They are writers!

I have some great videos of my students that I took this past week.  I am out of town and posting this on my phone, so I will load them later!  This week, I just let my students be creative and write whatever they wanted to write!

Some wrote stories, some made books, and some worked with friends on writing.  Now days, my students can not wait for writing time!  It is really pretty awesome that they have learned to like writing that much that they are asking if we can write earlier in the day!  They don’t want tol wait.

My students have become more confident and comfortable with writing.  They try to or do each other and argue over who gets to share each day.  Even the shyest students can’t wait to share.  I have never been really confident in my own writing so I guess I didn’t value it much before.  I can see that the more confident I have become and the more value I have put on writing, it has rubbed off on my students too.

 

Once upon a time…

This was a fun week in K-1!  This week, we read Fairy Tales.  I read several stories and we were also able to watch those same stories on the smart board!  My students really got into this unit.  I like to read the classics along with other versions of each story.  For example, we read “Three Little Pigs” the original version, the version were two of the pigs spend their money on potato chips and sody pop (therefore they only have enough money to build their out of straw and sticks), and a graphic novel version where the pigs come out of the story.  We also read and watched “The True story of the Three Little Pigs” as told by A. wolf!  This one was a hit.

This week we also read and watched several versions of Little Red Ridding hood, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  We had a lot of fun writing about these stories this week.  I was guilty of doing a writing prompt on Friday of this week, “Write about which story was you favorite”. I am trying not to do so many writing prompts.  But I found that the students wrote about these fairy tales everyday anyway.  They really enjoyed them and wanted to write all about their favorite parts.

I have really enjoyed seeing my students grow as writers this year.  They are becoming so confident in their writing and actually WANT to write.  We do our CAFE/Story time before MTSS and lunch followed by writing.  They often ask to skip MTSS groups so that they can write.

Writing as Teacher Leadership

 

   I have really enjoyed blogging this semester.  It is interesting to me to see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms.  I can see what is working and what is not, as well as get some great ideas and inspiration.   I think that we have all taken the approach as mentioned in the article “Writing as Teacher Leadership” of just telling the truth about all of our classrooms and experiences. We have all talked openly about our struggles and success.  We have talked about the decisions that we have made and the reasons why. 

 

   Both professionally and personally, blogging has made me think more about what I am doing in my classroom.  It makes me stop and think about if what I am doing is truly working, and if it is something that the students are enjoying.  I want my students to be successful because I want to show off how smart they are each week!  As mentioned in the article “There are things we wish to say and audiences we wish to address, and now, we are willing to take responsibility for that.”  (Whitney and Badiali pg.3)  I have been typing in my blog as if I am talking to teachers and letting them know what works.  When I say that a week has been crazy, everyone can relate!  I also think that by responding to each others blogs, we are able to give feedback and receive feedback that is useful to use as teachers. 

 

   Writing a blog can be looked at as a form of teacher leadership because we are giving each other so many ideas.  We are sharing resources and feedback with each as well.  I also look at my self as the leader of my classroom.  It is up to me to make my students successful and to reflect on my teaching (which this weekly blog requires me to do)  and change what might not be working.  If I inspire another teacher to try something, then that is even better!

 

   Blogging is just one way of sharing information with other teachers in a quick way, without having to meet face to face every week.  We are all busy, but have the time to read a short blog and be informed about what is going on in our professional learning community.  Blogging is a friendly and relaxed way of professional writing.  I was pretty intimidated when we first started, but I feel better about my blog each week!

 

Looking for Leprechauns

What a fun and crazy week in K-1!  This week, we have had two 2 hour delays, a full moon, the time change, and St. Patrick’s Day!  We have been so off schedule.  Even though the week has been crazy, I made sure to get reading and writing in each day.  Some days, we didn’t quite get all of our math in but I’m more of an ELA person!  We learned all about the history of St. Patrick’s Day as well as read fiction books about St. Patrick’s Day.  My students wrote about how to build Leprechaun traps this week, what they would do if they caught a Leprechaun, what they would do if they got his gold, etc.  At the end of the week, we made Leprechaun traps!   We are hoping to catch one so that we can get his gold.

Even though the week did not go as planned, we had a lot of fun.  We did fiction and non-fiction writing this week, and wrote letters to the Leprechaun!  I am planning  to continue with non-fiction reading and writing next week.  Next week, we will be learning about Spring.  We will use what we have learned to write an informative writing piece in the form of books.  My students will work collaboratively with a partner to produce a great book which they will then use to teach us all about spring.  I look forward to seeing what my students can produce!

 

  

And the special guest is…

This week we celebrated  Dr. Seuss’ birthday!  We read dr. Seuss books, watched dr. Seuss movies, and wrote all about dr. Seuss.

