This chapter is titled, “Work on Writing and Work Work.” Deb from Fabulously First hosted this chapter so make sure to stop by and read about her ideas in getting kids to write and enjoy becoming writers. I liked a few of her ideas like having a Sharing Chair and an Open Mic to have students read aloud their writings. If you are looking for more ideas then make sure to going the blog hop and read all the other bloggers posts. I’m sure there’s something for everyone!

Now on to my thoughts and ideas regarding writing.  As a 4th grade teacher this past year, I had to hone my craft and get my students ready for the Florida FCAT Writes Test required of all 4th graders in my state. I started the year introducing the students to basic writing skills by using Four Square Writing and daily journaling. I found it very helpful to them since many had difficulty writing a complete sentence at the beginning of the year. As the weeks passed and they developed as writers, I was able to release them from the confines of using the Four Square templates and was pleased with their pieces as they published them. Week after week,  I could see how they were developing from transitional writers to conventional and finally to become traditional writers. Truly- it was an up hill battle for many because most were ELL learners and SPED students, yet they all performed as well as many of their peers in other classes of the same grade level. I was very proud of their scores and feel that we learned so much together, but I know that there’s so much more that I could add to teaching the writing process and the focus lessons give me another layer to add.

Since this component of the D5 does not dictate any padagogical approach in particular, I feel that I can easily add it to enhance the writing experience for my students. I really like how the children get an opportunity to practice spelling, learn how to use high-frequency words, and develop a richer vocabulary. They key here is to establish clear guidelines for the routines and procedures that will promote independent learners. 

The Sisters again as in the previous chapters include three anchor charts (I-Charts) to launch Word Work  which will really help me teach the students what they are responsible to do while I work with students. As I’ve said before, “I can’t forget a thing if I follow these” and in turn neither will my students. These charts will not only create order, but if taught with fidelity, it will ensure that the students become autonomous and responsible for setting up and cleaning up centers.

In years past, I’ve collected Wikki Stix, Stamps, White Boards, magnetic letters and other specialty paper to promote writing, but I’ve had little success in getting students to use them without getting into trouble in the process. Even after this “gong-ho” book study, I’m a little skeptical if I can provide these to my students. Sure it’s fun and writing should be a fun activity, but I’m not sure if all students are ready for the freedom in practicing with such materials.  I think that I still prefer using the on-line interactive, Composition Notebook Free Writes, Video Writing Prompts among other activities. These are just a few of the many writing activities that I offer my students that are independent but can be used in small or whole group instruction that still engage them without causing them to “goof off.” Maybe I’m being narrow minded here, but I know that many of my students lack the self-control required to use the supplies and still stay on task. This is one I will have to ponder upon and see how I can gradually introduce to my students so that they can enjoy and benefit from the experience.

Until next week…

Mrs. P