how do you start with writing?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by minnie, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Aug 18, 2009

    I have had difficulty with writing since I started teaching. I have students who can't even hold a pencil and students who can write all of their letters. I did Kid Writing last year, but it was so hard to reach every student and I don't have volunteers.

    How do you even start writing when some don't even know what a letter is? Please help. I just feel so lost with this.
     
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  3. Rainbows23

    Rainbows23 Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2009

    a lot of modelling the process by the teacher. If they do not know letters they will 'pre write' mark make, and you want them to be ascribing meaning to what they 'wrote'.
     
  4. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Is "prewrite mark" like a dash or scribble since they don't know the letters.

    So you just let them write on their own or do you do assist each individual students? What do you have the students do that are done?
     
  5. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Aug 18, 2009

    I have this problem every year. Writing is always on my list of things to work on...I go very slow at the beginning, and usually have all my "lower" writers sit at one table so I can sit at the table and work with them. I model, model, model, and challenge the students that already know their letters with sounding things out or writing more. I find it is one of the hardest things to teach in K!
     
  6. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    We start with oral storytelling. Great authors are good storytellers. Then we move onto drawing pics of our stories. Then we move onto labeling the pic. Then we move onto writing ...
     
  7. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Amen to that! I think that in kindergarten, you get the most differentiated types of abilities. You have kids who have never even held a book or pencil and then you have kids who come in already reading. My biggest struggle is what to have the other kids do when they are done with their writing. I would have them start on another picture, but what if we are writing about something specific the next day?
     
  8. Rainbows23

    Rainbows23 Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2009

    yes we start by labelling the picture too
     
  9. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Aug 19, 2009

    When my more advanced writers are done, I usually have them draw a picture on scrap paper or grab a library book out of their cubbies...its keeps them mostly occupied. If there are only a few kids who aren't done or are REALLY struggling, I pull them with the writing the next day instead of doing a guided reading center, and I do writing with them instead (or try to fit a small group in at another time). It is hard to keep the fast workers entertained though!
     
  10. MsX

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    Aug 19, 2009

    Have you looked into Lucy Calkins' Units of Study (writers workshop)? I find that her methods work for all levels of students. I believe in K, students start out story-telling and drawing pictures of their stories (with labels) and eventually move into 3 page stories.

    You mentioned "What do kids do when they finish?" With Writers Workshop, students simple start a new piece if they finish and you teach ways for kids to revise finish pieces so they are more clear (yes, even in K!) I really recommend looking into it. I started using Writing Workshop (using Lucy's approach) a few years ago, and I can't tell you how much my students' writing has improved. It's amazing!
     
  11. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Aug 19, 2009

    I start out by just having them draw a picture (I model how to think of an idea). I also model how to "write" (with scribbles), and I encourage them to write letters if they know any. The progression tends to be:

    -Draw a picture and scribble write
    -Draw a picture and write letters you know.
    -Draw a picture and listen for sounds you know. Write those letters.
    -Form words, focusing on beginning and ending sounds.
    -Write words, listening for all the sounds.

    Writing is something I'm really trying to improve, too. It's my PDP goal (license renewal program in WI) that I will be working on for the next 3 years.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Also, I have my students work for 10 minutes (I set a timer), and eventually build up to 20 minutes. They HAVE to work that entire time, so if they finish they have to add to their writing or start a new piece. After the timer beeps they can either read a book or work on these activity books that I have (mazes, coloring, crosswords, coloring patterns, etc.). I allow about 5-10 more minutes for people to finish after the timer goes off.
     
  13. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    This may be a little off topic, but DrivingPigeon, do any of your students rush though their work to get to the "fun" pages? I'm afraid that if I offered coloring or mazes, I'd have a bunch of kids working as fast as they could without really caring what they were doing...Do you see that or is there a way to avoid this?
     
  14. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    DrivingPigeon, do you make packets for each of the kids to do after they are done. Do you make a new one after they finish the packets. It sounds like a lot of work to keep making packet for them. Right now, a lot of my kids (I have a low group this year) cannot do a lot on their own right now except for draw or color. Would it be bad to give them these worksheets?

    MsX, I think I will look into Lucy Calkins, I've heard a lot of good things about it. I hear it is very time consuming though.
     
  15. lafogosa

    lafogosa Companion

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    Aug 19, 2009

    If you mean just forming letters, I would start with learning how to hold the pencil, then making "crazy" lines, swirls, cirlces, mountains, hills, etc. Then move on to tracing the lines. I also start with block,dot,space practice pages with their names. Their names are the first things I want them to learn to write.

    As far as telling stories and getting thoughts on paper, we start with oral stories. We make stories as a class, then I have each student illustrate the story. Then we work on labeling the drawings. As they learn more sounds and sigh words, they are able to start putting together simple sentences.
     
  16. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Our school uses Lucy Calkins, K-5. What is time consuming according to you?

    In FIRST grade we start out with about 20 mins total and build up to an hour each day. I'm not sure how long Kinder builds up to...

    It doesn't require a lot of prep and is scripted to help you out until you've had enough experience to make the lessons your own.

    I think it is a wonderful program!
     
  17. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Well, I can't say that I KNOW that it is time consuming, it's just what I've heard. But I still want to check it out. I think 45 minutes I would spend the most time in writing workshop.
     
  18. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Can you elaborate more on that? What are block and space practice pages?
     
  19. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Aug 20, 2009

    No, since I have them write the entire 20 minutes. They usually finish earlier and I have to prompt them to write more because they still have a lot of time left. When the timer goes off, they can grab their activity book or find a book to read. If I just let them write and then do their activity book when they were finished, I'm sure I would have this problem.
     
  20. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    The other K teachers actually put them together each month, so they were all ready when I started. Some of the stuff they can't do independently at first, but after I explain it to a few people, they just help each other out.

    Maybe you could have a few simple coloring pages and slowly introduce things like mazes or simple cutting activities.

    I do like having reading books as an option, too. Some of my kids last year didn't even touch their monthly activity books because they just weren't into coloring.
     
  21. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I would love to look into Lucy Calkins- we do Empowering Magical Writers- it's an okay program, but they don't start with the basics I feel the kids need. One of the biggest problems is that we only have "writing" once a week (for about 25 minutes), so although I incorporate it into other things, it is difficult to just do writing....
     
  22. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    once a week? EEk!! Reading and writing go hand and hand, I can't imagine doing it once a week. I hope they do it more frequently in 1st grade. I guess you have to do more interactive writing in morning message or guided reading to help instill the way written language works.
     
  23. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    It is really hard only focusing on writing once a week- it is a school-wide thing; we all integrate writing at other times (like I have them label their pictures when we draw our favorite part from a book, or write a sentence about a story we read), but there is just one letter day set aside for writing. Being in a district where things like that are so scheduled is really difficult- I feel like there is so much more I could do!
     

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