Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Engaging Young Writers-Chapters 1 and 2

Welcome to the "Engaging Young Writers" book study. Follow along with me, Kristen's Kindergarten, Maggie's Kinder Corner and Mrs. Price's Kindergators as we read and reflect. Please feel free to add your own comments-we love collaboration!

Question 1: How does bookmaking encourage children to be writers?
At our school, using the Lucy Calkins' writing UOS, has helped our students to see themselves as authors. This is the underlying idea in each session- students as authors. When you talk to children as authors they begin to see their favorite writers as peers and try to recreate their favorite conventions. Here you see a student who wanted to imitate his favorite non-fiction books.  So he wrote a fact about dolphins on each page and added an illustration to match. 
During our read alouds we have developed a routine of examining the texts to identify features that interest us-like the speech bubbles of Mo Willems books or the side page previewing in Jan Brett's "The Mitten". The more our students integrate their favorite ideas the more they take ownership of their writing. 
Question 2: How do you honor approximations?
Developing self-efficacy as a writer is difficult for some young students because they feel as if correct spelling is the goal of writing. If they don't get it right, that can destroy their confidence. Dispelling this myth while coaching them through the writing process can be a feat. In my class, I use this chart to help students understand that their kid spelling is good enough.  
This idea was a take away from Katie Wood Ray's book "About the Authors". It helps students not to microfocus on conventions and spelling, but it frees them up to try different techniques from their favorite authors. 

Question 1: What kind of writing do you tend to lead your students towards?
I'm not sure why, but I think I automatically lead my kids towards personal narratives. They like to write about trips, their favorite toy, etc.  One thing that I love about the UOS, is that students are doing teaching books in the beginning, so they are writing about a self-selected topic.It could be their family, an animal or a TV show- it's their choice!

Question 2: How does the idea of various entry points fit into your classroom writing routine?
The idea of entry points is an effective way to differentiate for young students. Glover states that, "The more meaningful writing is to the child, the more energy he will have for writing". This is so true! I have looked across the room and witnessed a student who appears to be in agony at the thought of writing another word.  Great teachers know that "low energy" must be counteracted with an entry point that has meaning for that child.