My full time job as a consultant is amazing. It is a job that I firmly believe FOUND ME! I thought long and hard before leaving the classroom and had no idea that I would be traveling the country and impacting classrooms other than my own as a full time job. If you HAD told me this would happen however, I would have taken pictures and video of everything I did in my classroom. But alas, I do not have video and not nearly all the pictures I need of things that worked in my classroom. The beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, I was looking for a classroom that would allow me to come in and TAPE my teaching of lessons that work for beginning a Writer’s Workshop. I found that teacher and that classroom in Blooming Grove ISD in Texas. The following BLOG post is the first of many as I chronicled the writing that happened during those “taping sessions” in Becky Lamb’s 1st Grade classroom. Read on…
Wow! What a great morning we just had in Blooming Grove with some amazing writers. Poor Becky had no voice and when I got there she was whispering to the kids at the carpet reviewing sight words and they were whispering back. That calm mood helped us with our first day of kid writing I’M SURE of it!
Remember… I have already done Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin pie with this group. They have watched me tell/write my own stories and Becky has done the same for a week. They have also heard their friends tell stories and draw the pictures. Today… they all got their own paper to write their own story. No folders yet, just an individual piece of paper…folders will come tomorrow.
We set up some basic rules to help the day be successful:
1) Stay in your seat to write.
2) Do what you know writers do.
3) When you are finished, get your reading tub.
We also did rehearsal for writing… I had all of them think of their idea and talk about their beginning/middle/end pictures before I sent them to their seats to work. The enthusiasm and confidence were there! They did so great. I walked around and praised them for their pictures.. and their hard work. I took notes when I could. I had a few kids who said “how do you spell…” and I said “Do what you know writers do” and that was all I had to say. I had kids who got up to come and show me their work and I said “Stay in your seat to write” and they went back to their desks. I had three kids still writing when the time was up, they will be able to see/read those stories and work on them again tomorrow… it was a great day!
I will clear up one thing that I want you to remember on this first day when you write this way in your own classrooms- we are not “fixing” writing on this day. EVERYTHING that they write is going to be perfect for the time being. We need them to build their personal confidence on this day. We have the whole year to make them better writers- let’s be sure that we get them to love and feel good about writing first!
I did the Brag Board with them today.. I praised E. He was the first one done and he got his reading tub without needing a reminder! I praised A. she asked me how to spell McDonald’s and I just said “do what writers do” and she wrote.. mkdonlds. Pretty good if you ask me! I also praised S. She is an ELL. She was writing a story about her dog- I learned the word for dog in Spanish today- perro. We wrote that word together. I also learned that she does not have a sound/letter link in Spanish so I will stop making a link to Spanish names of letters for her- we will focus on English.
Next time we write I need to work on the use of crayons. We had kids coloring their pictures rather than writing their words. I didn’t stress over it today, but next time we write, we will allow crayons- AFTER all their words are written!
I love being back in the classroom and having a chance to work with these writers and I am already looking forward to my next trip to Blooming Grove.