Tag Archive: writing process


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We are cruising along in Kindergarten.  At the beginning of March we transitioned into READING BOOKS!  This is such a big deal.  Learning to read is such a monumental life experience when you think about just everything you need to do at once to be able to read.  For the last several months we’ve been “practicing” getting ready to read by labeling, word by word matching, learning letters and sounds, putting sounds together, learning word parts, building simple words, and finishing sentence starters.  We’re reading basic patterned books and still working on those word by word matching skills, but we’re getting there.

IMG_0413One thing we’ve had to work on is keeping our eyes on the text unless we need to check the picture for help with a word.  Many friends memorize the pattern and only look at the picture, but when a page changes the pattern of the text then students have difficulties.  We’ve had to really work on even if we think we know the pattern making sure we are correct by looking carefully at words.

IMG_0417We’ve even transitioned from finishing a sentence Ms. Acuff has written to students actively participating in the Interactive Writing and writing the stories themselves.  They practice words on their white boards while another student adds the word to our chart.  I help with more difficult words I know they don’t know.

We still do the cut up sentence portion of the lesson, but instead of students copying the cut up sentence, they then write their OWN sentence about the story we wrote together.  Most of the kids are doing a great job of using parts they know (ee, ou, ow, oa) and applying them into their writing.  Some IMG_0416students still need a little more support and structure with the writing as this is very new for us.

I’m starting to notice students writing in capital letters as they are more comfortable with those than lower case letters and we’ve had to work on when we use capital letters and also working on letter reversals.  These are common and we just keep practicing the correct way to write them.  We’re also working on different punctuation–periods, exclamation points, IMG_0415and question marks–when do we use them and how do we make them?

We are seeing lots of great things in Kindergarten and are overjoyed with how well students are applying their phonics knowledge every day.

1st Grade Comparison

img_03291st graders spent the last 2 weeks learning about penguins and snakes.  Both books are from the “All About…” series.  We’ve been working on noticing similarities and differences in books.  1st graders are working on characters and setting so even in a non-fiction book we are still able to talk about where these animals live and how that’s a “place” just like we look for settings in fiction books.

As the first graders make progress through the year we are looking for them to stretch words out and hear multiple sounds in words along with using words or parts they know to build new and unknown words.

Bad Zeus!

img_0261Ms. Acuff loves to write stories about her dogs Zeus and Hercules.  She read us Bad Zeus about when Zeus steals food from around the house–like pizza, pop-tarts, bagels, cookies, and more.  We like when she reads aloud to us.  She shows us where to start, which way to go, where to go at the end of a line, and models fluent reading.  These are all things we’ll be doing very soon when we start reading books at group with her.

img_0259When she was finished reading to us, we had to write a sentence about the story.  We decided we wanted to write The dog is bad.  The sentence seems simple, but it gave us lots of opportunities to use sounds we know to build words like dog and bad.  We each got a spacer to put in between our words.  We looked at our old writing to see how much easier it was to read our sentence today with those nice big spaces.

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When we were finished writing Ms. Acuff did a conference with us to talk about things we did really well and things we could work on next time–like starting our sentence with a capital letter.

img_0251Kindergartners continue to work on labeling pictures but now we add in letters/sounds we know in the word.  We are starting to know more and more letters and sounds so we don’t let Ms. Acuff do very much work anymore.  In fact, she often says, “I don’t even have a job anymore because you are doing so much on your own.”

img_0253We continue to cut up our sentences and put them back together.  She has us write our sentence underneath our cut up.  It’s still a little tricky getting spaces between our words.  Sometimes we use spaces and sometimes Ms. Acuff draws a line for each word we need so we know where to put words.  We’re making a lot of progress.  Most of us know almost ALL of our upper and lower case letters and lower case sounds.  Kindergarten is fun.

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1st Grade Writing

img_02401st grade has been transitioning into only doing Interactive Writing to doing some independent writing applying CAP (Concepts About Print).

We’ve been working on transferring skills from the classroom to the work we do in groups by writing about the books we are reading.  In the picture above, we read a book called Yes We Can about things we can do at school.  We wrote a group story about different things we can do at school and then writing an independent story about things we can do at school.

We’ve had to work hard on stretching words out to hear multiple sounds in the word, using word parts we know to build words, and using words similar to build new words.  This has been a struggle, but that’s why Ms. Acuff has us doing a lot of magnetic letter work to help us build up our word knowledge and known word bank.

IMG_0101IMG_0109I have noticed my 2nd graders have needed more support than just Guided Reading Plus.  I decided to layer interventions with this group, which was something new for me.

We started out by doing a study on snakes.  I read 2 mentor texts on snakes and then I had the students read a book about snakes a couple levels lower than their instructional level because I wanted the focus to be on writing and writing more complex sentences.  This happened to tie in perfectly because this is exactly what they have been doing in the classroom as well. (I get to go in during their writing block and help in the classroom with writing.)

After we read our snake books, I wrote a snake story in red. (To the left)  I did take input from the students as I wrote on interesting facts I could write about.  The following day I took my purple marker and I had them help me come up with ways we could add more details to make our sentences better, change word choice, and make our story more interesting.  They were very engaged and involved and loved telling me how I should make my story better.  They were actually quite good at this and I give big kudos to the 2nd grade classroom teachers for their awesome teaching on this.

IMG_0108The next day I had them write their own snake sentences. (Photo at the top of the page.)  I highlighted lines so they would write every other line and that way they could easily go back into their writing and add details, change the word choice, make edits.

Once they had had a writing conference with me, they were able to put their sentences on chart paper.  We then had to conference again about how once we make edits on our sentences and fix mistakes, we have to make those changes on our final copy, too.  We can’t put those same mistakes back on our final copy.  Thank goodness for post-it white out tape! 🙂

The next book we ended up reading was Hang On, Monkey and we did some work on monkeys.  I wanted them to then apply the skills they learned with snakes by writing monkey facts.  I did type up their stories and print them out for them so they could then go back through their writing and highlight capitals in IMG_6742the wrong place, forgotten punctuation, and spelling mistakes.

After they had gone through their writing on their own, I then was able to have individual writing conferences again.

This whole process took us about two weeks, but I feel like we got a lot of great work done.  I’m super proud of the 2nd graders for their hard work.

2nd grade Letter Writing

IMG_6061Mr. Brace had his 2nd graders read The Fun Club Goes to the Post Office, where a group of children learn about the process of mailing a letter and how the Post Office sorts and delivers the letter to where it needs to go.

I was lucky enough to be able to teach his group on Monday when he was out of town and we got to write a group letter to Mr. Brace (photo on left).  We worked through the parts of a letter and wrote it together.  We then worked on addressing an envelope, which proved to be a little bit difficult as the students weren’t used to having to write so small.

When Mr. Brace came back he had the 2nd graders write their own letters to him.  They then addressed and envelope and learned where they could mail letters at Lowell.  Mr. Brace is going to have them mailed to him at home and then will bring them back to school so they can see how long it takes for a letter to make it through the mail and how a letter looks after it’s been sorted and processed.

We are always looking for ways we can present real world experiences and this was a way that we could do that.  Students will need to learn how to write letters as letter writing, whether on paper or via email, is still something we do on a regular basis.

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