better. You build confidence and overtime even stamina. Writing is no different in this way.

However, writing with 4 year olds seems like a foreign concept to unbelievers. Those who haven’t stepped foot in an early childhood classroom, or those who haven’t spent any time with young children learning to read and write, often have difficulty believing it is possible. My students surprise me constantly with what they are able to do. This week I witnessed an increase in confidence and stamina. My students were writing all over the classroom every time I turned around. If they were in a center that didn’t have paper they were asking for some so they could write. There is no question in my mind that this is exactly what stamina looks like in 4 year olds.

So many positive inspiring moments came from my students this week. I hope you will share their joy as you witness their growth and excitement in learning to do something new. If you remember Lilly from last year my student who struggles socially I know this will touch your heart. Lilly created a book in the writing center independently. She sat cutting her own paper, flipping and folding the pages just right until she was finally happy with it. She brought it to me with illustrations on every page and wanted it to be stapled. She said “I gotta make book little red riding hood”. She worked intently for 30 minutes and the read me her finished product. Lilly couldn’t have been more excited to share her story of little red riding hood with her peers. The book had no words, but as I mentioned last week that’s not what is important. Before you view the video allow me to preface it with telling you that one of Lilly’s goals is that she will be able to answer questions and retell stories. This is a goal that we have been working toward for a year and a half now. That’s all you need to be inspired!

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I want to end my recount of this week in the kitchen center. Imagine two children, Daniel and Abby pretend playing restaurant together. They are cooking me food and as I ask for a menu they tell me they will need to make one. They immediately get to work creating menus of the food they will serve. I did not help them with the invented spellings at all, these menus were created completely independently. I was making a menu of my own while they were writing and you will see on Abby’s she copied the word egg but everything else they wrote. You will see the words toast, mustard, green beans, pickle, apples, bean, grapes, and oranges. I was mesmerized by their writing and found myself snapping pictures and asking questions when all of a sudden Daniel spoke up and said “wait let me smile”. I took the picture he wanted and he immediately said “will you please send this to my mom so she can put it on Facebook? I want everyone to see how good I am getting at writing”!!! Brings tears to my eyes to watch them light up with pure joy just by learning how to do something “adults and big kids” do.

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Plans are made to be changed

Sometimes as I sit back and watch my little ones I am caught in the moment of their curiosity and engagement, so much so that I miss what’s taking place right under my nose. 

I had all these big plans for writing instruction this week, and I couldn’t wait to hit the floor running. My students, however, had just returned from a 4 day weekend,on Valentine’s Day none the less, and then we had 3 more days that were here and gone before I knew it!! Needless to say I was very disappointed that things did not go according to MY plans. 

The joy of teaching in a primary grade is teaching in the moment, and while my original plan was not what happened, I still had room to rejoice in what did happen this week. I found that my students were still excited about the blank pages that had been so simply stapled together to create a book. I found more and more of my students engaged in the writing center wanting to create books just like their peers. They began to work together and share their stories in pairs or small groups, which maintained the high interest in this activity. My overall goal was achieved!! I had originally planned for them to begin sharing their books with their peers during large group time to spark interest in other students. This plan didn’t quiet work out with our hectic schedule and their engagement levels during large group. 

img_08181The blessing in disguise came from how my students grew this week by just interacting with one another and freely exploring writing. No pressure, no help, just 4 year olds and their writing tools, in a preschool classroom writing and drawing just like the “big kids” do. I was blown away by the amount of books that were made. The more books they made the more I also saw their understanding of how books work, what authors do, and print concepts increase. They began using paper, scissors, tape, and staples to create their own books. As their curiosity gravitated toward what authors and illustrators do, creative energy began to explode in their own writing. img_08371