   This week I did do a little bit of writing to prompts. I want to my students to write about their favorite dr. Seuss book that we I want to my students to write about their favorite dr. Seuss book that we had read. But there was also plenty of time for free writing this week!
Most of the free writing of course was about Dr.seuss. The kids loved this unit so much I think we will probably continue it for one more week since next week is a short 4 day week.

   My goal for this week was to do as many writing conferences as I could. It’s something I try to do anyway but I was more mindful of it this week. I was also more mindful about the language I used with students while conferencing.  I said things like “tell me more about that” and “wow, I bet you could write more about that, I can’t wait to see what you write next” also “I like how you… but why don’t you try…”  My students really enjoyed the one on one time and telling me all about their story.  They really worked hard to improve their writing the next day, using the suggestions I shared.  I made sure to brag on them for improving their writing, which of course was a huge confidence booster!
   As a reward for working so hard all week, we had a special guest come and read us a book on Friday.  It was the Cat in the Hat!  This was a very exciting week for all of the kids.
Next week, I plan on going back to making books in my classroom.  They have loved making books!  I want to give my students the opportunity to write and share a silly story inspired by Dr. Seuss!

 

Books, Books, Books!

This week, we finally got back in the grove.  I was really excited to make books with my students and to see how creative their little minds would be.  On Monday, I let my students know that they would be making books this week and that they would get to be the author AND the illustrator!   They were a little unsure as to whether or not they could write an entire book.

We talked about how to brainstorm, I gave examples on the board, and students went back to their seats and started writing away.  They had so many ideas that it was hard for them to choose what they wanted to make a book about.  Students first wrote in their writing notebook, and then my assistant and I helped them edit what they had written until they felt like they had a good story.

After editing, they were able to transfer their story into a book.

I don’t think I had ever seen my students work so hard. Some had their books finished pretty quick and for some it took the whole week. Many of my students made several books throughout the week.

They were now proud authors!

I had several students asked me if I can add books to The Writing Center, which was my plan all along so I happily said “Of course I will.”  I also made sure this week that everyone got to share their book. Each child had a chance to get up in front of the class and read their book and show their illustrations. I had planned on letting a just few students share, but every one of them wanted to share.  Even the quietest student in the class was proud to get up and share his book!

Now for a few videos!

Overall, I think that writing this week went great!  My students learned a lot, they felt like proud writers, and I could not get them to stop making books!

 

 

Change of plans!

This has been one crazy week!  This is my first week back to school from maternity leave. It has been really hard coming to school and leaving my beautiful boy at home, but I get pictures of him throughout the day and can’t wait to get home everyday and kiss that sweet face!  My whole world has been changed for the better by our little miracle.  Even though coming back to school was hard, it did make me feel good to know that my students missed me so much. They have never given me so many hugs, they even had a countdown on the board until the day and came back, so sweet.

   Needless to say, with the excitement of me coming back to school, Valentine’s Day, it being a four-day week, and an assistant out with a sick child my plans of starting our books this week didn’t quite pan out.  We are going to start our books next week , I did tell them about the plan and they are very excited.
   We did a lot of free writing    this week, which my students loved. They kept saying “We can write about anything we want, really anything?” I have learned through all of my writing about Writers Workshop how important it is to let students choose what they write about. We will have writing prompts here and there, but I want to teach them to love writing and letting them write what they know about is one way to do that.
   Much of the writing this week was about their favorite teacher, Mrs. Davis!  What sweet students I have!  Writing time in Daily 5 also consisted of a lot of cards welcoming me back.  Below I have posted some pictures of writing time on Friday, most of the students chose to write about a book that we had read on this day.

Since my plans changed this week I also decided to take this opportunity to freshen up The Writing Center of daily 5 .  We added  notepads for making shopping list or other lists,  new paper to write on, glue and scissors (which they have not been allowed to use up until this point because they had previously made such a mess) and many other exciting new things. I am really excited to get started with their books next week and can’t wait to post pictures of the progress.

Getting geared up for Writer’s Workshop

I have been reading “About the Authors” by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa B. Cleaveland over the past few weeks.  As I read, I have been getting really excited about starting Writer’s Workshop in my classroom.  I have a view on how I want it to work, and look forward to seeing growth in my students.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have used Writer’s Workshop before and really liked it.  The first time that I used Writer’s Workshop was during my student teaching, 9 years ago!  Needless to say, I need a refresher.  As many other bloggers have stated, writing is often squeezed in and not made a priority.  I am guilty of this myself with all that we have to get done during the day.  We have a limited amount of time, and so many things that we are required to accomplish.

