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
Throughout the year, it just is re-assuring to look
back at the first day of writers’ workshop and observe their early
A peek again in early March and my trust is
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
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
Tea reads her poem of “Mother Nature” to the class.
posted in the hall
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