Hey y'all! This is definitely a post you'll want to read! Mrs. Crow is an amazing teacher all around, but I especially consider her an expert in creating a classroom of passionate writers. Enjoy the post!
My name is Trish Crow and I had the pleasure to work with Mrs. Pollard last year. I have taught kindergarten and first grade over the past 5 years. Mrs. Pollard asked me to share my beginning of the year writing lesson for K & 1st grade.
I am extremely passionate about writing, it is my FAVORITE subject to teach! To have a class that enjoys writing there are a few things you must do. You must start the first day of school, write everyday, and no matter how frustrated you become, keep writing!
On the first day of school before writing, I share a “mini lesson”. The purpose of this lesson is to remove the pressure. I begin with talking to the kids about the stages of writing. To do this with Kindergarteners or First graders I bring up siblings, you know YOUNGER children :)
I am at the board with my marker and I draw a four square.
I ask the question, “who has a little brother or sister?”-someone always does. I ask how do they write? I usually get a couple responses, “sloppy”, “with crayon”, or my favorite, “they don't write”. I always hope for the last reponse because then I can say, “Oh, but they do”. Everyone can write, but we all write differently. Then, I tell them to watch and I'll show them how people write differently.
I draw a scribble while I say my sentence out loud. I went to the park. Then I ask the important question. Who has seen someone write like this? Hands fly into the air. Then I say if you have a baby at your house I bet they write like this.
I go to the next square and as I say my sentence I draw a picture. I went to the park. I saw a house and a butterfly.(remember I am just saying the sentence) I draw the picture and ask if anyone has ever written like this? Again, hands fly up. I say, I have seen a lot of kids in pre-school write like this.
In the third square I say, “I have seen a lot of kids write like this too”. Then I say the sentence- I went to the park- I take my time, I write very slowly as I am sounding out each word before I write a letter. I use invented spelling and link all of my letters together. This one usually gets a laugh. Then I point and read my sentence. For the laughs I point out that I used my sounds to find the letters, that's what writers do.
In the last square I write the sentence out. I take my time, stretch words, and use finger spaces with a lot of emphasis. I have used invented spelling in that square as well. Remember it's the first day of school!
After all of this is up on the board I tell the kids that I want to see how they write. Remember, you just took the pressure off. I ask them to write to tell me something about themselves or their family. I pass out the papers and they start writing.
As soon as the first pencil hits the paper I start walking around with dramatic “oohs & ahhs”. I make my first stop where I see someone using letters, “wow, you know how to write words!”, I say. Then several other students get the confidence to show me words as well.
We continue this for about 20 minutes, more or less, depending on how much they are willing to share the first day. Once everyone is finished we have a share square. We all come together and I invite the kids to share their work. This is a proud moment for them to showcase their skills to their class.
Thanks for sharing, Trish! This is definitely a must-do lesson for the first day of school! :)