I was approached this week by a student that previously, I mistakenly said was one of my “lower” students. I don’t think that was the right term to use because this child is absolutely brilliant! This mistake was made because I was comparing her alphabet knowledge to that of her peers. This child is writing far better than any other child in my classroom! She is also now writing more than any other child in my classroom. She is constantly sitting with a letter strip trying to spell out words and write to create things for others. This leads me to what stopped me in my tracks this week. Hold on to your to hats because you’re about to be blown away as well. I was busy interacting with students in the art center and I felt a tap on my shoulder. This same child had pulled together her own paper and stapled it to create a book of her own. She then created beautifully colored pictures on every page. As a teacher focusing on writing for graduate work I immediately said “oh those are beautiful pictures lets go see if I can help you write about them”. So we flip through the pages and each time I try to get her to tell me what she wants to say about the pictures she just shrugs her shoulders. I tell her to think about it and I’ll be back. A few minutes later she comes to me and again shows me the pictures. I said “oh are you ready to write about those pictures? What do you want to say about them?”. Here comes the realization that I was missing something as her teacher…. she said “but Mrs. Brandi, not every book needs words. They can just be a picture book and still tell a story”!!! Wow!!!!!!! I was completely missing what was happening right under my nose! She was engaging in print and learning about the features img_08381of books and how the pictures tell a story! She was right she could absolutely tell a story using just pictures and she would have something brilliant to share with her peers! Each week as I dig in deeper with my students building their stamina for writing I find that they have something to teach me in return. 


I am glad I just went with the flow this week and tossed my original plan out the window to follow their lead. After all aren’t plans made to be changed?

Inspiration begins with I!

Everything that happens in a classroom begins with a teacher that says “I believe in you”. This statement is the basis for my process in the classroom this week. I have been reading in Already Ready about the magic behind adding blank books to preschool classrooms. I was hesitant to try this because I wanted to inspire them to become great writers rather than intimidate and turn them away.

My little writers always end up being the ones who inspire in img_0770my classroom and this week was no different. Early in the week we incorporated daily story telling. I could not contain their excitement during this time, they were all dying to share their story. The idea was introduced and they immediately began volunteering to share. This form of oral story telling incorporation was only the beginning of the excitement for the week. IMG_0778.JPG

Thursday the magic began in the writing center! I simply placed two baskets on a table in the writing center. The first basket was filled with picture books we had read aloud, the second basket contained new pencils along with blank pages stapled together to make books. I made the announcement that there was something. new in the writing center but they were not at all interested in even seeing what was there. I realized that inspiration does begin with “I” at which point I realized I needed to give them some form of inspiration to visit the writing center. There were two children in the literacy center looking at books. I decided to start with them, what a better place to gain inspiration for writing than in a center filled with books. 

These two girls joined me in the writing center and became immediately over joyed as we talked about what authors do, and they realized that they would be the authors of these books. We used the books on the table to talk about what stories needed and how good authors claim their work with their name. 

They were so very proud of themselves. One child wanted to read her’s to her peers. The other one continually said “we can make these books and sell them like authors do. We will make a lot of money”. They worked diligently on their books and couldn’t wait to read them back to me. Their dedication to making these books was outstanding. I wasn’t expecting them to create a finished product, but they did!IMG_0773.JPG

This was my trial run for what I plan to continue into next week as we work to increase their interest in writing, and building stamina in this skill area as well. I have a video of these two girls reading their books I wish I could share here. It is absolutely priceless to hear them as they excitedly read their books that they have written and illustrated. Check back next week to see how these books are influencing their engagement with writing. I can’t wait to see what happens as they begin to share their stories they are writing during circle time, and how they will in turn inspire each other to become authors. I originally thought that the I in inspiration would begin with me, but I quickly saw that it begins with them!

Melts in their Mouth, but not in their Hands

My students came back from Christmas break not really interested in the writing center, or writing in general. It is as if their writing is in the form of oral storytelling and going no further.  Their words are melting in their mouth but not in their hand. This is important as we all know, but now I want their words to begin to melt from their hand and not just their mouth. So I have decided that in our study to become more like writers we will need to….you guessed it, explore what it is that writers do. We will be looking particularly at ways to build stamina and with that comes figuring out that writer’s writer over time, and all the time.

