Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why I LOVE This Time of Year in Kindergarten {Writing}

I LOVE this time of year for SO many reasons, but one of my **favorite** things to reflect on this time of year is my kids’ writing and all the progress they’ve made since the beginning.  I know that writing is an area I’d LOVE to improve…I hope that as long as I’m teaching, I’ll want to improve the way I’m doing things to make them better for the kids.  I’ve taken bits and pieces of writing training I’ve had over the past 10 years and combined them altogether into how I teach writing today. 

In my classroom, we write EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  We write in response to our guided readers {this is during small group…4-5 kids at a time, give or take…maybe just a sentence to reinforce sight words or repetitive phrases in the book, or maybe a thinking map/graphic organizer and/or text to self/text connection}  Writing during our guided reading gives me the chance to model correct sentence structure {capital letter at the beginning, meatball spaces, punctuation, stretching out sounds, etc.}  In addition to writing in response to our guided readers, we also have a Writer’s Workshop block of time built into our day.  Most days, my kids are writing from their hearts, about their own personal feelings and/or stories.  Some days my kids complete sentence prompts in response to shared reading.  Whatever the case, my kids are writing EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!!!  And not just during these times…they write during math, literacy rotations, theme, etc. 

When my kids are writing from their hearts, they’re telling their own personal *stories*.  Something that’s important to them.  Something they want to say.  Sometimes they even make things up…and I’m totally okay with that because they’re WRITING!!!!!!  We have a long way to go with our writing, but looking back at the progress they’ve made since October, I’m just blown away.  And so very PROUD of them!!! 

When this little sweetie came to me in August, she had a very limited knowledge of the alphabet.  She didn’t recognize most letters and/or sounds and didn’t understand letter to sound relationships.  In October, she started to make some big strides.  Her writing started out consisting of only one word…the only word she knew how to spell by heart.  Once she started learning sight words & beginning & ending sounds, she started to write a little more.  Now it’s hard to get her to stop writing at all!!!!  Look at the progress!!!!!! 

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        “I am a princess.”                          “I played with my friends the road with our bikes."

One thing we continue to work on in our writing is transferring what we know to paper.  Letter reversals continue to occur, especially when the kids are so engrossed in their writing that they don’t take the time to self correct.  We’re working on this daily!!!  More often than not, my kids are writing more than just one sentence.   This little sweetie just makes me smile.  She’s doing SO amazing and her progress astounds me!

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    “I went to the football game.”          “I am fixing to play baseball.  My cousin is going to teach me.”

Here’s an example of a sweet little friend who had a good letter/sound foundation when she started the year.  You can see that her writing is more controlled now and she’s doing an awesome job of using her two-finger spaces and spelling most of her sight words correctly.  I just LOVE this!!!!

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     “I am going trick-or-treating.”             “When I was at my Mimi & Popo’s, we went to the lake.”

This little guy could identify most letters in August, but he was still learning how to associate those letters to sounds.   Once he grasped that concept, he couldn’t wait to write.  We worked REALLY hard in the beginning to remember our two-finger spaces without and help or reminders.  It didn’t take long for him to *get it*!  I absolutely LOVE reading his writing!!!  Now we’re working on *adding on*.

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            “I like my shed.”                                  “My agenda is wet and it is dry now.

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“They are fighting for the trophy.”

As the year progresses, even my most reluctant writers have a lot to say.  At the beginning, it was hard for my kids to understand that they could write about ANYTHING.  Even with our heart maps, that was tricky to understand!  Now they’re on a roll and most days they’ll ask, “do we get to write about whatever we want in Writer’s Workshop today?!?!?”  Music to my ears!!!!  And I love that they have MORE to say than just a simple statement.  LOVE!

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             “I caught a frog.”                      “When it was Christmas, I got some gum and lots of presents.”

And what might look like a little friend who’s having a little trouble writing looks like a Mona Lisa to me.  Honestly.  I could cry with this right here.  My little sweetie could identify most of his letters at the beginning of the year, but had a lot of trouble with letter sounds and fine motor control.  Now he’s seriously BLOWING me away on a daily basis.  Look at his progress!!!!  I could seriously kiss his cute little face!!!  We’re still working on our fine motor skills, but ohmiword.  I could cry!!!  I’m SO proud of him!

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         “I went to the zoo.”                 “I am going to Joseph’s party and I will have some fun and it will

                                                       be a balloon party for the whole people in the class.” 

