Today was the day! The tenth day of school and my class officially started "Writers Workshop". The first 9 days of school we spent exploring all our "school tools" during our planned writing time, but today was launch day using Lucy Calkins Units of Study based on CCSS.
Wow! Great things are already happening with my students. I am not sure if it is due to me having an actual writing curriculum this year or the fact that my students seem very interested in the "academics" of school. (They all still ask when play time is, but this group is easily focused on doing school work.)
Did the lesson go perfectly as written by Lucy Calkins? NO. Lucy left out the part where you needed to stop and remind the students about Criss-Cross etc. But once we were settled, our mini lesson began.
I had planned and organized well for this lesson. This paid off big time! Having chart paper mounted to the Eno Board and my own box of new markers was a plus. (Confession--I am not a fan of chart paper, but the Post It brand that our principal ordered for us was very easy to use.) I decided to go with Lucy's example of a teaching story too--my grandma's garden. Maybe next year I will come up with another idea, but right now easy is best for me.
After the mini lesson I sent each student on their way to write and draw about what they could teach someone about. About 7 minutes in, I had one boy exclaim, "I'm DONE!" I circled around and asked him to tell me about his paper. He said he had drawn himself riding his scooter. I looked and found a one color drawing of a boy on a scooter--with lots of white space left on the page. I asked where are you? He pointed to the drawing of the boy and said, "Right there." LOL. Silly, Mrs. Wolf. I rephrased my question to prompt him to draw more details of "where" he was. When I circled back he had added a blue sky and grass. Success! He added more details.
Another student asked me to spell monster truck for him. I replied, "I won't tell you how to spell the words, but I will help you learn how to "ear spell" the words." I modeled how to stretch a word. After helping with the first sound, he continued stretching the words. He was able to write "mrtc" for monster truck. He had a beginning and ending sound for two words. This is the first day of Writer's Workshop--What will next week bring?
Looking at the clock, I knew we had to come back together for a share time. Ugh! I always hated share time because there is never enough time to let each child share their work with the class. I hated hearing the "But Mrs. Wolf, I want to share mine too." Guess what? This did not happen today. I tried what Lucy recommended. Have the students share their work with someone next to them. I gave them two minutes to share with their close neighbors on the carpet. It worked! No complaints.
I ended the lesson with coming up with a "club" name. The students needed some help on this one. So I suggested "Super Writers" and they all agreed. (Super Writers is what Lucy called her club in the curriculum. Easy Peasy!)
I forgot to take pics of some of their work. I will post pics later. If I was not so tired, I would run over to school and take a pic of some right now...but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Thanks for visiting my blog. Leave me comment about your writers workshop.