Sunday, January 11, 2015

Make ANY Student An Independent Writer!

Hi, friends! It's Gina here from Miss Peluso's Kindergarten. I hope you're all having an amazing start to 2015! I'm here today to share with you one of the big projects that I worked on over winter break.

Since last year, I have been searching for some way to help my students become independent writers. Yes, they are in kindergarten, but I KNOW that they can do it… all of them!
This year, I decided to take the plunge and design a writing office to take away the uncertainty that comes along with writing. If you stepped into my room during the beginning of the year, you would hear a lot of this: "Miss Peluso, how do you spell _____?" "I don't know how to write!" and "Can you help me sound out ___?" So, my mission was to create a resource that could help my students write, but not do it for them! I wanted to give them the tools that they need at their fingertips so that they can build some writing confidence. 
Here is an example of the kindergarten writing office that I created for my classroom:
I chose to highlight skills that are focused on in the CCSS for kindergarten. These writing offices help my students correctly form upper- and lowercase letters, use digraphs, write color words, find the sounds that they need when sounding out words, write sight words, AND evaluate their own work to see if they are following the conventions of writing. 
It was SUPER simple to make. I took two manila folders and taped them together with packing tape. Then, I glued on the pieces that I wanted to use, and laminated it for durability!

I introduced our writing journals to my class the day that we got back from winter break. I figured that we were ready for this challenge in the new year! After I got my kiddos all excited about their writing journals (they were ecstatic that they could write about anything they want!), we wrote a few journal entries together as a shared writing focus. They helped me to write and evaluate these sample journal entries. Then, it was time to give them their own journals! 
The first day, my kinders decorated the covers of their journals. I let them choose the color that they wanted, and personalize it. This got them really excited to start to write!
The next day, we did our first free write! I was SO nervous to give them free reign, but I held my breath and stepped back while they worked. I told them that I would not answer any questions because they have everything they would need in their writing office. They LOVED having this small defined space as their office. Not only did it provide support, but it gave them a quiet space to work in that was their own. 
I was amazed at the quality of writing that I saw from ALL of my students! Some chose to start by drawing their pictures, and some dove right into their words, but they ALL did the very best writing that they could! I could practically hear the gears turning in their brains! Here are some examples of our kindergarten writing:
 "I got a haircut before {school}."
 "I like {sprinting}."
"I played in the snow with my dad."
I have to say that the BEST part of journal writing was when I rang the bell and one of my "struggling" writers said, "Oh man! I want to keep writing!" What a happy teacher I was!

Do you think that these writing offices could help your students? I designed this product to meet the CCSS of grades K-2. You can completely customize the writing office to meet the needs of YOUR students! Plus, it comes with an editable word wall so that you can type in the words that your school district uses! Click on the image below to check it out in my TPT store. It's on sale for the first 24 hours!
I hope that you find this idea helpful, even if this product is not on your wish list right now. Maybe it helped you to think of a way that you can give your students the tools to become independent writers! 

Before I sign out here, I want to remind you to click on over to my blog and link up with me for the second week of The Power of Positivity! I caught myself several times this week being negative and thinking… "How can I turn this into a positive?" You won't regret the time to reflect on the POSITIVE parts of your week and you'll be entered to win $5 to my store at the end of the month!
Have a wonderful week! 

3 comments:

  1. What a great idea and they look so adorable in their little offices :)
    Sheri

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  2. Great post Gina! I'm sure you are going to see major growth in your kinders' writing! Thanks for sharing!!
    Amber
    Mrs. Masters’ Kinder Love

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  3. Love this idea. I haven't seen something so practical in a long while. Will definetly be using this for my struggling 2nd graders up here in Canada!

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