Writer's Workshop

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by angelteacher, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. angelteacher

    angelteacher Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2007

    My principal came in a few weeks ago and when I met with her she said I need to be doing more writing w/ my kindergarteners. She mentioned experimental writing and writing workshop. I do encourage my kids to write in their journals and to sound out words on their papers, but I'm not sure about them writing whole stories........or do I have the wrong impression. She said I need to have at least a 30 min. block for writing everyday. I'm not sure where I'm going to fit all this in. Also, she want to see me meeting w/ my Guided Reading groups more. I think I can handle the GR, but was wondering if you all have any advice on where to start in Writer's Workshop this late in the year? TIA! :love:
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 15, 2007

    I have no idea. But I thought your thread was getting lost. So thought I would post to bring it back up to the top of new posts.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Are you full day or half day? Maybe if you send us your daily schedule, we can help you to figure out how to fit in your writers workshop. Now, I don't know if this will help you, but this is what I do in my classroom. I do a daily minilesson in the morning. Then, during center time, they write for about 15 minutes. So, there is 30 minutes of time devoted to writing. Would that work in your classroom?
     
  5. EBKLYN

    EBKLYN Companion

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Hi,

    I think that maybe you should consider starting by taking home samples of your students writing and using what you notice to decide your teaching points.

    You might consider looking into Lucy Calkin's book Unit of Study for Primary Writing I maybe a little off on the title but excuse me because I am writing from the top of my head.
     
  6. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Feb 15, 2007

    You're on the right path. It's Lucy Calkin's book "The Art of Teaching Writing". She does have a resource kit that has the Primary Units of Study that you can buy separately.
     
  7. angelteacher

    angelteacher Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Thank you all for your advice. I like the 15 min. mini-lesson and then 15 min. in centers. That would work! Here's my schedule:
    8-8:15-morning work
    8:15-8:30-calendar
    8:30-9:30-centers (small groups, guided reading, individual instruction, testing)
    9:40-recess
    10:00-11:00 - Language arts (Shared reading/shared & interactive writing / thematic units, etc.)
    11-11:40 - lunch
    11:45-12:00 - rest time
    12:00-12:15-daily bite
    12:15-12:30 - snack time
    12:30-12:45 - phonics / letter sound review
    12:45-1:00 - story time
    1:00-1:30 - Math lesson
    1:30-2:15- specials
    2:15-2:40 - Number literacy ( place value, building numbers, shapes, clocks, money)
    2:40-2:50 - prepare to go home
    2:55- dismissal....

    That's the long and short of it!
     
  8. angelteacher

    angelteacher Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Thank you JaimeMarie for bringing my post back to the top!!!
     
  9. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 16, 2007

    I have a question about rest time. Do they still need it at this point of the school year? I know that a lot of the kinders that used to do rest time have either shorten it way down or do not do this at all. I never even did rest time. They didn't seem to need it. Just an idea, but maybe that's where you could do your minilesson or their writing. It's hard for me to really say becuase I don't really know what reading program you have. If you do HM or Open court, that would actually give me a good idea of how to help you.

    Plus, I know that there are other great threads on here about teaching writing and writer's workshop. Definately check those out if you haven't already.
     
  10. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Recommend book "About the Authors" by Katie Wood Ray

    I highly recommend the book About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray. My district language arts director gave me a copy last week and I devoured it last weekend, it's wonderful! It explains exactly what writers workshop looks like at the kindergarten level. It's very plainly written and it walks you through the whole process start to finish step by step with very vivid and realistic examples. Our district currently requires readers and writers workshop in Kinder and we will be starting it in pre-k next year. Katie Wood Ray does an excellent job of explaining why and how writers workshop can be extremely effective at this level and gives very concrete examples. Before I was halfway through the book she had addressed all of my main concerns and answered all the questions that were going through my head. I LOVE this book and can't recommend it enough!
    Good luck!
     
  11. angelteacher

    angelteacher Rookie

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    Feb 16, 2007

    The school I was at last year didn't have a nap time at all, but this school asks for resting mats on the school supply list. This time used to be 30 min. and we've cut it down to 15. My kids don't even sleep now. My principal actually encourages us to have them rest for 15 min. and to let them sleep if they fall asleep. I guess I could go out on a limb and do away with it to get in more instructional time. As for our reading program, some use Scott Foresman, but it's not required. Most of us do balanced literacy using the Pinnell and Fountas guidelines.

    Thank you all for all the books suggested. I am going to look into them this weekend!
     
  12. lw3teach

    lw3teach Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    I am wondering if nap time is the correct word here. I think that these little minds need a time to reflect and be on their own. We have the kids rest for approx. 35 minutes everyday. I think it is just as essential as play time or any other time of the day. They need that time to reflect and spend some time in their own thinking. Their little bodies need that in my opinion
     
  13. lw3teach

    lw3teach Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    OH yes! Another thing... Katie Wood Ray's About the Authors, Debbie Miller's Reading for Meaning and Lucy Calkin's Units of Study for Primary Students fit well together to create a very literate classroom. The writing just falls into place when you get the understandings from these three professionals.
     
