Writing :(

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jan 22, 2012

    I am SO frustrated with my class' (lack of) writing skills. My frustration comes from not knowing how to move them along as writers. I currently have work on writing time during Daily 5, which is more of a free writing time (making comics, cards, writing letters, stories, etc.). I also have a separate writer's workshop time for 45 minutes in the afternoon. I begin with a mini-lesson and then the children have time to write.

    We have been working on personal narratives for about 3 weeks. I am taking things very slowly and going back to basics. I am using mentor texts, graphic organizers for pre-writing, and going through every step of the writing process with tons of modeling, looking at each others work, sharing, etc. I am doing a very "mini" lesson every day, which focuses on one little skill, and giving them work time. Aside from holding their hand and making the pencil move, I feel like I am doing all I can to help them organize their thoughts and come up with ideas.

    After 3 weeks of writing, 2 children STILL do not have anything written down on their papers. There are an additional 5 children who have next to nothing, and what they do have doesn't even make sense. So, almost 1/3 of my class is writing at a kindergarten/beginning 1st grade level.

    I don't know how much more slowly I can take things. The lit specialist comes into my room to help confer and meet in small groups with students. I have asked her for advice and she just tells me that I am doing a great job. I feel like I am a failure when it comes to teaching writing.

    Any suggestions? :(
     
  2.  
  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,793
    Likes Received:
    165

    Jan 22, 2012

    You definitely are not a failure! You are a great teacher, but I think this class seems to be a bit lower than you've had in the past. Are you still using sentence frames? If not, can you go back to those? Are you brainstorming ideas with them initially for potential topics? Can you have them work in partners to help come up with ideas? Sorry, I doubt I am much help because I think you likely are doing a great job but the level of the students are probably just lower than what you've had in the past, so be patient with yourself. You are a fantastic teacher and I know you are doing everything possible with them.
     
  4. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 22, 2012

    Another very important thing to do, too, is model your own writing to the class and hold contests every once in a while to see who can rise to a specific challenge you desire. Work with the five senses as well as the five W's and ask them to write descriptions for photographs. Also read mentor texts (picture books) and tell them how authors inspire you to write! :) You are not a failure!
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 23, 2012

    What are the children with nothing written doing when they are supposed to be writing?

    I would definitely go back to sentence frames and push for more. Maybe try using a repetitive text structure for the kids to copy.
     
  6. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    29

    Jan 23, 2012

    I have found labeling is the BEST thing for my struggling/reluctant writers. I have them label everything in a picture. Then, I have them touch one thing and write about it. It leads to some fairly boring writing at times, but they get something down on the page. Sometimes it's the key that unlocks being able to actually put mini-lessons into practice.
     
  7. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,391
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jan 23, 2012

    Can they tell a story orally? Maybe have a day where they practice telling the story and then sketch the picture, then write it. Also sometimes a "challenge" to write a certain number of stories helps. A few weeks ago we do a "story a day" challenge for a week, each day for a week they try to write one whole story by sketching, writing a sentence, labeling and then adding details. The first day or two not many kids make it, but by the end of the week they can get pretty close.
     
  8. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 23, 2012

    With the oral story, too, you can record them speaking (with a computer program like Audacity). And as for the picture labeling, that does work very well for some kids.
     
  9. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 23, 2012

    You are NOT a failure!! I have had years like this. I agree with a previous poster that the kids likely are lower than what you're used to. How are they overall in other areas? Are they high/average/low readers for the most part?

    How much writing do you have them do usually? Just free writing, I mean.

    I have to admit I am surprised that a couple students aren't writing anything. How do these particular students do overall in other academic areas? Are they low readers? Do they have behavior/defiance issues?

    Maybe you could find time to work independently with the most needy ones and have them tell you what they'd like to say while you write it down. Then have them edit and revise the "rough draft" you've written and write their own final draft?

    It sounds like the whole class is having problems with writing, though, so maybe you should go back to square one and practice with writing a good sentence, then move on from there...

    I really like using the 4 square graphic organizer. It's easy for the kids to use when writing a rough draft.
     
  10. cateste

    cateste Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 27, 2012

    just getting them started...

    This site is not a writing program, just a fun place to get your reluctant writers going. It has loads of grade specific zany writing prompts that have gotten some of my most writing phobic students going. They can write letters, post cards, letters, and journals.

    http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/storystarters/storystarter1.htm
     
  11. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,726
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 27, 2012

    I use and LOVE top-down webs to organize their writing. I do a guided writing lesson each week that takes them through the writing process using the same format (brainstorm, web, draft, edit, publish) with a different theme/prompt. It has worked WONDERS! You can read a little more about how I balance writer's workshop with guided writing here.
     
  12. juli233

    juli233 Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 27, 2012

    we use 6 +1 traits of writing it's a good book/program if your looking for a new resource.
    Other wise, do you do authors chair? one class I worked in they did the daily 5 writing and then over the course of a week( so a few kids a day) they get a chance to read their writing to the class and get 3 compliments or connections.
    Other ideas are to change your outlook on writing. Maybe have them writing things more valuable to them, maybe give them a choice of a few things such as:
    comic strip
    illustrated story/graphic novel
    a fake diary entry
    a song
    a poem - acrostic poems are fun
    maybe their not ready to write personal narratives yet?
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. sevenplus,
  2. YoungTeacherGuy
Total: 391 (members: 5, guests: 375, robots: 11)
test