Another question about writing

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by minnie, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Jul 26, 2017

    Hello. I teach kindergarten. When we begin writing, I give them topics to write about. Then, every Friday I let them write about whatever they want. After Christmas break is when I start talking to them about capital letters and end marks. I have been following a thread about how writing is put on the back burner. So, I really want my students to get a good start on writing. So, my question is: Is it wrong to give them a topic to write about? Should I let them write about whatever they want every day? I am afraid that if I do this they will write about the same thing every single day: I love my mom. I like pizza. I like my friend.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 26, 2017

    My opinion is that you should provide the topic each day...something current in your teaching, maybe? I also don't think you should wait until after Christmas to work on punctuation. I think you should model it from Day 1 as you write stories for the class each day.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Student choice is preferable. YoI'd have to teach about how to choose what to write about, what happens if you get stuck, brainstorm a list of writing ideas.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
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  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I don't believe in writing prompts.
     
  6. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Thank you. I model everyday using correct punctuation starting from day 1 but I don't expect them to consistently do that until after Christmas break. The reason why I do prompts is because in kindergarten I have kids who have had no experience whatsoever in writing (obviously) so I give them prompts. The kinder common core standards do state that they should be able to compare two similar stories in their writing so maybe that should be the only time I tell them what to write.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2017

    If you haven't already, check out Lucy Calkins' book "The Art of Teaching Writing" and read the chapter on kindergarteners. Every squiggle they make on their paper should be celebrated as writing. I firmly believe that if they make marks on a page, they are writers. I would not give them prompts - most of your students are probably bursting with stories and will be excited as you teach them how to put those ideas on paper with letters.

    One thing I did with some kindergarten classes was once they were reading we started using level A and B books as mentor texts to give them structures for book writing. We taught them how to choose a topic that they knew a lot about and then showed them how a repeated text can be adapted to work with their topic. We had a 97% success rate - but this was closer to the end of the year.
     
  8. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    :yeahthat:
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Drawing pictures and labeling is writing. Strings of letters representing sounds in words is writing. Students don't need prompts. The best sort of 'prompt' could be something like: "sometimes writers write about something they love so much they want others to try it too...write about something you want others to try today" (persuasive writing), or "sometimes writers write about a story from their lives when it was the first time they did something..." (personal narrative) or "sometimes writers write about things they know all about..." (informational). Of course these would all be supported within units of study, with mentor texts, shared writing and modeling. With this model, your kids will work up to writing to compare stories.
     
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  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2017

    Expecting consistent use of punctuation by kindergarteners is lofty...a more developmentally appropriate focus would be expecting students to demonstrate phonemic awareness when writing by getting more sounds represented by letters in the word they write, spacing between words, using word walls....and maybe to begin exploring punctuation with an occasional period! ;)
     
  11. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    What if I get the students who write the same thing over and over again?
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2017

    Brainstorm as a class a list of topics

    Have students share what they are going to write about before sending off to write. Others' ideas will sometimes inspire those writers who go to their same comfortable topic all the time

    Confer with kids who choose the same topic time and time again about how writers get new ideas for writing.

    Model, model, model.

    And remember these writers who choose the same topic over and over again may feel comfortable and safe with that topic. Compliment them and gently move them to something else. That might sound something like this:
    Wow! You have been writing s lot about video games! You must be an expert game player! Sometimes writers get new ideas from the writing they've already done. I noticed you wrote that you play video games with your. brother. What are some other things you've done with your brother?

    Kid gives some ideas. You write them down

    Wow! You have so many good times with your brother. I made this list of all the things you said. Which one of these will you write about today?
    Kid chooses
    Great! Get going! And from now on whenever you are going to write, remember you can get new ideas by looking at your old writing. I can't wait to read your piece today about the time you and your brother did xyz

    At the end of writing time, you could share how this kiddo was stuck and how he got his new writing idea. Remind the class. Ext writing time this is a strategy and ask kids who might try that.
     
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  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2017

    :yeahthat: All of that.

    Some will definitely write about the same thing for a while, but that's okay! Use read alouds as a way to prompt new ideas - "Wasn't that a funny story about pigs? Does anyone have their own pig story? Who would like to share? I think it would be a good idea if you wrote down these great pig stories."

    Provide lots of opportunities for varied writing experiences - students can create menus and take orders in the dramatic play area when it is a restaurant, another student may mention it's their mom's birthday - encourage them to make a card, students can make a list of items they may need to bring on their field trip, write thank you notes to a staff member at the school - custodians LOVE receiving notes :), etc.
     

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