Saturday, October 27, 2012

Writer’s Workshop Begins!

Writer’s Workshop…now known as Work on Writing in my class, started a month or so ago.  I feel so behind on my blogging! Time to catch up!  I have been sick the last two days but still worked. Yesterday, I felt terrible but we had pumpkin carving and there was NO WAY I was going to let a sub oversee the carving of 23 pumpkins. OMG! As long as I was breathing, I was there. Luckily, I have some sweet mom volunteers who came early to help me out. I am truly blessed this year with parents that will help with just about anything. I’m sure I had such willing parents in the past, but never took the time to set up volunteers. What was I thinking? I think sometimes it’s hard to ask for help or I think “I can do it all”. Stupid girl. LOL!!! Anywho, I survived pumpkin carving and it was so fun! It’s actually our biggest parent turn out of the year.
So far this year is going great. I have more on my plate because keeping up with my own three children’s redonkulous schedule is a killer and I have a needy bunch of students, very diverse, all with different needs. It’s ok. I kinda have developed a new motto this year. I do as much as I can the best I can and don’t feel guilty about the rest. I obviously care about everything but I have decided not to loose sleep over what I can’t control.
So, on the writing. To introduce writing, I start with why writer’s write. I think this is important because it helps students understand the why, and that’s not because the teacher told me to. We created this I CAN chart. We discussed what we could write about and put it on the chart. Then, I asked them to draw a picture story of something they can write about. I adapted this chart from Abby's at the Inspired Apple. Love her!
i can write
Then, I introduce step one: Brainstorm and step two: Draw and color. I require my kids to use five colors in their illustrations. No one has ever questioned me on this and I was honestly tired of kids coloring everything with one color so I totally pulled this one of my rear end…and guess what? It worked!
I am by far no writing guru and my methods aren't research based but here are my thoughts. Children are more likely to be able to draw a picture before they can write. To me, this builds confidence. Even though they aren't writing yet, they already feel like an author because they can share their story through an illustration.  We want children to understand that their picture must match their words for the story to make sense. So, I start with the illustration. I think it is easier to match the words to the illustration than the illustration to the words. Does that make sense? My kids move way faster through the writing process by doing this. So, here is our second chart that my students use for reference. I wish I had taken pictures of their beginning work. I will take some this week. They really did great.
Next week, we are moving on the labeling and then sentences. It’s exciting!! I will post our progress as we go along.
Oh, before I go, I am having a sale through Monday. Everything is 20% off.
TPT halloween sale
Here are a few things  you may be interested in.  Have a great weekend friends!! Love and virtual hugs!
thanksgiving unit preview 
halloween unit preview


  1. My class sounds like your class -- I have also started using volunteers this year with my 27 kids. Why didn't I do this earlier?? Anyway, I will be following and sharing your Writer's Workshop -- so stay healthy!! I need your wonderful ideas!!

  2. Hi there...thank you for sharing...i don't have a blog but thought i would share something with you in return through this comment. I have my kindies use five colours and add five details for a WOW picture...then i teach them to put their two thumbs and pointer fingers together to make the O in wow...this will leave three fingers on either side to make the two "W"s and they spell WOW with their hands when fellow authors share their writing and illustrations after our writing time. They love to spell WOW with their hands and they love it when their classmates hold up the WOW sign for them after they share their work. It encourages them to put the effort into their work. Hope this makes sense.

  3. Writing is one of things I always want to write anything where I can express myself. I feel so happy seeing students write about themselves and their views about life. I know that what they're writing comes from the heart...

  4. Crystal - super cute writing ideas! And we hope you're feeling better soon! :)

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  6. Crystal - I love your colorful charts. And I agree about letting kids draw pictures. It gives some kids the added time to think about what they want to write before having to actually put words on paper. And it =keeps writing fun. Renee

  7. I love your approach of getting children to draw pictures with meaning. It seems like such a logical step that many early educators skip. I'm going to share this tip with early educators I know.