Monthly Archives: March 2016
We start our How-to writing in January and we use Deanna Jump & DeeDee Wills’ Informational Writing unit (if you haven’t checked them out yet, you need too!). As part of the unit, the children create topical lists, so they can refer back to it when they need to. They also have a Topic List in many of their other units. I love that they can draw 9 separate ideas on their “list” sheet and come back to it as they need a new topic to write about.
We work on sequencing our writing by also using the Informational Writing unit. Deanna & DeeDee include a sheet where the children draw an illustration and write a few words or sentence next to it. We teach the children how to carefully check their steps by acting them out, but if they find that they missed a step or have one in the wrong order, we cut their paper up and tape it back together in the correct sequence (or add in the missing step).
This is week 5 of our Engaging Young Writers book study and I think this is my favorite chapter yet! Here are the questions for this week:
I am very fortunate in that I am allowed to have dramatic play (we call them Discovery Centers) for 15-20 minutes at the end of EACH school day. I have 14 different centers that my students can choose from ranging from the more traditional home-living center to our Dash & Dot and iPad centers. I find that it is SO important for my students to experience this learning time.
In my home-living area, at the beginning of the school year, the props are related to “playing house” (plates, cups, stove, sink, etc.). As we learn about community helpers, we change out the props to reflect that. We are also to bring in more literacy. We’ve already had a pizzeria, where my students were able to take orders and “send” them to the chef for baking. We also take phone orders and have a walk up window, so there are a variety of ways my students can practice taking an order (auditory learning) and then relaying that order (oral language) to the chef.
Currently, we have a bakery. Again, we have a walk up window and my students are having a great time reading the menu and placing their orders. We also have recipes that the children can follow to “bake” their own cupcakes.
Each of these activities had lead to at least 5-7 of my students writing about their experiences in our pizzeria or bakery. They have written about the steps to take and complete and order and they have also renamed both and have written about their own pizzeria and bakery.
I love to use great mentor texts to get my students writing “like authors”. Anything by Lois Elhert is a fan favorite. My students love how she labels EVERYTHING in her books and they notice that is something they are able to do on their own. What a great entry point! We also enjoy reading a fiction and non-fiction pairing so that we can explore the differences between the two. My students are quickly able to discover that they can write a “story” or they can write text that shares information with their readers, giving an entry point for writers in different comfort zones.