Each of my kids has their very own writing *portfolio* that houses ALL of their writer’s workshop writing pieces.  I like to keep these to track progress and share with parents at conferences, etc.  And I think it’s extremely powerful for the kids to see how much progress they’ve made since they started writing months ago. 

Like I said, we still have a long way to go on our writing journey, but I am so proud of the progress they’ve made this far.  I recently bought Katie Wood Ray’s In Pictures and In Words and Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers and I’m excited to dive in {when I get a spare minute to read!!! HA!}.  Thank you, DeeDee, for the suggestion!  If you want to see some AMAZING writer’s workshop examples, head on over to DeeDee’s page…she’s my go-to girl for all things writing!

24 comments:

  1. this makes my heart just melt! This is why I love the early years of learning - all of their growth is really obvious! You are doing such a great job with your kiddos and inspire the teacher in me!

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  2. Our school year is about to start here in Australia. I too love this age group and the progress that they make is amazing. shawpaula.blogspot.com

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  3. I bought In Picture and in Words over the summer and still haven't had a chance to read it!! Ugh! Your kids seem to be progressing well and that is lovely to see!

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  4. Yay! Your kids writing looks A-mazing! I loved "I'm fixing to play football." Talk about writing with voice. It is like I am sitting right there having a conversation! Love! It!

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  5. You're kinda making me miss kindergarten! Great work, teach!

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  6. You're kinda making me miss kindergarten! Great work, teach!

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  7. Writing is a weak area of mine to teach. Do you have any suggestions to help me.....either a great book or sites to visit? Thanks for your help!

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  8. I love how much progress Kinders make in a matter of months! It's amazing the change from the beginning to the end of the year. Your kiddos are so lucky to have you for their teacher! I miss teaching Kindergarten!
    Linda
    AroundtheKampfire

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  9. Writing is the HARDEST thing to teach. I used to teach 5th, and now I teach 1st, and I have a daughter in middle school...I can testify- It's hard at any age!!! I love the way the littles write, and I love to see the progression from beginning to end of year with my firsties. My favorite thing is a writing sample I do on the first day of school, and then we repeat the same sample during the last month. I hang them side by side on our bulletin board with a picture of the student from each time too. It's so awesome to see how much they've grown physically and educationally in just a few months. :)

    Wallis
    First Grade Wolves

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  10. This is a perfect post for me as I'm a first year kindergarten teacher from the US but teaching at an international school abroad. We've been working on writing but I have been want to really write every day!

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  11. Oh my gosh I loved reading these....the improvement is amazing! I loved the one about the shed, so cute!

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  12. I am shocked "I played.... they already understand the past!

    What a cute group!

    Best,
    Ramon
    Fonts 4 Teachers
    Fonts 4 Teachers in TPT


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  13. awesome! you have been so inspiring! please check out my blog too! thanks! http://firstgradegrace.wordpress.com

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  14. Your kids are doing so well. I love the one about getting gum for Christmas... it's funny that is the one thing that child chooses to mention and then "just a lot of presents" So cute and so kindergarten!

    Christy
    Crayons and Whimsy

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  15. It's a lot of fun to see the growth. I've been using Kathleen's monthly portfolios and journals. I have the kids file their own papers each month so that they see their old papers. One of my girls told me that her paper in August wasn't actually hers. She was convinced her name was on another persons paper. LOL!

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  16. Hey Cara! I noticed today on Mystery Message B (my kiddos LOVE doing these BTW)that #9 is 6+2 and the key is 7+3...so it makes the message say have a greet day:) Just wanted to let you know. Cute writing!!

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  17. This post came at the perfect time! My school does not have a set writing program so I have really been at a loss as to how to make one up for first grade. Also, I started Teaching Writing K-12 in grad school this semester so my mind has been buzzing about creating a writing program for my littles. We have been doing writing prompts but nothing concrete has been set for us. Your post and my grad class are giving me a lot of ideas. Thank you! :)

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  18. I love seeing the progress that my students make over such a small amount of time. Sometimes I just assume that their writing hasn't changed all year until I look back on how they used to write. It makes me so proud of them.

    Jennifer
    Darling Little Learners

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  19. This is a wonderful, wonderful post Cara! Thank you so much for sharing. You are clearly doing amazing things in your room. Your Kinderkids are making so much progress. I'm amazed.

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  20. I love your writing portfolio and that you share it with parents. Your students' progress is so inspiring. Great work by you and the kiddos!

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