Writing

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by imelda, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. imelda

    imelda Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2005

    I work as a Foundation stage teacher in England Ages 3 - 5 and am looking for some ideas to encourage my 4-5 year olds to write or to help them improve their writing. I have 5 new English speaking children and 25 others.
     
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  3. Danyiel

    Danyiel Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2005

    Hi Imelda :)

    I'm not sure specifically what you are trying to encourage your children to write, but if it is something basic like the letters of the alphabet or practicing writing their names, one idea that I used with a former Preschool (3 & 4 year olds) class I taught seemed to work very well, and really kept their interest.

    I used index cards and printed each letter of the alphabet on different cards and then laminated them. You can also use clear contact paper, it works just as well and is a bit cheaper than laminate. I then went out and bought both dry erase crayons and markers (you can find them in most office supply stores) that the children could use to trace over the letters with and then erase with either a tissue or paper towel. We only used uppercase letters because they would be working on upper and lowercase letters in Pre-K the following year, but you can adapt this according to what you want them to learn.

    I also made name cards for each child to help them practice writing their names and did the same thing. This activity was set up in the Writing Center, usually 3 or 4 children at a time, and we would let the children rotate centers to make sure that everyone would get to use them. The children loved this activity, and they were writing their names and alphabet letters in no time.

    Hope this helped, and good luck :)
     
  4. imelda

    imelda Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2005

    Thanks. I obviously didn't explain myself very well. The children are all writing their letters now and CVC words but actually getting them to use the phonic knowledge they have to write anything such as a short story is proving very hard. I've tried 'What we did at the weekend but they come from poor district and I think most of them sit in front of the TV most of the time. Any more ideas will be gratefully received Thanks!
     
  5. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Mar 30, 2005

    Is it a developmentally appropriate standard where you are to have that age write stories and such? In other words, is that common? In our district, and I would think much of the US, it's not age appropriate to have children that young writing short stories and such. They know how to write their letters, things like that, and are really learning to read before writing that advanced. It think it's easier for kids to be able to read first, then write. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but it just seems like a 4 or 5 year old shouldn't know how to write that advanced yet.
     
  6. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Mar 30, 2005

    Kindergarten Kids Can Write

    We used to believe that the writing process could not be taught to children before they could recognize letters, sounds, & words. But lots of research has been done on this topic in the past 15 to 20 years. Educators like Donald Graves & Lucy Calkins (both experts on teaching writing) say that children can be taught to write before they learn all their letters & their sounds. In fact, this is one of the best ways for them to learn phonics skills -- they can learn the letter sounds as they are learning to write -- in fact, they learn them faster because they NEED to be able to express themselves in writing. Writing is a very motivating activity for young children. By allowing them and encouraging them to write from the very beginning of Kindergarten (some are even ready to do this in preschool), we are letting the need drive the acquisition of the letter sounds. They are learning in the context of their very own writing. What could be more motivating and interesting for kids? Other researchers even found that children who were taught to write before they learned to read became better readers later on. The reason for this is that regular writing experiences tend to increase readiness skills, communication skills, & higher level thinking skills.

    Teaching writing is one of my favorite things about teaching Kindergarten -- the kids absolutely LOVE it & it is SO satisfying to see the tremendous growth from August to June! Two of my favorite resources for teaching writing to young ones are:
    Never Too Early to Write, by Bea Johnson
    KidWriting: A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Journals, & Writing Workshop, by E. Feldgus & I. Cardonick

    (Both are written by Kindergarten teachers & describe how they teach writing to their little 5- & 6-year olds. Very informative books!) Want to know more about KidWriting? Check out their website: www.kidwriting.com
     
  7. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Mar 30, 2005

    Isn't it a little early for preschool children to write short stories though? I'm not talking about writing letters etc. Short stories just seem a little bit extravagant for 4-5 year olds. 4-5 year olds aren't in Kindergarten, that's preschool. K is 5-6. Not like I'd love to see my son do it, it just seems like it's a bit too early to push things they may not be ready to do.
     
  8. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Mar 30, 2005

    Some will be ready at age 4. Most won't be ready to write until they are 5 and beginning Kindergarten. It's just like learning to read. Some are developmentally ready to read at age 4. Most aren't there yet, but will be ready when they're 5 or 6. And I have to clarify -- by "writing," I don't mean writing short stories that are several paragraphs long. I mean, they start out by drawing a picture, then begin to add words to it. At first, they are just writing random strings of letters and the letters don't necessarily match the words they are trying to write. Later, they begin to write one letter (usually an inital consonant) that really matches the word they mean to write. With practice & encouragement, they begin to write initial & final consonants, and finally start to add medial vowels (although they might not always use the correct vowel). Eventually, they start writing more than one sentence. There is an excellent Developmental Scale of Writing Development in the KidWriting Book that clearly shows the stages that kids go through as they are developing from Level One (scribbles) to Level 8 (conventional writing).