  14. EBKLYN

    EBKLYN Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    I agree with your last post lw3teach.
     
  15. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Feb 17, 2007

    me too! I totally agree, well said. I have all 3 resources and they really are must reads for all early childhood/elementary teachers.
     
  16. JenL

    JenL Comrade

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    Feb 17, 2007

    those are great resources but the thing about writers workshop is that you are teaching the fundamentals of writing and the writing process.....even with the little ones. then they take it from there....when you publish you might have some kids publish one sentence others publish a page. it is up to them....
    you can do short publishes where everyone writes a phrase or line....
    writers workshop is not always publishing stories.....
    sometimes you have to think outside of the box with writing.
    i do it in first grade and i love it! my kids beg for writing time everyday and sometimes we just don't have time but then we have a longer time the next day.
     
  17. lw3teach

    lw3teach Companion

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    Feb 17, 2007

    JEnL, what you said is exactly what these three books get across. Kids SHOULD be taught that not all pieces need to be published and that there are no limits to what they write. If I understand what you are trying to say above Jen, are you explicitly teaching that kids only need to write a sentence to call it publishing? I am wondering if kids are getting the wrong impression that way? I am not disagreeing with you at all (I hope it doesn't come across that way), just trying to understand.
    My kids know that when they have a piece that they can read (VERY IMPORTANT!), has been checked for conventions (at whatever level they might be... some kids check for punctuation, while others might be at the point of checking for a capital letter at the beginning). When they have done this, they make a title page and a cover... then they go loose in the school and share with others. They find this quite rewarding and challenging. The key is to think outside the box as you said, and know that not all kids writing will look the same or be of the same calibar. As long as they see themselves as writers and are learning what good writers do, that's all we can ask.
    The above three books lay this out wonderfully!
    From your above post JenL, it sounds as if you have read About the Authors. What did you think?
     
  18. 1angel

    1angel Rookie

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    Feb 27, 2007

    One thing I have learned along the way to help the writing process as well is not to say sound it out. Lucy Calkins uses the term stretch it out-say the word slowly. I used that term for a long time-for some reason children respond to it better. Now I don't even say that I say write what you hear-then you have to respect 'what they hear'.
    I have also used the books mentioned in other posts and love them all. I started at a new school this year that used a basal reading and writing series-I hated the writing and snuck in my Lucy Calkins series. I totally got caught because it was noticable how much better me class had gotten at writing then the other classes. The principal just ordered the series for the whole school she was so impressed!
    For my writers workshop I staple a bunch of papers together for a 'book' so that the kids and I can see the progress and make a huge deal out of the priveledge of writing in that journal. I don't write in it at all. I call them writers (whether they write or draw pictures or scribble-hey they 're trying!). Our class writes before recess and I am not kidding you when I say it's time to get ready for recess they groan and fight about staying inside to write! I never thought I would ever hear that!!! A parent observed one day and could not believe how upset they were that they had to stop writing. If we have a rainy day I let them write or do rainy day activities-they usually just write up to the end!
     
  19. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    Feb 27, 2007

    Kindergarteners are definitely capable of "writing," although they will start in the beginning stages-drawing, then scribbling what is supposed to look like words, then putting spaces, then writing a letter for each word, then finally trying to string letters together to make words. Some will skip steps in between.
    This book helped me tremendously when I taught K:
    Never Too Early to Write: Adventures in the K-1 Writing Workshop by Madeline Johnson
     
  20. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    Feb 27, 2007

    A great book for implementing writer workshop is "growing up writing". It is specifically for kindergarten. It is a step by stepp guide with minilessons and everything. My children fully enjoy this proces sand look forward to their journal time everyday. We have lots of fun with it. I cant think of the auther right now. but I will post back when i find out.

    Writers workshop has definatley developed their skills. Our block is about 30-40 minutes long. It breaks down like this...

    a 10-15 minute minilesson, where I introduce the writing technique for today (Using capital letters, how to sound out non-sight words)

    then 15 minutes for journal writing (depending on lesson and writjing progress, if their really into it I give them extra time)

    Within their writing block there is 5 minutes of silent writing time.
    then 10 minutes with a writing buddy. Their friend can help them sound out words and help them read their stories.

    Then 10 minutes for sharing at the end. I let maybe 7 people share their picture and words.

    Sometimes we go over 40 minutes maybe 45. But it is a great time.

    Most of the time during the minilesson and introduction I read a story to inspire them or point out certain things that the author used. Like how the pictures matched the words etc....

    We have a rubric or check list that my children have to follow when their writing. These are all things that we have been working oon all year, so to share they have to have all five of these things....

    1. Story has to have a picture that matches the words.
    2. Sentences start with a capital letter.
    3. All sight words spelled correctly.
    4. Used best handwriting

    Good luck.
     

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