As I worked with my kindergarteners this semester, I learned three main things. First how important self image and confidence is to young children in regards to writing. Second, that the book I choose to introduce and teach what authors and illustrators is do is essential to their understanding of being an author. Lastly, how practice and and sharing with peers, is necessary for children to grow as thoughtful and willing writers.
When teaching writing with my students we discussed and examined many different authors and illustrators and really looked at their work. I encouraged my students to try to view themselves as authors like some of our favorites, Eric Carle, Jan Brett, Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems. We focused on style and what they wrote about as well as how they chose what to write about. We also talked about why we liked those authors and illustrators. I gradually saw my students act like they wanted to be authors and illustrators. I learned that the process does take time and a lot of practice. I have to teach whole group concepts through effective modeling, but be with students individually for support through their own writing process. As time went on, I was able to step back some, especially through the use of blank books. My students learned how to start stories on their own and how to write on their own based on where they were developmentally. They began to gain confidence as the writer they already were and did not focus on what they thought they were not good at. Along with writing, they became eager to share with the class and that became a time of day everyone looked forward to. There was great respect and awe as students shared. I believe all of the students felt valued when they shared. Below are pictures of my students sharing work, they are showing how to use more than one page if necessary, incorporating text supported pictures, adding labels, and using spacing to support meaning.
As I move forward, I do plan on using story writing and incorporating blank books into my classroom as often as I can. I can’t wait to try these out starting from the beginning of the school year. Just thinking about a whole year of story writing and sharing makes me so happy with all the possible success and growth I may see. I hope that I continue to help my students feel pleased with being the writers that they are and are willing to share with their peers and school community.
As for me, being a teacher of writing, I will miss this blog. I have greatly enjoyed sharing my students and what they can do. I am very proud of them and writing about it has been a great tool for reflection that I greatly value. I have learned how change can lead to greatness. My students did so much that I did not think I would see in kindergarten. I know that if I continue to teach with meaningful modeling and enthusiasm while still encouraging my students to do what they can, when they can, they will grow. They will grow and be happy about themselves and be confident, encourage others and have the stamina that they need to succeed in the future as a child that likes to write.
Click below for more information and details about what my students have done this semester.