    If you find this interesting, you should visit the KidWriting website to see actual samples of Kindergarten kids' writing in Sept. & then again in May. To me, it's fascinating. And I do agree, that MOST preschool kids are not developmentally ready to write words yet, but some truly are. I have had kids start Kindergarten already writing. The important thing is, I think, to capitalize upon the fact that 80% of Kinder kids come to school already believing that they are writers. If we do their writing for them (via dictation), we are sending them the message that we don't believe they are ready to write by themselves and so WE must do it for them. That's not the message I want to give to my K kids, so I rarely do their writing for them. They start writing at whatever developmental stage they are at from the very beginning of the year and that is completely acceptable to me, even if their writing is just zig-zags or loopy writing or scribbles on their page. To me, that's still "writing" and I praise them and encourage them to continue no matter what they are able to do. You'd be surprised at how quickly their confidence blossoms & soon they are writing "real" words. The authors of KidWriting remind us constantly that "there is no rush to independence." We're not trying to force little ones to do something that they are not developmentally ready to do, but we are accepting and praising their "writing" at whatever developmental level they are on. Hope this makes sense -- I truly do believe Lucy Calkins' philosophy that even little ones can write (in their own developmental way).

    You might want to look at the thread in the Early Childhood forum called Writing Wkshp with Kindergarten (Jan. 2005). Amanda posted some great info on teaching writing to K kids there. She highly recommends a book called Teaching the Youngest Writers: A Practical Guide. I have it & am just starting to read it. Hope this is helpful to you! :)
     
  9. imelda

    imelda Rookie

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    Mar 30, 2005

    Thanks CeCe some helpful ideas. Whether or not I feel that children are better waiting until they are five is imaterial, my reception children are school age here not nursery and as such follow the literacy hour learning to read and write at the same time. What I have to do is provide stimulating material which will interest them enough to want to do so. Reading is rearely a problem but writing is hard and the stimulus has to be good which is why new ideas are always useful.
    Imelda
     
  10. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Mar 30, 2005

    Ok, that's makes a bit more sense. I guess I was imagining a 4 year old writing an essay or something. Simple 2-3 word sentences aren't so impossible I guess. Thanks for clarifying.
     
  11. imelda

    imelda Rookie

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    Mar 30, 2005

  12. imelda

    imelda Rookie

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  13. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Mar 30, 2005

    imelda,
    I copied & pasted the web address from the browser bar. It looks like this:
    http://www.kidwriting.com/

    See if that works for you. Let me know if it doesn't & I'll try to help. :)
     
  14. imelda

    imelda Rookie

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    Apr 1, 2005

    No luck CeCe I am just getting a blank screen with a blue line down the left hand side
     
  15. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Apr 1, 2005

    Hmmm...not sure why it's not working for you. When I click on the webaddress, it brings me right to it. :confused: What if you try doing a yahoo search for KidWriting?
     
  16. imelda

    imelda Rookie

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    Apr 2, 2005

    Thanks CeCe GOT IT! at last. Looks good too. Still looking for other ideas if anyone out there has any!!
     
  17. Sally

    Sally Rookie

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    Apr 8, 2005

    We use a journal. The children are given a portfolio with plain white paper. They only use "special" fine tip black felt pens. We do this because the detail of the drawings are wonderful. We allow them to draw what they would like, then ask them to describe it. We then write their words down. In the beginning they usually label all parts of the drawing as the school year goes on they begin to form sentences. We then encourage them to write their own words, and we will also write for them. Shows incredible growth!
     
  18. aussiejen

    aussiejen Rookie

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    Apr 30, 2005

    In Kindergarten we structure our writing around our sound of the week.

    For example if we are doing "c" - our writing might be about a cat, a clown or a caterpillar.

    On the blackboard I would write these three things in different coloured chalk, make sure that the children know which word is in which colour and then write...

    I can see a ___________
    It can ___________

    The children copy the sentence fill in cat, clown or caterpillar (depending on how confident they feel they will choose a short, medium or long word). Then they have to write down things it can do. Some children will write one word, others will finish with a long sentence.

    This way provides scafolding for those who need it and is open ended for those who can do it.

    Hope this helps, it works for me!
     
  19. Sarah Leigh Ann

    Sarah Leigh Ann Companion

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    Apr 30, 2005

    Cece does the book have really good minilessons for 1st grade or is it mainly appropriate to kindergarten?
     
  20. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    Apr 30, 2005

    Good writing resource book for 1st grade

    Sarah Leigh Ann,

    I know there are many first grade teachers who use the KidWriting book, but I think it's really geared more toward Kindergarten, in my opinion. If I were teaching first grade, I'd order Marcia Freeman's "Teaching the Youngest Writers: A Practical Guide" -- it is a really thorough resource and covers target skills & mini-lessons for Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Lots of good info for 1st grade! Another writing resource book I read that I thought was useful was Katie Wood Ray's "About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers." Katie is a well-known teacher/researcher of writing and she writes this book along with a 1st grade teacher named Lisa Cleaveland. The whole book follows Lisa through a year of teaching writing in her 1st grade class. I found it interesting that in this 1st grade class they start the kids out by having them make whole books right from the beginning of the school year, instead of just having them write a sentence on a journal page. There are lots of photos that show samples of 1st graders' writing progress. BOTH of these books are fantastic. If you can only afford one right now, I'd pick Freeman's book, I think, because it really gives you all the "nuts and bolts" of how to teach writing to young kids. Good luck and I hope this helps!
     

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