I've had a few questions about my writing process so I thought I'd share my response here on my blog. If you follow my Facebook Fan Page, you were kept up to speed in real time this past week.
We have writers workshop daily for 30 minutes. I have an addition 30 minutes for literacy twice a week. I have to decide if working with additional small groups or extra writing time is needed.
Photo Credit: Addicted to Success
To ensure students write towards a specific goal, I have the kids work on papers a little over a week. By revisiting the story each day, students become familiar with the writing process and take ownership of their writing.
We have come full circle by working on narratives again. This process has allowed the kids to see their previous work and compare their growth. I started with Loreen Leedy's Look At My Book. The story breaks down the writing process. I only read a few pages at a time before students work independently. We started planning characters and settings Thursday, May 15th.
On Friday, I continued with Leedy's pages on plans and how we organize our thoughts. The kids completed a simple beginning, middle and end as a work time activity.
Monday May 19th, I reviewed a strong lead and read Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an adjective by Brian P Cleary. As a result, students have created their leads, describing characters and the setting. Once the lead was created, students began peer conferencing.
Since the orientation of the paper is off, I have dictated his words.
One spooky October night in the deepest parts of the ocean I flailed my arms fast to see the craziest, happiest, playful, and sometimes stupid Sponge Bob! I landed by a unique, orange house. I knocked on the door and he let me in.
One foggy night I went outside to go to my time machine. I went inside it and I saw a button that said Candy Land so I pressed it. It started to move. When it stopped, I opened the door and I saw this colorful land. It was the sweetest, sourest, sugariest, chocolatest, and yummiest place I ever saw in my whole life. I saw a Candy Kingdom and a Candy King. He was a leader. The smartest, the bravest, the nicest King. He was a ruler.
By Tuesday, I tucked away Look at My Book by Loreen Leedy's book and reread another fabulous story from earlier this year entitled, Show Me A Story by Nancy Loewen. This book walks students, step by step, through the narrative process with a goose name Webster who doesn't want to fly in the V formation.
Since we had our characters and setting established, I read through the beginning for enjoyment. This book has a main story and then commentary that breaks down the writing development. My kids and I had a great discussion and most came to the conclusion that some stories might present a problem while others help the reader identify with a lovable character.
At this point, the book introduces dialogue which was my stopping point. I pulled out old Traditional Homes magazines so students could find an image in which the kids could practice their own dialogue. They LOVE this activity! Once they understood dialogue, my students added their own commentary at the beginning of our stories.
Below shows one student's development from the previous day. The second paper is a new from a student who needs support. As you can see, I have the student tell me their story verbally while I record their words in short hand on their plan.
One early morning in the summer, I got teleported to the year 1864 to a baseball field where the grass was as green as a lime. I met the smartest, funniest, strongest, and most athletic baseball player in the universe. His name was Ben. I felt like talking but he was in the middle of a game. He was playing pitcher! He threw the ball. The batter hit the ball. It was a foul ball and hit me in the eye. OUCH!!! "Are you ok?" said Ben. "Yah! I'm fine." I said. "He's alright, lets play some more ball." It was Ben's turn and he hit a home run. I asked him how to hit. He told me "keep your eye on the ball, lean forward, and bend your knees." When it was my turn to hit, I did what he said. I swang at the first pitch and hit the ball as hard as I could but he caught the ball and I was out.
In my basement I saw a deep portal that I transported through. I met a strong, loud and smart guy named King James. He was signing autographs in the busy and cheerful gym. I got James autograph to get his attention. "Hi, My name is Deshawn. Can I play basketball with you?" "YES!" said Lebron. Then I got a be number 40. I got to touch Birdman's Mohawk before being introduced to the team.
After my kiddos officially made it to the 7th day in our writing sequence, they were tickled to start publishing their work! I'm thrilled about the kids final product. We finished reading Loreen Leedy's Look at my Book with the pages on templates, art, and examples.
This darling published her work in the shape of a shark
One night I was dreaming that I was in the big, wet sea that is blue as the sky. I came face to face with a dangerous, strong, and mean foe that was a shark.
I was calling for help because the dangerous, strong and mean shark was coming after me. I had a bag of stuff that I can use under water to catch the shark. I was panicking and arms were flying around. There was a school of sharks and they are hungry.
The sharks were coming after me and I yelled for help. The shark didn't get scared so I got out a black dart but I missed. Then I got my net. I swung the net over the shark and I caught the shark. I brought the shark to my house and I cooked it for dinner.
After a week of hard work, I have published authors! This bundle of sweetness wanted his picture shared (w/approval) so that everyone could see his work. I shared the start of his paper earlier this week.
You'll see students who transported into Mario's World to race, Disney Infinity to slay bad guys with Jack Skeleton, turning into Elsa from Frozen, or capturing sharks in their dreams!
I'm sure your workshop is no different but if you have tips and tricks, leave a response in the comments! I'd love to read about it.
With summer upon us, I have a fun read that my kids beg to hear. I started reading the best little book to my students called Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer by Ali Maier, a 4th Grade Teacher. Max and Maggie are precious twins. Mom is an English teacher and makes the kids alternate days writing in the journal. The kids heckle each other by doodling and adding commentary to the previous entry. Max words are bolded and is proclaimed by Maggie as the better student. Maggie dots every "I" with a heart and loves to doodle. This is an enchanting way to encourage summer writing and getting along. The final chapter of the book has various pages for the kids to start their own summer writing journal!
Click image above to view a video about the book.