Chapter 4 in this weeks reading focuses on using the writing process to make books.  This chapter reminds me that writing is not about writing to prompts, it is an ongoing process.  It talks about “writing projects.”  I learned through this reading that writing should be thought of as a project.  We have a goal, such as making a book, then we must decide what we want to write about.  We brainstorm what ideas that we want to write about, then we make  draft, revise/edit, and finally publish.  Therefore, writing is an ongoing process in which we are constantly making our writing better.

I think that making a book would be a great project for my students.  We have made whole class books this year and my students really enjoy looking at them in the reading center.  A book is a great ongoing project that I think my students could learn a lot by completing.  Over the next few weeks, I would like to make this a project that we will complete!  I look forward to this project and posting great pictures and updates on how it is going!

 

Writers Workshop, just the beginning…

This week I have been reading “About the Author: Writing Workshop with our Youngest Writers” by Katie wood Ray and Lisa B. Cleveland. Writers Workshop is something I used in my student teaching and really enjoyed using. I did not learn about it in my college classes I learned about it as I was going by following the book while student teaching. We do not use Writers Workshop here in Alleghany County as a rule, but I really like the setup of Writers Workshop and want to use it in my class.

Chapter 1 focuses on The Writers Workshop and specifically on a first grade classroom that is getting ready to be tested on their writing. I want the ideas I’m letting students make their own book and this chapter tells us that making stuff is developmentally appropriate. It elaborates on the fact that children love to make books, projects, and other things and that these this process of writing is teaching them. Things such as making books teaches students about title-pages, genres , pictures in books, narratives, illustrations how bold font is used, how texting me manipulated and much more. This chapter also teaches us that letting children like books teaches them how to read like writers and live like writers. When students make their own writing piece they learn to appreciate books more that they read as well in my opinion.

Chapter 2 focuses on what you need in order to be able to set up Writers Workshop successfully in your classroom. In talks about how children need as much experience as possible when writing and that they need support also. This book talks about setting up your classroom and offering space is for your students to work in.  We do something called daily 5 in our classroom. There is a Writing Center as part of the students selections. In this Center students have the freedom to make books, write letters to friends, make a card for their mom dad or teacher, free write in there notebook, anything their little Minds can imagine. As long as they are writing I let them have the freedom to choose what they would like to do. We also have a 30 minute block of riding each morning where students are taught in whole great with a mini lesson then work independently on a writing piece. Setting up the classroom to be inviting for Young is the easy part. Finding the time to work this into your day is where I think each teacher struggles. I am excited to continue reading this book as well as my other book my receive as part of this class.

 

Image result for about the authors katie wood ray

Susan Davis’ K-1 Writers

My classroom is made up of 15 funny, sweet, and energetic students!  I have 9 First graders and 6 Kindergarteners.  For the first time in my teaching career I have more girls than boys.  This year I have 11 girls in my class and only 4 boys!  My classroom is a mix of ages, abilities, and backgrounds.  I have 6 Hispanic students in my classroom, all of which speak English, but it can be hard at times to communicate with families as I am not fluent in Spanish at all!

This year, more than ever, my students have been motivated to write.  They are not all writing a lot right now, and sometimes I have trouble reading it, but they are all trying.  I have never really looked at myself as a writer, but I took a class last semester at ASU that helped me to see myself more as a writer.  Through this class, I was required to do a lot of writing and to involve my students in lesson plans that involved getting them to write more.  I told my students that I was in school and learning how to be a better writer, I even showed them my writing notebook.  I believe that letting students know that I write daily, and that I too am going to school to learn how to write better encouraged them to try harder.  They thought that it is amazing that I’m in school too!  Through classes at ASU, I have also been reminded of just how important it is to model writing each day.  Some days we, as teachers, are pressed to get everything in and can skip this very important step.

I teach writing by modeling whole group, explaining my reasoning, and allowing students to have input.  Students then work independently as my assistant and I roam around the room and check in on them.  Writing is also doing in my small reading groups.  I have students write about the books that we are reading.  First graders practice writing prompts, and Kindergarten students write about their favorite part of the book, what happened in the book, etc.  We also have Daily 5 each day.  During Daily 5, students have a chance to write about anything they would like.  Some students take this time to write stories, letters to friends, make a card, anything their little minds can imagine.

This semester, I want to be able to continue encouraging my students to view writing as fun and to see themselves as writers.  I want them to learn that they are a writer, no matter the level that they are writing at.  I also want to know more about writers workshops.  When I was student teaching, I used writers workshop but was learning as I went.  I liked using it and want to know more.  I want to use the suggestions in our reading to encourage and support my students with their writing.  I will use the readings to help me set my classroom up as a positive environment that promotes writing!