Friday we celebrated the 100th day of school in all of its glory. We had celebrations, counted to 100, and looked at what 100 items would look like in a line. I am not sure if it was insanity or pure genius to plan writing activities on this day, but we discovered our first success story wrapped up in the chaos from our “100 day olds” today. Please excuse me in my grey hair and granny clothes, but do take time to soak in their cuteness.IMG_0612[1].JPG

 

We have been learning about Munching Mike from letterland and the glorious letter M. Munching Mike is known to munch mouthfuls contentedly which is exactly what brought out our writing prompt. What a better food to tie in the letter M and counting to 100 than M&M’s!! We discovered today that writers begin to write by finding something that they enjoy or want to lIMG_0629[1].JPGearn more about. We decided that we would be writing about something we enjoy because we already knew that M&M’s were colorful, delicious, and round and that is all we needed to know about them. We popped them in our mouths and began munching away. We took notes of what we were discovering with our senses. We created a chart of attributes together on the board. All the words you see written here are theirs. I added nothing and took away nothing. They really enjoyed talking about the M&M’s and were very descriptive, I must say I was impressed with their word choices. If you can recall my student from the end of the semester last year you can rejoice with me in knowing that she added the thought that M&M’s were “round like a moon in the sky at night-time”!!!!!

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We took our descriptions and began to write and draw with assistance. I know they have written enough that I could just let them go somewhere in the room and write, but I wanted to begin this exploration of writing with a purpose. I feel like the best way to make sure they are successful is to scaffold their learning through this process. I hope that as we continue to build stamina over the course of this semester they will be independently writing something, even if it is just one word. They sat with me as they wrote their favorite thing about M&M’s. I assisted with pointing to lines and giving guidance such as what letter do you think the word “like starts with”. They enjoyed the writing almost as much as they enjoyed the tasting potion of this activity. It became more concrete in my mind that stamina is a place to focus our goals for this semester as they required a lot of encouragement and motivation to write their thoughts down on paper. They also would become distracted and forget what they were writing while trying to write one word. They needed the support to guide them through this writing activity.They were still yet blowing me away as they were connecting prior knowledge to their writing. As I worked with one particular student she knew what letter she needed to write next, but she said “I don’t know what that letter looks like can I get my alphabet strip?”. We have been playing a game learned from last semester with Dr. Gill where I write a letter and they try to guess it while I am writing. When they think they know the letter they have to track the alphabet and prove it is that letter. She proceeded to get her strip and track the letters beginning with “A” until she found the letter she needed. IMG_0676.JPG They impress me constantly!!  While it’s obvious that the scaffolding is necessary, their interactions with the writing in general affirm what I am reading they are truly “Already Ready”.

As I recap my thoughts on this week and the success my students had with writing, I found myself back at the drawing board nailing down my ideas on what a focused goal for my classroom would look like. I began this semester with great ambitions and ideas for my students, however, it wasn’t until this week that I understood exactly the path to travel down. In selecting a focus for writing with my 4-year-old students I wanted to make sure that it was developmentally appropriate, focused, and intentional in such a way that it would direct them toward success. After exploring writing this week with them I found that they do love to write and share ideas as long as I am the one writing.  During large groups they have a lot to contribute orally. They are even effective in helping to sound out words and telling me what letters I need to write. They have the knowledge but then when they take it to their seat and we begin to write they immediately say “I don’t know how to write” or “I don’t know what to write”. I learned that our focus for the semester will come from those comments. We will gear our instruction toward looking at what good authors do in relation to writing texts. They will see that writing takes place over time, and that it is ok to begin a piece and finish it later. We will be increasing our stamina and adding a writing activity each day. This goal is to encourage them to write more as we go along in this process no matter if it is a single word, or a string of words. I want their writing to not melt in their mouths but flow from their hands without fear of judgement or doing it “right”. With this in mind we begin our writing with a little fun, join us next time to see where this journey is leading.

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