Ms. Graham

The challenges of teaching writing in grade one ….

At the beginning of every grade one school year, I am terrified that this will be the year that none of my children learn to love writing. For “teacher reasons” beyond reason, I forget to trust two very important things

1. I have taught writing for many years and

2. all children have a driving desire to learn.

So on the first day of school, many children begin to write with the same amount of trust as I secretly carry( little)! By the beginning of March, we miraculously have writers in the room, and I can once again laugh at my earlier fears!

How does this transformation happen? Well, with a great deal of background preparation in place for the children. All teachers know that the room needs to be full of print –word walls, charts, poems, chants, morning messages, wee notes to children, names, and glorious books full of wondrous words. What we do with those every day makes so much difference.

The sheer delight we find in playing with word sounds, rhyming, alliteration, and punning allows them to take  the same pleasure in our complicated language. The morning message is a grand way to achieve some of that fun, while teaching the strategies necessary to read. 

Throughout the year, it just is re-assuring to look back at the first day of writers’ workshop and observe their early writing strategies.

A peek again in early March and my trust is re-gained …

Every child has stories that they need to share. In our writers’ workshop (of 45 minutes each day), they write whatever they choose. Video games, television and movies often are their first topics. However, the influence of grand books and literary words gradually takes over as they begin writing about their own lives, observations, and dreams.

I usually begin publishing these stories in October, when they are able to produce more then 2 sentences in their writers’ workshop. My only reason is for aesthetics… a one page story of two sentences doesn’t look as much like a real book as do two pages. Sometimes, we pump up the volume by adding inside title pages and dedication pages at the beginning.

The power of creating ones own book quickly become s the driving force for writing.

As write for the class, students begin writing for each other.

Tea reads her poem of “Mother Nature” to the class.

It is posted in the hall

for all

to read and enjoy!

She created this during writers’ workshop. Her influence was the printing that we do every night for homework. We write wee notes of love back and forth to each other. Notes such as, “I love you as scaly as a dragon” or “I love you as blue as the winter sky”. By March, these similes are very professional!

Remarkably writing becomes as normal as talking in our daily inquiries and discoveries.

writing during ‘exploration time”                            writing observation of the eggs


They are writing during their researching (“my facts maniacs” ) of animal facts.

The desire to know keeps this fact finding a vital part of our day.


Currently the children are creating their own fairy tale, using all the criteria they have recognized over the months of reading. How powerful this becomes for each child to have their own words be part of a stunning story. How powerful for their teacher, to remember that writers they have become, writers they always were!

No doubt, the journey to tell our own stories, to convey knowledge will continue….for students and teachers! More stories will follow…