Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Writing workshop introduction

Today I worked with all of the new-timers in Sky Class. I introduced the writing workshop, basing my mini-lesson on the first lesson in Lucy Calkin's Launching the Writing Workshop. I modeled deciding what to write about: I talked about how much I liked pandas, but verbalized that I had no real experiences with pandas. I then talked about remembering when I went to the beach with my son Ike and my granddaughter Rachel. I closed my eyes and described what I was seeing in my mind. I remembered walking on the beach and wading in the water with Rachel. The water was calm at first. Then all the sudden a big wave hit us. I looked at Rachel. I was worried that it would scare her, but then she laughed. I then sketched a picture on chart paper of what I remembered and labeled parts of the picture. Then pointing at the paper I planned out my first sentence; "I went to the beach with Ike and Rachel." I began to write it, talking about how if I was not sure what letters to write, I said the word and listened to what letters I could hear. I then finished my story, read it over, and showed how if I wanted to change something (e.g. put beach instead of ocean), I would cross it out and write above it.

Then I asked each of them to close their eyes and think about something that each had done and to picture it. I had each turn to another and share the idea. I showed the paper choices, then called one person at a time to choose a sheet of paper and find a space to begin drawing and writing.

Once they settled down, I circulated and checked in with individuals. Most easily drew their ideas. Some went easily on from this to writing. Others were stuck on beginning the writing part. When that happened I had the student tell me about the picture, then I slowly said the first sentence he/she told me , pointing to the place on the paper where it should be written. Some needed help figuring out what letters to write, and students near them helped some. By the end of our time, about half had filled the half page set aside for writing and told a coherent story of something they had experienced. One other wrote that much but her sentences were disconnected. The rest had written from 1 to 3 sentences. For those whose writing was not readable , I wrote beneath what they told me, telling them they had done the kid writing and now I was doing the grown-up writing.

No comments: