We are off and going in most subjects-writing included! This is the first year we are using Lucy Caulkins Writing Program. In my opinion, it has been fabulous! My first graders are writing, truly writing, and loving it every minute of it.
In order to get writing workshop fully up and running in my classroom it is important for me to spend time creating independence with writing. Students need to be able to write for longer periods of time allowing me the time to confer with children. They need to know where to get supplies, how to come up with ideas, and most importantly they need to be engaged in the task in front of them.
It has always been a challenge getting my first graders to write at the beginning of the year. In the past at the beginning of first grade, they struggle to come up with stories and instead end up writing only about things they like. Most of their writing at this time of the year consists of “I like _____.” and then if I am lucky I would get another sentence of “I like _____.” Now, you always have the rockstars who go above and beyond but the majority of the class takes a long time to get going on writing.
Using Lucy Caulkins as a guide I am proud to say my kiddos are coming up with “small moment” stories (yes, stories!) and it is only the third week of school! This truly makes me happy.
“I got a new bike for Christmas.”
“I bumped into a tree.”
“and I got hurt and my dad gave me a bandaid.”
I was so proud of this little author and the story he was able to tell. All of his pages had to do with the same story (his bike from Christmas) AND he didn’t start with “I like.” We still have a long way to go but this is a fabulous start if you ask me!
The writing program suggests giving students small booklets (I cut scratch paper into fourths and staple them into books,) to help children break up their stories into smaller moments. What a simple and incredible idea. It worked wonders for my little writers so I had to share!
When students go back to write each day we talk about the steps to writing a story:
1. Think of an idea
*Think about something that has happened to you
*Think about something you are able to do.
This part has been most helpful and I remind my writers of these steps each and every day!
*Touch and tell your story
Students should literally be touching each page as they say their story quietly to themselves or to a neighbor.
*Beginning, Middle and End
Students should have all three pieces to in their stories (I just do a quick reminder!)
*Sketch across the pages (I only have my students use pencil for this part.)
Students go back to their writing, reread it and think about the questions: who, what, where, when, and why?
I created a quick poster to help my students remember these steps. You can download it by clicking here or on the picture below!
Today, I am linking up with Jivey for her wonderful Workshop Wednesday! In he month of September Jivey is hosting a linky about getting workshops started in your classroom and it is filled with lots of great ideas on reading, writing, and math workshops. If you haven’t already checked out all of the great posts head on over immediately because there are so many “must reads!”