Importance of Guided Writing Within Your Classroom
During the later part of the Kindergarten school year (February-June) I started pulling small groups of students to work with me on writing short sentences that follow a pattern. This writing is so important as it allows them practice what they have learned about letters and sounds and use of basic sight words. I offer assistance in helping break down the words so they can hear the sounds. I am now teaching grade one and I really noticed a difference with students that came into my classroom with this foundation. I have outlined some writing samples from the Fairy Tale theme I used during the months of April-May.
It is such an exciting time of year when the majority of the students can apply what they have learned about letters and sounds through their story writing. For their first story writing experience, I have them follow a patterned story so all the students can experience success. They choose their own setting, ending and different characters that would follow the patterned series of events as outlined in the emergent reader “Gingerbread Man Perseveres” from the Fairy Tale theme.
Setting the Stage for Success
My students always have an alphabet chart handy that they can refer to. It is not uncommon for them to forget proper letter formation and what the letter looks like that is related to a specific sound. My students use the chart and alphabet wall pictures regularly. The pictures on the chart are related to the alphabet sight word readers and songs that were used to teach the the alphabet. The students have taught me the importance of using strong visuals; it results in greater retention and more meaningful learning.
If you are a member of the site, login to your account and go to “Alphabet Program – Alphabet Pictures” to access this chart.
Writing story starter found within the theme unit.
Illustrating – Simple How to Draw Resources
Illustrating the story can be challenging for some students. The best “How to Draw” sites I have found are in the links below.
Choosing a Setting
The students first task was to choose a setting. I tried to encourage them to choose a setting that was related to their level of interest. An example of a setting can be found in the photograph on the left (this girl chose a castle because the was really into princesses). I provided a patterned story starter that allowed for differentiation.
Series of Events
The page on the right was taken from the setting displayed. All her characters will be related to a castle setting (a fairy helper with a pretty princess). The students were to complete a series of events using the story starter below:
Run, run, as fast as you can
You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.
I had to run away from…..
In the photograph on the left, this author chose “Cat Land” to be her setting. All her characters will be different types of cats. In this picture it is a “baby rainbow cat”.
The story on the right is (a powerful unicorn). The setting chosen for this story is “Unicorn Land”.
Series of Events Four
Ending the Stories
Each story will provide a similar ending to the emergent reader “Gingerbread Man Perseveres”. The author will provide an ending that shows what happens to Gingerbread Man when he perseveres and escapes from all the characters that chased him in the story.
At the end of May we had a parent day. I had my students pick their favourite page from their story. I scanned the page and displayed it on the Smart Board for them to read to their parents. I also incorporated drama into this theme where the students reenacted the emergent readers related to this theme. What a great way to show off all they have learned!
I have taught many different grades; kindergarten and grade one are one of the most exciting in terms of witnessing growth. In Kindergarten I was working with the students in hearing beginning sounds and by the end many of them could hear the beginning, middle and end of a word and print the letter that represents these sounds. Their printing was initially scribbling and at the end their thoughts were expressed by using letters. Initially, they did not know the difference between a word and letter but now they can track and read words. This is why I love teaching!!!